Warwick Handball reaches Cup final

This weekend saw Warwick Handball win their EHA plate cup semifinal against Bristol HC, pitting them against Cambridge HC in the final.

A combination of injuries and exam-related absences meant that no field substitutes were available. Warwick were determined to make up in motivation and fighting spirit what was lacking in numbers.

Despite this, the absence of parts of the creative department in attack was noticeable, particularly in the first half. This was more than compensated by a very compact defence, supported by excellent goalkeeping.

Consequently the half-time score was very low, at 9-6 to Warwick.

The first twenty minutes of the match were dominated by strong and disciplined defensive performances on both sides. Each goalkeeper showed his skill with some excellent saves and only few goals were scored.

After the first few goals, evenly distributed among the teams, the game opened up a bit. The Warwick attack increased its pace and found more gaps in the opposition defence. Proactive defence work lead to several fast-break opportunities. It was only due to a good number of chances being denied by Bristol’s goalkeeper that kept the difference to only three goals by half-time.

With the half-time swap came a change of defensive tactic on Bristol’s side that Warwick struggled to adjust to. Lost balls in attack were translated into counter-attacks, bringing Bristol to within one goal of equalising several times. At this point the lack of substitutes, and the resulting tiredness started to show.

However, the prize of the final beckoned and induced Warwick to draw on its last reserves of strength. A renewed focus on defence together with some new ideas in attack meant that Warwick’s advantage was gradually further increased.

In the end it was also tactical discipline that allowed Warwick to deny their opponents any way back into the game.

The final result was 17-13. Now the handballers are looking forward to what promised to be an exciting final against first-division side Cambridge. The final will be held at Aldersley Hall in Wolverhampton, on Sunday 5th June.

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