Cumbernauld handball club Tryst 77 celebrates 40 glorious years

Tryst '77 have enjoyed numerous successes at the forefront of British handball for the past 40 years.
Tryst '77 have enjoyed numerous successes at the forefront of British handball for the past 40 years.
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Last year may have marked 40 years since the release of the first Star Wars movie and four decades since ‘Mull of Kintyre’ topped the charts.

But for handball enthusiasts in Cumbernauld there was only one 40th anniversary which mattered - the one marking the formation of the town’s Tryst ‘77 club.

Players past and present got together from all over the UK (pic by Gregor Thomas)

Players past and present got together from all over the UK (pic by Gregor Thomas)

Over the past four decades the club has enjoyed numerous national and international successes and won a host of trophies.

And their hoping to continue to go from strength to strength as they go into year number 41.

Handball is a sport with a long and established global history but it only arrived in the UK in the late 60s when four Liverpool PE teachers set up the Governing Body for the sport - The British Handball Association - and set about promoting the sport across the region and the rest of the UK.

Handball then appeared in a number of towns and cities around the central belt of Scotland and in 1977, Tryst ’77 Handball Club was started in Tryst Sports Centre by a group of keen youngsters led by Stevie Welsh who worked in the sports centre at that time.

A great night was enjoyed by all at the club's celebration ceilidh (pic by Gregor Thomas).

A great night was enjoyed by all at the club's celebration ceilidh (pic by Gregor Thomas).

Initially the limited interest in the sport meant that only a men’s team took to the courts of Tryst Sports Centre .

But within a relatively short period of time the club’s numbers had increased slightly but sufficiently for a women’s team to be formed.

In the years since, the club has put a significant amount of time, energy and resources in to developing junior sections at all age levels (as well as continuing to run a senior women’s and a senior men’s teams).

The club now has boys and girls, men and women playing from five years plus to 50 years plus, from super minis and minis to juniors, youths and seniors with possibly this year the introduction of a ‘Masters’ team.

Across the 40 years and all the age groups the club have won numerous Scottish Leagues and Cups, British Leagues and Cups.

Tournaments were won in the Isle of Man, Holland, Norway and Sweden. The club has had one memorable adventure in to the European Cup and

There have also been plenty of heart breaking, last second, one-goal, penalty shoot-out losses.

Tryst have over the years been lucky enough to have a significant number of players picked to represent their country and this culminated in six players being selected for the GB squad that trained towards the 2012 London Olympic Games as part of the GB World Class Handball Programme.

To mark the occasion of their 40th anniversary, the club recently held a day of matches for all age groups as well as a celebratory ceilidh and disco.

Many players from the club, past and present, came from across the UK and abroad to be there.

The effort made by former members to travel from Manchester, Cornwall, Jersey and even Germany was hugely appreciated and really helped contribute to a wonderful evening.

Chairman Stuart Cullen said a few words about the background and history of the club and in a moving and amusing speech paid tribute to some key individuals who have made a significant contribution to the club over the years, including Stevie Welsh, Bill Baillie and the Neilson family.

It was also noted during the course of the evening that members past and present have held or currently hold some of the main positions in British handball including Chairman of the British Handball Association and Scottish Handball Association and coach of the Scotland and Great Britain’s men’s and women’s national teams.

As a club, Tryst ’77 continue to pursue its own grass roots development and have established crucial relationships with North Lanarkshire Leisure, North Lanarkshire Council, Clubsportnl and sportscotland.

Although handball is not a hugely well know sport in the UK, the club are proud to have survived and occasionally thrived through 40 years as an amateur sports club.

The years have seen success and failure, opportunities for travel to places at home and abroad and places that wouldn’t routinely have been visited were it not for the sport. And importantly many friends have been made along the way, many of whom still remain friends to this day.

The club would just like to thank everyone who attended on the night and in particular everyone who has contributed to the club over the years and kept it going through a more than eventful 40 years.