Norweigan team KIL 98 chose Luxol Handball Club as their partners for the Erasmus Project Bridging Diversity through Handball. The project is meant to bring 16 year old girls from Norway and Malta together through the game of handball. The Norwegian team visited Malta during the last week of March. During their stay they had cultural visits in Valletta and Mdina, they had the opportunity to participate in team building events with Luxol HC members and the teams together had a couple of training sessions under the guidance of the local club coaches. Coming September, the Maltese girls have the opportunity to visit the Norwegian team where they will have cultural visits and some handball sessions with the team.
While Luxol is celebrating its 7 competitive season and one can argue that in various aspects this can easily transform in the most successive season for Luxol, results from the court are a bit contradictory for our teams.
We celebrated the first victory for our U/15 girls who faced a strong La Sallian side and managed to win the game 3-2. The girls showed a great improvement from a couple of weeks before and this shows the will our girls have to improve and honour the clubs’ colours. The U/17 boys faced a great Kavallieri side and though they did their utmost our boys had no real reply to the stronger physique of the Kavallieri boys. Our young guns tried to play technically well but seemed frightened against their opposition and this made them do a lot of basic mistakes.
The first division girls had a tough game against La Salle who had an easy win against our ladies. Though the game ended with a big difference for our opponents not everything was disappointing. One might criticise the way we approached the game which on court resulted in attacking mistakes that hindered our flow but given that, when our girls managed to play set defence, we were managing to stop our opponents. This was an atypical game for our girls who this year are enjoying the game and playing as a team.
The 2nd division men lost a game against Aloysians. The team suffered the unusual time we played but this is not a reason for the performance that was put, which is a pity seeing that we started the game with a run of 8-1 in our favour. I am sure the boys will manage to fight more in the upcoming games and a better tactical discipline will help them bring the result in our favour.
Luxol’s first division men team managed an important win against reigning champions La Salle in the second round of the local handball league. The win came as a surprise to many in the local handball camp and considering the achievements La Salle have achieved in the past couple of years one might agree. More than the result per se, one might have noticed a clear change in Luxol’s believe and will to win the game. The game started in a balanced affair with one team scoring and the other replying immediately through fast counter attacks. It seemed that the game would transform in a balanced encounter but Luxol’s resilient approach was awarded as La Salle started having trouble to find the goal and Luxol managing to keep a constant percentage on the opposite side. The gap that resulted between the two teams at the end of the first half helped Luxol keep control in the second half while La Salle kept finding it difficult to find their usual flow and confidence. As the results in the MHA Cup showed this handball season will be a very interesting and balanced one and although Luxol’s win was important, it has to be followed by consistency and disciplined performances in order for the team to challenge for important positions in the table.
Last weekend also confirmed the good work that is being made in our youth sector with the boys U/17 loosing the game to La Salle 14-16 after a very intense game. Our boys were able to play a good tactical game enhanced by great individual technique. Albeit the loss coming in the last minute, our boys came out from the game on a high, realising that they are able to give a good account of themselves in the league.
On Sunday the U/17 started their commitments with a very good win against Swieqi Phoenix. Luxol had a good start but could not manage to get detached from Phoenix who were managing to fight back goal with goal. The second half saw Luxol pay more attention in defence and with good disciplined running managed to strike well with fast transitions, making it seem an easy win. The team showed some good handball but being more consistent will help to have nicer games, though the 24-12 result made this game seem an easy one.
The game our ladies 2nd division had was a bit disappointing with some of the girls available and those who made it to the game had a tough game. With a disappointing end result, one should look at the performance and with two players less for most of the first half, the 9-0 result was a respectable one, thanks also to our keeper Josianne Attard. The end result of 21-4 was the result of our tired players.
Different fortunes were reserved to our 1st division men team, who against an always resilient Swieqi Phoenix, managed to control throughout the whole game. One must not be totally satisfied with the end result, considering that at times the team was up with 8 goals and lack of concentration helped Swieqi into the game for a result of 30-27.
The curtain over the MHA cup has been drawn last weekend with different fortunes for our teams. The men won against a resilient HMS team. Our boys suffered the opponent’s tenacity and audacity to take the game in hand and thus Luxol were not comfortable not being able to take off HMS from their backs. While Luxol managed to create good chances, they were always finding it hard to overcome the last hurdle and score. Although the result meant a win for the boys in purple, one expects better from Luxol, though the win felt good as it will surely give the team a boost for the upcoming league.
