19th February 2018
It was a weekend of tight margins in the men’s Premier Handball League, with Olympia taking both men’s and women’s honours in the London double-header, and NEM Hawks upsetting the form guide in their win over Warrington Wolves. In the third match of the weekend, Cambridge edged Nottingham by three goals.
Hawks went into the break 15-15 against local rivals Wolves in the North West derby, but scored six unanswered goals at the start of the second half to see them win 27-33. Hawks therefore maintain their fifth place in the table, and with this win they deny Wolves the opportunity to move up on the top two teams ahead of them. Sterling work by Hawks’ Jamal Braithwaite, with 13 goals, Harry Morley with nine, and Stef Whaley with five saw Hawks claim this important scalp as they look to climb into the top half of the table. Player of the Match was keeper Tom Marsden.
Wolves lost Rafik Tahraoui in the first half to a red card, and despite eight goals from Nate Green, five from Ryan Thomas and four from both Tahraoui and Jacob Maxted, were unable to get the better of Hawks. With this result, Wolves stay third in the table but four points behind second placed Olympia - Olympia having a game in hand.
Olympia took full club honours in the London double-header against West London Eagles with both men’s and women’s teams facing off at The Score Centre, Leyton, on Saturday afternoon. In the men’s match, Olympia took a narrow 16-12 lead into the break after four first half goals from Damut Nelutescu. In the second half, Eagles’ fightback was led by Player of the Match Lucas Carstens whose 12-goal haul included second half goals, but this was not enough to overturn Olympia’s first half cushion.
At full time it was 29-27 to Olympia who continue to be the only unbeaten team in the league this season. This result means Eagles have lost narrowly to the top two in the league this calendar year, implying their league position does not reflect their form. "It was a really close affair and we gave Olympia a good scare they would not take the points easily” said Eagles coach Marc Fayemi. “Olympia kept their nerve and managed the last 3 minutes of the game better than us. With a bit more experience and lucidity we could have turned the result. We are still too tender at times; it is part of the learning curve for our young players."
The third match of the weekend in the men’s Premier Handball League saw Cambridge host Nottingham at the Barking Sporthouse. Cambridge were looking to extend their winning streak to four league wins, but the two teams recorded the same number of wins so far this season so it was predicted to be a close game.
Cambridge took a five goal lead into half time, Florian Stroehl continuing his fine goal-scoring form this season with five in each half. Dani Ramos Gonzalez and Benjamin Howard replied for Nottingham with three goals each in the first half. The teams turned around at 15-10 and in the second half Nottingham managed to reduce the deficit with Francisco Pereira netting five times after the break. But Stroehl replied with a flurry of goals right at the death, seeing Cambridge home 34-31 and maintaining their fourth place in the Premier Handball League table.