Cambridge Handball Club’s men’s side visit Bristol at Winterbourne Academy sees close-run contest
A close-run contest for the Cambridge Handball Club men’s side in its trip to the south west against Bristol on Saturday (December 2), agonisingly slipping to a four goal defeat.
The team will be ruing not capitalising in attack when a man up, as well as a lot of ball mishandling which presented the home side with several counter attacking chances.
The defeat leaves the side level on points with Saturday’s opposition, but occupy the position below them in the table on goal difference.
Bristol 29 – 25 Cambridge Men’s – Regional Handball League South 1:
The men’s side made the three hour trip to Winterbourne Academy in South Gloucestershire to face fellow mid-tablers Bristol this weekend geed by the return of Alejandro Garcia Costa from suspension.
Jeremi Chabros and Michael Te Vrugt made their debuts in goal in the absence of George Goddard, whilst Toby Barber returned to the team after missing out against Islington II.
The opening exchanges were even, with Garcia at centre dictating the play, Vykintas Stuckis and Barber as either back and Ayman Said and Jan Guzik at left and right wing respectively. Will Luckhurst slotted in at line whist Chabros occupied the net for Cambridge.
Stuckis opened the scoring for Cambridge and Garcia and Barber followed up soon after, and the two openers added another goal each, until at the 5-5 mark Bristol began to pull ahead on the counter attack.
Bristol operated with a 5-1 defence to try and take Garcia out of the game, forcing coach Agi Foeglein to switch up and bring Said to centre, pushing Garcia out to the right and bringing George Brownsell on at left wing to accommodate the move and provide more space for the attack.
And Brownsell made an instant impact from wing to bring Cambridge back into the game, followed up with a goal from Said as well as Stuckis and Garcia returning to the scoring.
Barber closed out the goals for Cambridge in the first half, with the scoreline reading 12-10 in favour of the hosts.
At the break Foeglein was pleased with the defensive performance, however she remarked that greater efficiency in attack would be required to get past the 5-1 defence and bring the side back into the game.
And the second period started well for the side, with Barber and Garcia adding to their totals as well as Guzik chipping in from the wing, however the team took a blow in the first 10 minutes after the interval as Luckhurst, who had notched nine goals in the previous two games, was struck down with an ankle injury.
Nevertheless Cambridge pushed on with Theo Miani coming into line, however the side failed to capitalise when they were left a man up four times in the second half after Bristol received two-minute suspensions, at one point conceding three times despite having an extra player in defence.
Charles Dassi was pivotal for the home side at centre, dropping a speedy second half hattrick amidst a 10 goal haul for the game, proving a real difference maker.
Stuckis found himself on the receiving end of some questionable officiating midway through the second period when, after breaking through the defence towards, he was pushed from the side and found himself on the deck.
But no penalty or free throw was forthcoming, and his protestations with the officials earned him Cambridge’s only two-minute suspension of the second half.
The team picked themselves up for the final 10 minutes, with Garcia proving instrumental in adding three goals in the closing exchanges, alongside two for Said as well as one apiece for Stuckis and Barber, but missed opportunities amidst superior numbers meant the game had slipped away, with the final scoreline reading 29-25.
The defeat leaves the side fifth in the table going into the winter break, however spirited performances in all the first term games means the side can go into the second term with confidence that all the games are up for grabs in the ever-changing Regional Handball League South 1.
The women’s side face West London Eagles at Gunnersbury Sports Park on December 9, in a game that will be streamed live on England Handball’s YouTube channel, whilst the next fixture for the men’s comes on January 20, against league leaders Oxford at Moulton College.
Player of the match: Alejandro Garcia Costa
Cambridge Handball Club are always interested in new members joining its men’s, women’s and juniors sides; message the CHC Instagram page if you want to get involved.