Our girls managed to end their MHA cup commitments with a credible performance against La Salle. The girls showed some good defence but La Salle managed to make the best of stolen balls to take an advantage with good counter attacks. If it had not been for the mistakes in attack, one can be satisfied with the attacking performance of our team. One must give credit to our girls who till the end kept fighting hard to get a respectable result from this game.
After 2 credible outings our ladies team registered the first win of the season. It was a win based on tactical discipline where our 6/0 defence backed by a good performance by Josianne Attard made it look easier than it really was. Phoenix tried hard to penetrate our defence but our girls were very close in defence, making it easy to go on fast transitions and strike when Phoenix defence was unbalanced. After dominating the first half with a score of 13-1, our girls relaxed a bit missing some easy shots in the second half and a good performance by Daniela Mifsud helped Phoenix get a more respectable result, though Luxol ended up winners with a score of 19-7.
On Saturday our men had a good performance against La Salle and though our men lost 29-23 the team never gave up and for most of the game was close to its opponents. This should augur well for the coming games and one hopes that when the league starts, the men would be a more threatening side against the more powerful teams.
After a long summer of apprehensions and preparations the season has finally started with the Super Cup and the MHA Cup. Our men team took the field against La Salle on 27th September. The match was a balanced affair more than expected with La Salle having two goals advantage by half time. Luxol suffered a setback after 7 minutes in the second half which saw them loose ground and La Salle ending worthy winners of the Super Cup.
In the first weekend of the MHA Cup our men faced another contender for the league and after starting undertone, Luxol gained ground but lost the game by 3 goals. The game was under Aloysians’ control all the time and Luxol must feel this game was like a lost occasion as the start was an awful one for Luxol full of turnovers. One must feel quite satisfied with the men team after these two performances, where the transition proved to be the team’s strongest asset. Better attention to basics and more accuracy in front of goal, together with stronger defence should be the focus on which to continue to strengthen the team.
The ladies faced Kavallieri in their first game. Our girls did well against a stronger side and more patience in attack together with more accuracy could have tilted the measure on our side. Kavallieri’s speed proved very important in the first part of the second half as our girls could not stop Kavallieri’s fast transition. Better feeling of the game will surely help our girls’ team to reach new heights.
One should be satisfied with our teams’ outings albeit there is room for improvement that would help us get more wins and maybe offer a stronger challenge for higher placing in the league.
Danish Liga team Skandeborg who last season finished 8th out of 16 teams in the Danish top division, will be doing their training camp in Malta between the 18th and 22nd August. Skandeborg will use this camp to continue on their aim of creating a better cohesion between their young talents and the more experienced players and to get ready for the new season where they want to push harder for a European spot. Skandeborg will visit Malta thanks to Daniel Tanti who last season while playing for Skovbakken, managed to have a couple of sessions with the liga team. Aksel Noorgard, one of the trainers at Skandeborg, invited Luxol Handball players Daniel and Joseph Tanti to train with the liga team. The two brothers know Mr. Noorgaard through their stay at Aarhus Sports High School where Mr. Noorgaard is a coach.
Skandeborg will face Malta’s National Team for a friendly game during their stay on the island. The game will be on Thursday 21st August @ 6.30pm @ University Hall.
The Men European Championships have offered us some amazing encounters in the Preliminary Round and with the competition advancing to the Main Round we take a look at the amazing championships so far.
Hosts Denmark passed from group A with an unbeaten record, overcoming the opposition of Austria and Macedonia who still go through and Czech Republic who returned home with only a draw to their account. Spain, Iceland and Hungary go through group B. Spain were unbeaten in this group. The group also saw Norway play some great handball but their inconsistency through the games cost them some points against Hungary and Iceland. Hungary were unlucky to loose Laslo Nagy before the competition and their performances in attack lacked his flare. Croatia had no problem to top group D followed by Sweden and Belarus. Group C was the most interesting with France winning all their games. Poland, Russia and Serbia all won a game each and this put all the three on two points each. With the goal difference rule coming into effect, Serbia were sent packing and this was the first major surprise of the tournament. Serbia were one of the favourites to challenge for gold after that in 2012 they were second.
The competition now proceeds with the two groups of the main round. In group 1 there is Denmark and Spain who are favourites to advance to the semi-finals, even though Iceland can surprise Spain into the semi-finals. In group 2, France and Croatia are favourites to go to the next stage, though Poland can be revived by the great comeback they have managed against Belarus.
Our own Daniel Tanti was present at the championships as he was keeping statistics for the EHF. He was following group C, the one who had, France, Poland, Russia and Serbia, in the Preliminary Round and now he will follow the Main Group 2, who is being played in Aarhus where Daniel is playing handball.