Imperial College Handball managed to secure first place at the annual Fresher’s Tournament, which is considered by many as the unofficial beginning of the Handball battle amongst London Universities. It took place in the Olympic Copperbox arena and hosted teams from London’s top handball universities: University College London (UCL), King’s College London, Brunel, Middlesex and of course, Imperial. Despite its friendly nature the tournament presented some intensive games.
Resembling Cristiano Ronaldo during the recent European football championship final
The Eagles started with a very physical game against Middlesex. The team’s offensive worked very well throughout, however the lack of experience playing together in defence led to a well fought-out draw (6-6). The second game was against UCL: despite playing brilliantly in attack and fighting well in defence, Imperial’s team managed to get their first win of the night (6-5). Next up were the Eagles’ fiercest rivals, King’s. Improved communication between players was instrumental in the victory (8-7) that nearly secured the title. In the last game of the tournament, Imperial faced Brunel. A win would secure the trophy, however, losing by no more than one goal would also suffice. After an intense game, Brunel managed to steal a victory (3-4), but since the loss for Imperial was by only one goal, it was enough to secure the trophy for the Eagles. The victory came despite an injured team captain, Jakub Szypicyn. Resembling Cristiano Ronaldo during the recent European football championship final, he played the role of a coach and navigated the team throughout the tournament. His actions on the sideline were key to our final success.
Since many players of the 2015⁄16 team graduated last year, this team was assembled in just two training sessions, but the improving communication and team bonding was noticeable throughout the evening. What many might have thought was a new team in the beginning seemed a single unit by the end. This incredible success gives hope to everyone in the squad. Will the Eagles be able to overcome the odds and win the London University Sports League this year, despite their sub-par performances last season? Only time will tell, but our first trophy certainly shows positive signs of things to come.