1st May 2019
Warrington Wolves and North East Manchester Hawks will head to the England Handball National Cup finals looking to bring back silverware to the North West.
Wolves are in the men’s National Cup final, a competition that they won five-years-in-a-row before 2018, where they will face Cambridge. In addition to the senior men, the Under-19 boys’ team will look to defend the title they won last year, and the Under-16 boys are hoping to win their first national title.
Hawks will play in the women’s National Cup final against West London Eagles. Hawks’ head coach Donna Hankinson, a former BT Coach of the Year, says this year’s Cup finals are a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games.
The sport gained a new generation of young handballers after impressing a British audience at the Games. Hankinson said: “For the first time in approximately 40 years a team is playing in a Cup final where every single player is English and has come through the England Handball performance pathway. The NEM Hawks squad is littered with full and junior England/GB athletes with an average squad age of 21.
“The core of the squad has been with us since the club formed in 2010. They went on an unbelievable run of being undefeated at junior level for five seasons winning their first Under-18 title in 2011 and the last one in 2016 so this final really means everything to those young dedicated women that have pushed to be the best they can be when faced week-in-week-out by much more experienced teams full of European based players who were born holding a handball.”
Wolves Chairman Kristian Marsh says he can’t wait to experience the magic of the Cup finals. He said: “As a club, Cup finals weekend has always been a special place for us. This year promises to be an even more exciting event. With three teams in the finals, it promises to be a busy one too. In addition to the men, our Under-19 lads return to Derby to defend their title and our Under-16 lads are going for their first.
“All three games are likely to be tough ones, but you can’t beat the drama and excitement of a cup final. It’s what gave me the love of this sport some 30-odd years ago and I look forward to the finals this year with as much, if not more, enthusiasm as I did that first one.”