The University of Nottingham (UoN) Women’s Handball team were victorious over Nottingham Trent University’s (NTU) Handball team, on the occasion of the first ever Nottingham Varsity handball match. The team won 24-20 in an encounter that, though it was close on the scoreline, they controlled from the outset. 

The team raced into a 5-1 lead before being pegged back by Nottingham Trent, and for much of the match it was a topsy-turvy encounter, with UoN repeatedly taking the lead but NTU never out of it.

At halftime the score was only 13-12 to the Green and Gold, but the second half was more comfortable and they survived the last few minutes without any scares.

Right-back Nara Norberto said: “It was a good team performance, our tactics were to push them to shoot from the wings and keep them away from the 6m, which I think we did because most of their goals came from further out. Then in attack we just let Charys (Papagregoriou) and Miranda (Evangelidou) do their thing!”

“Indeed, it was the Cypriot trio of right-back Papegregoriou, centre Evangelidou, and line Nefeli Kouroushi that was key to UoN’s success, as they contributed 4, 8, and 5 goals respectively.”

UoN victorious in the first ever women’s handball Nottingham varsity event

Indeed, it was the Cypriot trio of right-back Papegregoriou, centre Evangelidou, and line Nefeli Kouroushi that was key to UoN’s success, as they contributed 4, 8, and 5 goals respectively.

Papagregoriou caught the eye with her long-range goals, Evangelidou pulled the strings throughout and was a threat on the break with her pace, while the team utilised Kouroushi to good effect, repeatedly committing defenders before dropping the ball to the line player in space for an easy finish.

The threat of the trio created opportunities for the wingers, with Jessica Fath and Louise Vingert adding 3 goals each as their Trent markers were sucked infield.

It was not all plain sailing for the home side though. NTU’s women’s first team had, after all, reached the final of their competition at the University Championships in Gillingham a week and a half ago, and before the game UoN knew they were in for a tough match.

“We were apprehensive before the game”, said Norberto, “Trent are a strong team as they showed at Uni Champs so we had to give our best”.

“The key was to not panic and keep calm”.

UoN certainly had to be at their best, as although their team had the edge over Trent, the pinks possess an outstanding individual talent in centre and player-coach Andrea Hesse.

“The German centre is very familiar to UoN having competed for them at last year’s University Championships, in the days when Trent did not have enough players to string together a team and Notts Varsity handball did not exist.”

UoN initiated numerous assaults upon Trent’s goal throughout the match at David Ross last Wednesday

The German centre is very familiar to UoN having competed for them at last year’s University Championships, in the days when Trent did not have enough players to string together a team and Notts Varsity handball did not exist.

She was a constant threat, weaving her way through the UoN defence with her skilful dribbling, and scored 8 of Trent’s goals. Right-back Ines Demeure also stood out for Trent, scoring 3 goals and posing such a problem that UoN adopted the tactic of man-marking her.

While this did nullify her threat, it also left large gaps in the defence and on more than one occasion a Trent attacker was allowed to stroll through and score.

The green and gold’s Papegregoriou was instrumental in the 24-20 triumph last week

This meant that, for long periods, the scoreline was closer than it should have been given that UoN’s overall offensive threat was greater. However, once Evangelidou made it 22-16, the green and golds entered the final timeout knowing that the win was secure.

And their place in the history of the University of Nottingham Handball Club is also secure, as the women marked the club’s 25th anniversary with a milestone victory. Let’s hope Varsity handball is here to stay!

Thomas Hughes

Images courtesy of Impact Images

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