12th March 2019
West London Eagles are bidding for a double appearance at the England Handball National Cup finals.
The Ealing and Hillingdon-based club mens’ and womens’ teams are both in semi-final action this weekend. They know that a win will take them to the finals that take place at Derby Arena over the weekend of 11/12 May.
The men last won the Cup in 2010 and last appeared in a final in 2013, when they lost to Warrington Wolves. They remain the only club apart from London GD and Warrington Wolves to have won the Cup in the past 10 years.
They knocked out defending National Cup champions winners London GD in the quarter-finals.
Eagles will play northern powerhouse and five-time winners Warrington Wolves, in an away match. The last time these teams met in the Cup semi-final was in 2015, when Wolves were victorious.
Zoran Lukacs, Eagles mens’ coach, believes the team has progressed a lot since his arrival at the club last summer. Zoran has put a lot of effort in over the last seven months to prepare the team, and settle in new players.
“We plan to defeat Wolves the same way we defeated London GD in the previous round, playing together efficiently and trusting the skills that we have practised hard and improved at training.”
Throw-off is at 14.30 at Birchwood Sport Centre, Warrington on Saturday.
The women have drawn Cambridge at home. Cambridge are the only non-Premier Handball League team left in any of the National Cup semi-finals, and will be the underdogs going into the match.
The last time Eagles women won the Cup was in 2012. They were losing finalists in 2014.
They defeated Poole Phoenix and Liverpool on their way to the last four. Star striker and team captain Sunniva Ovstebo Naess scored nine times in their quarter-final match and Eagles will be hoping she will show similar form in the semi-final.
Sunniva says they are committed to winning a trophy. “We are really excited to be playing the Cup semi-final. At the beginning of the season we all sat down and agreed that we wanted to win a trophy this year. We committed ourselves to all cup games.
“We know our strengths are playing tough in defence and running fast breaks, but we can also play swiftly in organised set attacks. I believe we play our best when we focus on ourselves and not on the opponents too much. It is time to add trophies again to the club cabinet. We do not want to miss the opportunity.”
Throw-off will be at 15.00 at Barking Sporthouse, Dagenham, on Saturday.