TRYST men’s team travelled to Greenbank Sports Centre on Merseyside for the Liverpool International Open. The tournament is held annually and features teams from France, Norway, Denmark and Spain as well as British sides.
Initially Tryst had a full squad of players for the tournament but after the exertions of a tough Scottish Cup Final and league match in the weeks before, a few players were lost to injury along with another couple to work and family commitments. Nevertheless although it was a side low in numbers there was still enough quality to maintain reasonable hopes of performing well.
Since the inaugural tournament in 2001 Tryst have competed each year, with the best performances coming in 2005 when the women reached the semi finals and 2006 when the men won the competition.
Across the board the team line-ups were strong and in a shortened game time format it was anticipated that there would be very little margin for error and plenty of close games. And so it proved.
Tryst were in a tough group with Spanish side BM Coslada, up and coming local side Deva and Londoners Olympia.
First up for Tryst was London based side Olympia. The team from the capital have had an excellent season with their multi national line up reaching the English League play-offs and qualifying for Europe. Olympia came flying out the blocks and this, combined with a very sluggish and erratic performance from Tryst saw the New Town side lose their opening group match by 13 goals to five.
Tryst needed to win their next game against Deva and although the performance was better, they still weren’t playing with the required tempo and efficiency. They did however win 17-9 but still needed to up their level of performance, especially as their final group game was against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Spanish side BM Coslada.
Tryst went in to the game knowing that first and foremost they had to win but even if they could secure a victory there was a strong likeliehood that goal difference would then come in to play.
Tryst started the game with some excellent attacks and strong physical defence and seemed to catch the Spaniards off guard. After taking an early lead Tryst continued to take the game to Coslada and forced them to change their defensive tactics. As the Spanish side battled to get back on level terms Tryst stayed strong and on occasion took their slender one goal lead up to two and then three. The New Town side rarely dropped their level throughout the match and a strong finish saw them surprisingly but deservedly win by 12 goals to 8.
Olympia then beat Deva in the final group match and as Olympia had earlier lost to Coslada the final placings, as suspected, were decided on goal difference as the three sides had tied on points. And it was Tryst who unfortunately lost out by two goals.
Tryst did however did go in to the Plate competition and re-grouped in time for their quarter-final where they saw off Bournemouth by ten goals before then facing Manchester University in the semi-finals.
The semi-final was the following day and the overnight break saw the players wake with a variety of aches, pains and injuries. Again Tryst had another sluggish start to the day and although they played better than their opening game on day one it was still a rollercoaster of a performance. At full time the game was tied 12-12 and five minutes of extra-time was required. During this period Tryst were able to rouse themselves and take command, finally winning by 16 goals to 13. The Cumbernauld side were now in the final where they would face their opponents from the group phase – Deva.
To further underline the strength of the original group Tryst found themselves in, Olympia had made the semi-finals of the main trophy whilst BM Coslada had gone one step further and reached the final.
The plate final between Deva and Tryst was a much more evenly contested, tight, nervy game than their group encounter. Tryst took an early lead but only by a single goal and although they held that lead throughout it was never by more than one or two goals. Deva battled hard and their left back and line player remained big threats for the whole match. It was only in the last five minutes that Tryst opened up a three-goal lead for the first time in the game and they were able to hold this and build on it until full time, finally winning by 18 goals to 13.
Overall the tournament was a success for Tryst although a bit frustrating as they played some excellent handball and won the plate competition but also threw in some below par performances and could have done slightly better. The feeling is that there is the potential to take their game up another couple of levels.
TRYST: K. McManus, D. Fisher, G. McCafferty, M. McGuinness, C. McManus, J. McAleer, B. Bartlett, J. Yule and M McLaughlan.