Buckinghamshire clinched glory in the England Handball Association County Finals on Sunday 4th December, with Oly Cats representatives, who are based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, playing their part in the success.
The country’s leading under-16 youngsters met at Stoke Mandeville Stadium with national glory up for grabs. In the men’s competition, teams from Buckinghamshire, Devon, Nottinghamshire, South West London and defending champions Greater Manchester took to the court.
Buckinghamshire’s team was made up of players from Oly Cats, while the county’s coaching staff, Bobby White and Nick Halasz, are also from the club.
The opening fixture of the men’s competition was a convincing 11-7 victory for Buckinghamshire over South West London, before the county met 2015 winners Great Manchester, going down 13-11.
Following a 14-14 draw with Nottinghamshire, Buckinghamshire secured their place in the semi-finals with a resounding 18-4 win over Devon. A rematch with Nottinghamshire followed in the knock-out stage, and a high quality game went the way of the home side – Bucks coming out on top 10-7. In the other semi-final, South West London overcame Greater Manchester by the same scoreline.
Bucks produced their best performance of the competition in the final, fending off the club from the capital and claiming the crown courtesy of a 17-7 triumph.
Reflecting on the weekend’s success, Buckinghamshire and Oly Cats head coach Bobby White said: “I am really happy with the attitude of the lads. We had a couple of tough games against Manchester and Nottingham but the players responded strongly in the following matches. We played very well in the semi-finals and we adapted our plans for the final.
“The boys executed the plan perfectly on the day and they’ve been committed to the training from the beginning. We started the programme in March, and they’ve been outstanding ever since.
“The win this weekend is a great advert for handball in the county and for the schools that have included the sport as part of their GCSE programme and in their after-school classes.
“As a sport, we don’t have a significant number of players coming through the system so we rely on every player that comes through from the schools that get involved. This is an incredible achievement for the sport in the area and every parent, guardian and teacher who has been involved in encouraging players to try the sport in school, and with Oly Cats, should be feeling rightly proud of their success.”