Cambridge Handball Club experience a mixed weekend at Moulton College
It was a mixed weekend for Cambridge Handball Club at Moulton College, as the men’s side picked up its first win in at least 16 games, whilst the women’s team showed spirit amidst depleted numbers in a tough Premier Handball League clash.
Both teams faced off against sides from London GD – the men’s against the second team and the women’s facing off against the firsts.
The men’s side climbed to fourth in the table with the latest result after previously fighting to an agonising draw with Northampton in the last seconds, whilst the women’s side remain at the foot of the table alongside Chelsea.
Cambridge Men’s 21 – 12 London Gd II – Regional Handball League South 1:
The men’s team showed promising signs of things to come with its performance against London GD II, with a host of players also making their first appearances for the club.
And whilst the absence of Jandro Garcia Costa due to suspension could have hampered the teams efforts, the debutants more than made up for it.
Will Luckhurst at line made an instant impact, notching three of the teams first seven goals in the first half, opening up a great connection with Toby Barber at right back to expose the sometimes loose defending from GD.
David Moleski made his first appearance in goal in the absence of double player-of-the-match winning George Goddard, although thanks to the improved Cambridge defence he was fairly inactive in the first half, with perhaps the exception of a shot to the face towards the end of the first period, resulting in a deserved two-minute suspension for GD’s Ionut Ivan.
Also touching the court for the first time in Cambridge colours in the first half were George Brownsell and Ayman Said. Said proved a pivotal addition to the squad, appearing at both left back and centre throughout the game, whilst Brownsell came up handy with two goals in each half from the left-wing.
At half-time it was 11-7 on the scoreboard in favour of Cambridge, with coach Agnes Foeglein telling the squad that, whilst she was happy with the better defensive performance, the attack required work in the following period if the team were to properly capitalise on the space GD were offering.
The second period saw an even stronger defence from the Cambridge boys, with GD only hitting the back of the net five times in the second 30 minutes. A strong partnership between Luckhurst, Guy and Vykintas Stuckis at the heart of the defence meant GD could not break through the centre despite their best efforts, as well a series of excellent saves from Moleski when GD did reach the six metre line.
And in attack, Luckhurst continued his fruitful streak, adding two goals to his first half tally of four through some excellent connections with the two halves, helped immensely by Said’s defence splitting movements from centre.
Barber and Stuckis also added to their first half totals in a dominant second half display, and Cambridge’s control showed towards the end of the game as the GD players became increasingly frustrated at their lack of opportunities, as well as Jan Guzik chipping in from right-wing to
The men’s side now head into a mid-table clash with Islington 2 on November 19.
Player of the match: Ayman Said
Cambridge Women’s 6 – 50 London GD – Premier Handball League South
It was a difficult day for the women’s team, who were disadvantaged headed into the game with two-last minute injuries, meaning it was a 60-minute day for the seven players.
But it was Cambridge who struck the first blow in the game, with Arwen Tarling finding the back of Nicole Zdzieblo’s net early in the fixture to make it 1-0.
But from then on GD asserted their dominance and it became a difficult day.
Fast breaks were the undoing for the Cambridge defence, as a GD squad with two available substitutes could rotate whilst they had to fight with everything they had out on the court.
The visitors quickly racked up the goals whilst Cambridge were only able to add one further in reply, from Madeline Jackson at left wing in a tricky first half, with the scoreboard showing 26-2 at the interval.
But despite the uphill battle, the effort did not falter from the women’s side, with Agnes Foeglein repeatedly picking herself up off the floor throughout the day in an entralling battle at line with the two GD central defenders.
Sam Yun Yap at centre continued to probe the GD defence and find gaps where she could, seeking to exploit the gaps created by Foeglein at line.
Yap created several chances for the side when she did connect with Foeglein, however Zdzieblo in the GD goal proved a force to be reckoned with, shutting the Cambridge players out.
The returning Viki Takacs was the first to find the net for Cambridge after half-time in her first game back from injury, and she would later become the stopgap in coach Jandro Costa’s defence to GD’s repeated fast break attempts in an innovative piece of tactical play.
Cambridge sacrificed a player in attack, with Takacs stationed in their own half, meaning that when GD tried the fast break she was there so interrupt play, and it proved fruitful; GD’s fast break count significantly dropped in the second period.
This number was also aided by a strong performance from Lucy Roe in goal, making a number of saves both from fast breaks and normal play.
And it was mid-way through the second half when Foeglein finally got the reward for her hard day’s effort, seeing the ball past Zdzieblo at the six metre line.
The last two goals for Cambridge came in the final minutes, with Grace Cappell – who will be headed to Macedonia with the GB women’s senior side – getting in on the act from nine metres, and Takacs adding the final goal from the penalty spot.
Up next for the women’s side is a six-pointer against Chelsea on November 18.
Player of the match: Sam Yun Yap.