Archive for the ‘General ramblings’ Category

Newquay Handball Club asked for an exhibition game vs. British cup winner but in the end found new friends

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11am Saturday morning, the Head coaches of Newquay Handball Club and Salford Handball Club left Ross Ellis at Truro Studio of BBC Cornwall. Each accompanied by one player of their Teams. Chris McDermott, member of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, for Team Salford and Geoff Muskett, President and Goalkeeper of Newquay Handball Club. A normal working day for Ross Ellis. But nothing was normal at this weekend.

BBC Cornwall

Creativity, determination, courage and hard work formed a Handball Team out of a couple of people, who were inspired watching handball at the London 2012 Olympics. Nobody knew where the travel would lead them to, but there was definitely no plan playing against Olympians just 18 month later. The inspiration probably comes from Jürgen Koenen, German Head coach of the Team, but when understanding what this game really is about it was like a virus that infected the English players. Eddie Percy-Hughes, wing player of Newquay Handball Club expressed it like this: “First I stayed, because I didn’t want to disappoint Geoff. Then suddenly Jürgen came with the idea to play in the league and I was totally scared. But I stayed because I didn’t want to disappoint Jürgen. And now I just love it and nothing can make me leave again!” The first season was a great success, expressed in 2 wins, 1 draw and the awareness to be quite close to the other Teams.
In order to promote Handball in Cornwall and to support the ongoing progress, the idea was born, to invite Salford HC, one of the best Teams in the Country. Like Newquay Handball Club, the Salford squad are mainly British players. Such obvious similarities and a former friendly contact between Bill Baillie, Head coach of Salford HC and the national Team with Newquays German coach were the base for Salford to except Newquays invitation.


So on Saturday the 14th the Tennis Hall of the Dragon leisure centre in Bodmin was transformed in a Handball arena. This was only possible with the great support of the staff of the leisure centre and friends and families of the Newquay squad.

The game itself ended like to be expected in a 38 – 10 win for Salford. The speed and ball handling were just on another level. But Newquay showed that they were at the beginning of a process, that might lead them to a similar level one day. Especially the performances of the youngsters Ben Haddrell (18years) and Hauke Moll (16years) were noticed by Bill Baillie and Scott Harrington (National U20 Coach). Everybody in the Team made individual progress. The speed of Team Salford will be inspiration for the next season.

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The relationship between the Teams was substantiated in a “rematch” at Newquays Porth Beach. A lot of fun with “Beach Handball” and the winner at least was Handball in Cornwall. The loss of England’s Football Team became a minor matter on that day.


Bill Baillie stated several times that it is a major concern for him to support clubs like Newquay Handball Club, even if this means a 7 hour ride by car.
So in advance he had offered a workshop for Sunday. This was mainly accepted by Newquay players. Although tired from the day before, the 90min session with the national coach, supported by the U20 coach and many players of Team Salford was another step forward. Surprisingly they found out, that they already work in a similar way, but especially the intensity was completely different.

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Both Teams enjoyed this weekend so much that they planned to make a regular thing out of this. So no worries if you missed the opportunity to watch the fantastic sport live. There will be another chance next year.

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Especially interested young players shouldn’t wait and get in touch with Jürgen Koenen ( There is no need to have played before.
Just give it a try and use the next year to introduce yourself in one year time to the national top coaches.

The club is constantly growing, so if you are interested to get involved in any other way than just playing, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Newquay to welcome Olympians in Exhibition game 14th June

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Newquay vs Salford exhibition game 14th June


With the odds stacked against them, and contrary to the advice of some experienced Handball officials, in 2013 Newquay Handball Club joined the national league structure; lining up against some of the big guns of South West Handball like Bristol, Bath, Southampton, Oxford and Cardiff. With the first season now under their belt, including some head-turning results, Newquay now embark on their biggest challenge to date: the UK’s #1 team, Salford, are coming to town.

Saturday the 14th June, 2pm throw off at The Dragon Centre in Bodmin is an occasion not to be missed. Salford will bring to Cornwall a wealth of British handball talent, including London 2012 Olympians, members of the current GB squad, under 21 internationals and the current GB coach.

