The Cranfield University Handball Team came back from the European Aerostudent Games (EAG) international tournament carrying the silver cup. The EAG tournament, played in Toulouse between the 26th and the 28th of March, saw the men’s team compete against teams from Spain and France and gave the Wolves an opportunity to display their team efforts on an international level.
The Wolves departed the UK early on Thursday morning to be able to arrive to their first game against the University of Seville in Supaero’s University court. After a long morning of travel Cranfield started the match half asleep, with a defence that was a bit weaker than usual, and a more chaotic attack. However, little by little the Wolves gained their game back and by half time the Wolves were leading by 4. The second half got easier for The Wolves and they managed to achieve a final victory of 17-9.
On Friday The Wolves faced ENAC, the 2014 Handball EAG champions, on their own court. ENAC play a fast and dynamic game and with a lot of changes available on their bench, this game was one of the biggest challenges the Wolves would face in the tournament. The first half saw the Wolves fall behind by 4 goals, but by half time the difference had been reduced to 2. Keeping loyal to their scheme and bearing in mind that the best offence is a strong defence, the beginning of the second half was a success for The Wolves. They turned the match around and gained a 2 goal advantage ten minutes before the end. Cranfield held on to their advantage and the final score was 19-17.
With only one hours rest before the next game, Cranfield faced the tournament’s organizers, Supaero. With tired legs and some Wolves sitting out with injuries, the fast pace the Wolves are used to playing had to be exchanged for a calmer game. Although sometimes the game was close, The Wolves managed to maintain their superiority on the field and won the game by 3 goals. That victory meant the Wolves were going to the final, which would be played the Saturday afternoon. The Wolves decided to take the afternoon to rest, visit the city of Toulouse, and fraternise with other teams attending the EAG.
On Saturday, the Wolves played the final against ENSICA, in Supaero’s court. Playing next to home, ENSICA brought a big crowd to give them support, and indeed they made their presence felt. It was an intense game, in which the Wolves managed to get an advantage of 4 goals by half time. However, the intensity of the previous days and the short bench made an impact. ENSICA managed to overcome the difference at the end of the match the score was tied. This meant only one thing - a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner. After the first round of 5 penalties both teams refused to budge and the score remained even at 4-4. With the scored still tied the penalties moved onto a round of sudden death. After Cranfield missed their first penalty, ENSICA scored, giving ENSICA the first position of the tournament.
After an intense few days the Wolves came back home tired, but satisfied with the result and happy to add some more silverware to this year’s collection. The next big game for Cranfield will be the final of the England Handball Association’s League Cup which will be played on 6th June against London GD II.