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.
Currently Serbia is in the spotlight of the handball world as the 21st Women World Championships are being held in the ex-Yugoslavian state.
During the first part of the championships, we have noticed the different styles of the national teams from the different continental federations. The European countries have been more tactical in attack while opting more for aggressive 6/0 defences. The Brazilians, who are the most prominent South American representative, play close to the European style, while the Asian national teams play a very aggressive and deep 3/2/1 defence with more basic fast actions in attack.
After the Preliminary round, the four teams that qualified from the four groups, proceed to the eight finals while the two teams failing to proceed from their respective group, play in the Presidents’ Cup for placement. In the Presidents’ Cup, Algeria, Tunis, China and Australia managed to beat their opponents. In the eight finals, Germany beat Angola and France beat Japan by 8 goals. Poland edged Romania in a closed encounter with 2 goals after the latter were leading 13-10 in the half time. In a very closed encounter, Denmark overcame a stern Montenegro side by the lone goal for a score of 22-21.
Poland and Denmark will be meeting France and Germany respectively in the first two quarter finals while one will be expecting Norway, Brazil, Hungary and Serbia to join them. Denmark and Norway are the favourites for the final. Hungary, with the core players from Gyor are also good contenders with Serbia and Brazil, series contenders to be a surprise.
The Women Champions’ League group matches have given their verdict and have told us who will be advancing to the Main Round. As expected Gyori have won all their games from group A which proved to be a very interesting group with the other three teams ending up on equal points.
German team Thuringer HC will advance to the main round after suffering only a goal difference of -6 in respect to Hypo’s -21 and Baia Mare -22. It was the second consecutive year that Hypo Niederosterreich did not reach the main round but will advance to the EHF Cup Winner’s Cup. On the other hand, it was first time ever for German outfit Thuringer to reach the Main Round. Group D on the other hand offered no real emotions with Vardar and Larvik taking the first two places with 11 and 9 points respectively. The only surprise was how Larvik did not end as winners of the group. From group B, we will see FC Midylland and Budocnost who advanced in the last game by beating FTC Cargo Hungaria. Krim Mercator and Savehof will advance from group C. In the main round we will see two groups of four teams each out of which the first two will advance to the semi-finals. Gyor, Larvik remain the main contenders with Budocnost, Krim and FC Midylland fighting for the other two places in the semis.
Half way through the Men group phase, the four teams that will advance from each group are already being identified. Vesprem, won all their games in group A and are likely to proceed with Rhein Nectar Lowen. The other two places are to be disputed between Zapororzhye, Zagreb and Celje. Kiel, Targi Kielce and Copenhagen lead group B on 8 points each and will advance with Wisla Plock and Porto fighting for the last available place. Group C is also interesting with Barcelona leading with 9 points, Skopje and Metalurg on 6, PSG on 5 and Minsk on 4. Group D is led by the German current champions of Hamburg followed by Flensburg, Aalborg and La Rioja who have a great chance to advance to the next stage.
From a local perspective, the local leagues started with our teams having different fortunes. One must be satisfied with the commitment shown but some technical errors have cost us the games. This will not hinder our aims at doing well in the league and will keep fighting hard to make our ends meet in order to do well.
The Luxol Handball Nursery will be starting handball lesson for kids between 7 and 10 years old. These session will be held at the Mosta Boys’ Secondary School, Zokrija. Session will be held on Sundays from 9:30 am till 11:00 am. The session will be starting 10th November 2013. If you require further information do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many around the world say football is the beautiful game. I like football and I have played football both on 11 a-side teams and futsal. I will not try to convince anyone that football or any other sport is not nice but nothing compares to handball. Handball is played on a relative small field of 40m X 20m and the teams field 7 players each, who for an hour help their team outclass the other. This combination helps the game to develop a very fast pace and nowadays teams are developing a very high defence to try and play a very fast transition to score. The players are developing amazing footwork and amazing strength that results in powerful human beings who think very fast to take a decision.
Here in Malta the level is not the same as that in France, Spain or Germany but one cannot deny that the leagues of various categories are becoming a more balanced affair and the uncertainty of the games’ outcome has become less obvious. The Maltese game is trying to become more fast and the influx of foreign players in the last couple of years will help the Maltese handball league develop into one of the most followed leagues in Malta.
Luxol Handball Club will soon start running classes for kids between 8-10 years old as Luxol believes that the young kids are the future of the game. Nevertheless, the club is still paying attention on his senior teams who are offering some good outings altered with less enthusiastic performances. The club will keep working in promoting the game of handball in Malta and ensuring its growth by investing in its members.
The main round of the EHF Women Champions League has finally started with the first round of the games being played last weekend. The usual suspects won their encounters with certain ease and seem that they will not find any real opposition till they start meeting each other.
Hungarians Gyor beat Hypo Niederosterreich with a comfortable 41-22 and lead group A. The leaders of group B Budocnost had no problem against Lublin but FC Midtylland showed their mettle by beating FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria. After a 36-28 victory Krim Mercator showed they are the real threat from group C while Larvik won HC Podravka Vegeta by a margin of 16 goals in group D. The only real worry happened to Larvik who lost their star 38 year old keeper Cecilie Leganger due to an Achilles injury. She needs at least 18 weeks on the side lines but should be in time for the next round. Leganger will be replaced by the other veteran keeper 45 year old Lene Rantala.
National teams are finalising their preparations for the Men EHF Euro 2014. In the end of October Denmark, France, Croatia and Norway will meet in the Golden League to sharpen their work ahead of the competition in Denmark. The group stages of the European competition will be held in four major cities in Denmark, mainly Copenhagen, Arhus, Herning and Aalborg. The competition is expected to have few surprises but one must pay attention to a very hard fought group C in Aarhus with Serbia, France, Poland and Russia.
On a local note, our senior teams started their MHA Cup schedule on a negative note. The men faced Phoenix and drew a low scoring 17-17 game. Phoenix’s keeper had a very good performance and our players’ shots could not go through him. Our own keeper Daniel Gauci had a very good game, together with Imed Ben Moussa whose tally of goals kept us in the game all the time and Aidan Tanti was instrumental to have scored the final goal in the last ten seconds of the game.
The ladies’ team was the negative protagonists of a 12-11 loss against a very determined Kavallieri team. The loss though not expected can be accepted but the performance has been below the standard our girls can show and that is the thing that hurts the most. The result of the ladies’ team will not undermine the work by the club and the team itself and the club is sure that the ladies will show resilience in the coming matches.