The S5/6 National Secondary School Handball Championships took place at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, with Cumbernauld Schools Abronhill High and Cumbernauld High representing the area, having qualified from the West of Scotland Regional event.
This was the last of the three secondary School events with the previous two - for S1/2 and S3/4 - showcasing the growth and expansion of handball across Scotland.
As with the previous Championships, the event was staged on two courts with a boys competition and a girls competition. The format was once again a round robin group stage followed by play-off matches.
Cumbernauld High had a team in the girls competition whilst Abronhill High had a team in the girls and boys tournament.
Abronhill boys were first on court and opened with an excellent win against Beath High from Fife.
Their girls’ team, who had gone on to the tournament as the lowest ranked of the finalists, then followed this up with a surprising but deserved win against Belmont Academy from Ayr.
Cumbernauld High girls were next to enter the action and they battled to a 4-4 draw with East Kilbride’s Duncanrig Secondary School. It was a game Cumbernauld had in their grasp to win, only to concede a last second goal but any disappointment they felt was soon put to one side as they went on to beat Belmont and Abronhill and secure a place in the final.
Abronhill’s girls team continued to battle hard with noticeable improvements made over the months since the regional qualifier was held. In defence they made some great blocks and tackles and worked hard, and in attack they kept the scoreboard ticking over with some strong shooting from the back court.
The Abronhill boys had a second win over Deans Community High School but were unlucky to be on the wrong end of two one-goal defeats – the first by 4-3 against Duncanrig and then another 4-3 loss to St Andrew’s and St Brides’s High School. The margin between making the final and playing off for third/fourth was very small indeed.
That left the two finals to take place. In the boys competition Belmont Academy had been by far the strongest team all day and all season with the school team essentially consisting of all the players who compete for Ayr Handball Club in the Scottish League. They retained their trophy from last year, this time beating St Andrew’s and St Bride’s in the final.
In the girls competition, Cumbernauld High School had made it to the final where East Kilbride’s Calderglen High School were the opposition. A Lanarkshire derby and Cumbernauld put up a brave performance but Calderglen just had too much for them on the day.
With the High School Championships now completed for school year 2013-2014, big thanks go to Our Lady’s High School, Cumbernauld High School and Abronhill High School for their efforts over the year.
The schools have worked hard at introducing handball into the curriculum, to different year groups and in running after school clubs and their appearance and performances at the finals was just reward for their efforts.