On Thursday 9th February, the Accrington Academy year 9 & 10 handball team travelled to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School to participate in a handball fixture. It was the first ever competitive handball game for the Accrington Academy pupils, so they were slightly apprehensive.
The game had a very physical start to it with the full rules being applied and it was clear that the 1st goal would be crucial in setting the tempo to the game, it was Accrington Academy that opened the scoring with flowing movement between Brandon Leech, Piotr Michalski and Bailey Chamberlain resulting in Bailey Thompson Western executing an excellent jump shot putting the ball past the Clitheroe goalkeeper. Possession quickly changed hands with Accrington Academy utilising it more and making it count by going 4 – 0 up over CRGS, goals from Piotr Michalski, Bailey Chamberlain and a 2nd from Thompson Western. However CRGS quickly struck back with 2 goals before Callum Taylor produced an excellent save setting up a fast break for Accrington to grab another goal through Thompson Western’s 3rd of the night. After the first 15 minutes the score was 9 – 4 to Accrington putting them in a commanding position.
The second 15 minutes began in a similar pattern with both teams increasing the intensity and the physicality with end to end attacks, it was Accrington and Brandon Leech who struck first with an excellent shot from the hip into the bottom corner. CRGS hit back with 2 fast goals before Callum Taylor produced a string of top drawer saves to frustrate CRGS, and keep Accrington with their noses in front at 11 – 7. CRGS struggled to cope with the speed of the Accrington breaks and the movement of the players who were constantly interchanging positions. The score quickly progressed to 15 – 11 at the end of the second period.
The third and final 15 minutes commenced with Thompson Western producing an inspirational piece of skill which resulted in a jump shot into the bottom corner. Accrington’s defence remained strong and Brandon Leech was the linchpin in getting vital blocks in preventing CRGS getting shots off at Callum Taylor in goal. This allowed flowing attacks with Michalski and Chamberlain constantly interchanging positions before finding Hulme on the Wing who was able to cut in and score in the corner. Bethany Kissock, Ali Hassan and Kai Holmes also made telling contributions both in attack and defence, it was an all-round excellent team performance resulting in Accrington Academy winning 21 – 16 against a well organised CRGS team.
Coach Mr Weir commented:
A brilliant performance in a technically demanding sport. The team did us really proud and even made me smile (no mean feat!)