4th November 2018
After gaining promotion to the men’s National League South last season, Bristol Handball Club is going places.
Club President Mike Pacy says that once promotion was sealed, the club experienced a boost as many former players returned to the club, to such an extent it can now field two men’s teams.
He said: “Getting that promotion has given us a real drive, and got us lot of attention. From people who play handball; used to play handball; returning players coming back to the club; players who have been talking about joining us; one or two transfers from the university side; plus new people who have heard about it. So we’ve decided to register a second team. For the first time we have the numbers to fulfil that.”
The second team is named Bristol Spartans to demonstrate the link with Somerset Spartans, Bristol’s partner club. The two Westcountry clubs work together to provide Somerset’s junior players with a pathway to senior competition.
The increased profile of handball in Bristol is shown by plans that will see a handball venue in the city. Bristol currently play some of their matches at Wellington School and some at Cardiff’s House of Sport. However, Bristol Sport - the multi-sport alliance at Ashton Gate centred on the Bristol Bears rugby and Bristol City football - is hoping to build an indoor facility for the Bristol Flyers basketball team. It has also recently appointed a handball development coach, to work with local primary schools.
Mike added: “In the proposal for Ashton Gate, although it’s primarily for the Bristol Flyers basketball, handball’s one of the named community sports in their proposal document alongside the more established boxing, netball and badminton. Seeing people mention handball in documents like that is quite a change.
“Hearing about an arena which is potentially around two years off is exciting for the future, and will allow the club to grow.”
Bristol Handball Club also works alongside Wesport and England Handball’s Regional Partners Manager Jenny Hannis to develop their links with local schools.
Bristol’s first match in the National League South saw them draw 27-27 against Chelsea in a thrilling encounter.
Handball is a sport on the up in Bristol.