For Handball in England, teams don’t come any bigger than Salford. Attracting such a team is testament to Newquay’s hard work over the past 18 months, not just on the field but off it too. Establishing a new sport in Cornwall is no mean feat, this match is recognition of NHC’s achievement, a stamp of approval, and a springboard for the future of Handball in Cornwall.

Spectators are very welcome, the suggested entry donation is just £1. Children under 16 are free, doors open from 1.30pm.

In addition to the grand spectacle, Newquay and Salford will be running free Handball workshops for under 16s. An incredible opportunity for young people in Cornwall to try the sport, meet Olympic athletes and be instructed by the national team coach! There will be competitions, prizes, and all sorts of Handball fun and games.

Workshops will be held from 1-4pm on Sunday 15th June at Cornwall’s Handball arena – Bodmin Dragon Centre. All are welcome from ages 12-16, parents can stay and watch if they wish, and whats more – workshops are free entry!

Newquay vs Cardiff, Jan 18th 3pm Bodmin Dragon Centre

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Newquay’s pursuit of their first victory continues in 2014 with the visit of Cardiff on January 18th. A must win game for both teams as they languish at the foot of the table, which is a deceiving summary of the season so for Newquay.

The luck (or lack-of) the draw meant that this new team has played last seasons league champions, the runners up, and this years favourites, in the opening three games. This baptism of fire for Newquay has only served to make the team stronger, and increase the appetite for positive results.

Having shown strength, togetherness and skill against strong opponents, NHC are encouraged by the progress made in a short period of time. Taking the league champions to within seconds of victory, and gaining great comments from opposing coaches, add up to a team on the rise. There is great positivity in the camp leading into the upcoming Cardiff showdown.

Training sessions over the Christmas period have been committed, and progressively high in quality – showing that Newquay are an ever improving side and ready for the challenges of 2014.

As always spectators are very welcome to The Dragon Centre in Bodmin for the Cardiff game, so come and support Cornwall’s no.1 Handball team. End to end action is guaranteed! Throw off at 3.30pm January 18th, please arrive from 3pm.

First home game 1.30pm Bodmin Dragon Centre, Sunday 10th November

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After Newquay’s impressive display against Bath in the season opener, the team is buzzing and ready for the first home game against Bristol on Sunday 10th, 1.30pm at Bodmin Dragon Centre.

Delivering a new sport to Cornwall

Despite Handball being a popular team sport since the 19th Century, England has been slow to embrace this fast, all action sport. This is at least partially due to a dire lack of facilities. Pre NHC, Cornwall in particular had not seen Handball in any form other than the odd school PE lesson.

Newqauay Handball Club has inspired the dawning of Handball in Cornwall, making this weekend’s inaugural home game extra special. It’s taken a year of hard work, begging borrowing and stealing equipment, there has been a mountain to climb in bringing this sport to the county. The upcoming game is a real milestone for NHC and Handball in Cornwall.

Entering the second tier of English Handball

After a mini friendly tournament, two friendly games and a Beach Handball tournament, NHC took the giant leap into competitive Handball leagues. Joining the South & West Development league, the second tier of competition in England, is a massive step up for the club.

The worry was that experienced teams like Bath would simply turn Newquay over, however quite the opposite proved true. NHC put up an incredible fight and a top notch performance against the reigning league champions. This was without the services of two key players, David Santos and Adolf Botar, both are ready for action against Bristol.

Expectations are high

With an even stronger squad, and after the performance against Bath, there is much expectation for the first home game. However NHC are under no illusions; they are still underdogs. Bristol are a well established team, coming second last year having won the league on multiple occasions previously.

Since the Bath encounter training has elevated to a higher level, faster more effective and more intense. The players, the coach, the press and the fans are hungry to see Newquay record their first win in their foremost home game. Bring it on.


We are THIRD in the League (Until Sunday at least)

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The South and West Development league is run by England Handball and you can follow how the league looks over at England Handball. The problem is that currently the table hasn’t been updated as Cardiff are yet to play Southampton University.

So I have decided to collect the score for the other games and make the unofficial table. In Handball you get 3 points for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 for a loss.

Newquay Handball League Table

As you can see we are currently 3rd because of our much better goal difference. The best we can be in is 4th on Sunday but this is only if either Cardiff or Southampton Uni win. A draw will put us in 5th place.

Pre season friendly vs Devon, sunday 6th October

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In preparation for NHC’s debut league season we have a friendly against Devon this Sunday at Truro School.

Devon are a new team but are expected to field some experienced players, so it will be a good test of Cornish handballing expertise against our close rivals.

Most importantly the game will provide invaluable preparation for the first encounter, away to division champions Bath. Training sessions leading up to competitive games have been based around tactics, match strategies and game situations both in offence and defence. Devon will be sure to put these to the test.

The game thows off at 2pm on Sunday 6th October at Truro School. Good times 🙂


Newquay Handball Club enter the South & West Development League

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Exactly one year and two days after our first training session, with a mix of excitement, trepidation and pride we take the giant leap into competitive Handball leagues. The first game of the South & West Development League season throws off at 1pm on the 19th of October against reigning division champions Bath University, on Bath turf. Talk about thrown in at the deep end.

Newquay Handball Club team photo 17.10.12

Picture taken 17th October 2012, Cornwall’s first ever handball training session 


Just keep playing

Achieving league status in such a short time is a triumph of perseverance and dedication to a cause. We’ve started something new, and crucially we are seeing it through. Reaching this stage is a major testament to the hard work of the core group of individuals that have made this happen. Setting up any type of club is a big undertaking, but to set up a new club in a sport that didn’t exist in the region is a challenge on a whole other level. There was no equipment, no courts, no money, no knowledge of the rules, just the desire to play. At the time the nearest team was a three hour drive away, in Bristol.

A coaching masterclass

We’ve been lucky that the desire to play coincided with Handball God Jürgen moving to Cornwall. His vast coaching experience has taken us to this level. But one person cannot make a club, it takes several people pulling in the same direction to create a movement. Under Jürgen’s guidance this is what has happened.

The tough times

It certainly hasn’t been plain sailing. Two of the core members left the county for work reasons; when you have a small group of people, loosing two key guys is a big deal. We’ve had no official funding, some sponsorship at the beginning from Worlds Apart bought us some balls, but for several weeks we played with mats propped up on the wall as makeshift goals. Two inflatable goals were then donated which kept deflating every 15minutes. However, for the love of the sport we have fought through the hard times, begging, borrowing, and making our own equipment along the way.

Creating opportunity

We are by no means perfect today, there is still much to do, but we’ve certainly come a hell of a long way. Newquay has new club. Cornwall has new sport. The region has a new opportunity.

Sandball sunset Newquay Handball Club

Newquay Handball Club’s summer beach sessions


New players needed!

The club is growing but we always welcome new players. It’s a truly fantastic game, I encourage anyone with any sporting instinct to give it a go. We are proof that you need no experience to start throwing a ball! Join in!

Announcing Sandball 2013: Beach tournament 27th July!

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This is huge! We’re running our fist beach handball tournament in partnership with Watergate Bay Hotel on the 27th July.

The tournament is for local people to make a team and come along to enjoy the phenomenon that is Sandball! No prior experience is necessary, the rules are pretty easy to pick up. Anyone who’s participated in team sports will pick it up no trouble.

Check the official page for more info and to enter. Let’s play Sandball!

Newquay Handball Club are official!

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Today we are proud to announce that Newquay Handball Club is officially affiliated with the England Handball Association.

Only 9 months sinse our inaugural training session, and while other clubs have fallen by the wayside, NHC has gone from strength to strength. From never having played before, Cornwall’s first Handball team has taken part in a regional tournament, played a competitive friendly against Plymouth Uni, and successfully introduced Sandball to the county.

We’re excited by the future and the possibility of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bath, Bristol and Southampton by joining the South and Western Development league next season.

Exciting times ahead, however we still need more members and sponsorship!



Radio 2 Sandball interview with video, Kevin Welsh stylee

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A visual representation of what goes on in the mind of Kev…