Sunday’s is Finals day …
Coming into Finals day, the Vikings men started off with the semi-final game versus Auckland. Both teams knowing each other well from previous years and expected a close match.
But today, the Vikings were on fire – probably the best game they played all season. The team started off very concentrated and the defence and Jimmy in goal built a concrete wall. The team built a quick lead and after 20 minutes was up with 13:3. Auckland had no answer for the Vikings defence and on the other side had also no answer for the Vikings attack.
In the end, the scoreboard showed a 42:24 Vikings win.
As the Northern Aguilas won their semifinal against the Otago team, the final was again between the Vikings and the Aguilas. The fifth time this season that both teams square up against each other.
For now, let’s talk about the Vikings women bronze match versus the Hutt Valley Baby Hunters. The game was close through all game and very questionable referee decisions had probably more impact on the outcome of that game as they should. But on the other side, that’s Handball. After all Referees are also just humans who are not perfect.
A tough 31:32 loss for the Vikings women team who would have had deserved the Bronze medal after peaking at the right time of the year at the Nationals.
Now let’s go straight to the Final – and what a final it was.
Both teams know each other exceptionally well and given the Vikings win in the Wellington League final two weeks ago, the Aguilas were keen on revenge.
The game was at all-times close, no team could really pull away and each centimetre on the court was hard fought for. At halftime the scoreboard showd a one goal lead (11:12) for the Aguilas, same as in the final two weeks ago.
The second half started like the first one finished with both teams battling each other possession by possession. The crowd was sitting on the edge of their seats and the atmosphere was loaded. Great goalkeeper saves, great individual plays were the flavour of the second half.
With 10 minutes to go the Vikings put themselves in the driver seat building a small 3 goal lead (23:20). At this stage it felt the Vikings started controlling the game but – you guessed it – the Aguilas came back and after a couple of 2 minutes suspensions the Aguilas equalised first with 60 seconds to go, and a concentration laps of the Vikings let to a turnover, a fastbreak and suddenly teh Aguilas were 23:24 up with barely 20 seconds to play. The crowd was on their feet and the Vikings had one last attack to strike back.
And boy, a miracle shot from Nico over Yoshi marked the 24:24 equalizer with 3 seconds to play. The crowd gone wild – what a game.
Now two times 5 minutes extra time and if still a draw, a penalty shootout was looming over both teams.
At this stage, you could see that both teams had played their 4th game over the last 48 hours and both teams were ready to give it all to make one more big push for the win.
The first half of overtime was almost like the calm before the storm and after 5 minutes it was 26:26.
Now, 5 minutes to go, both teams knew it was now the time to go big or go home. With 3 minutes left on the clock, Banksy scored with one of his trademark shots and gave the Aguilas the 26:27 lead.
The following attack led to another exceptional save by Yoshi but also to a penalty for the Vikings and with 1:45 mins to play the game was on the line.
And then calm and collected, Daniel made the penalty – 27:27.
Now, the Aguilas back in attack but with 60 seconds to go they turn the ball over and Nico’s quick play ahead through the hands of two Aguilas players led to a fastbreak goal by Bickie, putting the Vikings 28:27 up.
Now 40 seconds to go and a last time out for the Aguilas to talk it through.
But it was too late, the Vikings defended well and the Aguilas were unable to create one more last chance.
The Vikings are the 2019 New Zealand Club Champion!
What a great game to watch and worthy of a final. Both teams have deserved the win, but only one team could win. On this day and two weeks ago, we were the lucky ones. But over the last two years often enough the Aguilas were the lucky ones. Still, New Zealand Handball wins anyway, a great game to promote this awesome sport.
Also newsworthy – the Otago women team (Austago Shags) won the women final against Auckland with 27:23.
As well a very close game and a well-deserved winner.
Congratulations to Otago Handball.
Men – stats:
Semifinal – Northern Aguilas HC vs Otago Shags HC 29:26
AGU: Yoshi W; James P (7), Nick S (6), Tim B (6), Tim R (4), James C (3), Max B (2), Cameron R (1), William S, Zac J, Alex J, Tyler W, Jono R, Pavlo P
OTA: Alex B; Magnus H (5), Aston L (5), Eoin M (4), Bernhard A (3), Ludovic G (2), Riley F (2), Akashdeep S B (2), Gus H (2), Mitchell L, Joe M, Jackson M
Semifinal – Vikings HC vs Auckland HC 42:24
VIK: James N, James W, Laurin S; Daniel T (9), Paul I (9), Miguel A (7), Alex B (4), Liam M (4), Nico P (4), Bjoern B (2), Nino D (1)< Jay M (1), Harry I (1), Sam C
AKL: Alex W, Alfonso M; Janneg S (8), Nikola I (6), Tim S (2), Roland v.d.T (2), Matias L (1), Gaston F (1), Toby S (1), Keller H (1), Thomas S (1), Ahmed M (1), Nayu K, Qassim H, Henri P. Pepe R
Place 7-9 – Spartanz HC vs Victoria University HC 27:23
SPA: Rhys M; Nick P (7), Scott B (6), Aidan C (4), Willy M (3), Te Hoera S (3), Kishore B (2), Frank G (1), Jordan G (1), Ezra S, Hayden O
VUW: Matt C (4); Felipe R (8) Freddy G (3), Sean F (3), Syloun P (2), Luke N (2), Santiago L (1), Liam A, Patrick W, Maxim C, Chris R, Fabio S
Place 5/6 – Canterbury Quakes HC vs Fruitflies HC 27:20
CAN: Justin C; Phil E (6), Peter E (6), Petr S (4), Ondreij D (4), Drew M (3), Willy S (2), Axel M (1), Nicolas G (1), James W, Hayden J, Sergiu P, Paul P, Julien P
FF: Stefanos H; Luke I (8), Michael F (2), James B (2), Josh B (2) Brendon C (2), Edmund C (1), Jack G (1), Jared P (1), Raphael C, Lachy H, Adam B
Place 7-9 – Cook Islands vs Spartanz HC 18:21
CI: Ryan N (5), Jesse T (2), Logan A-W (2), Kavius A (2), Peteru P (2), Paul v.E (1), Peter J (1), Henry K (1), Willynn K (1), Dyrell A (1), Lucky N, Nathaniel P, Samuel P, Thomas T, Dominique K
SPA: Rhys M; Willy M (9), Scott B (4), Nick P (3), Aidan C (2), Frederic H (2), Te Hoera S (1), Ezra S, Hayden O, Frank G
Place 3/4 – Otago Shags HC vs Auckland HC 35:33
OTA: Alex B; Aston L (7), Riley F (6), Magnus H (5), Caedyn W (4), Bernhard A (3), Joe M (3), Gus H (2), Mitchell L (2), Eoin M (1), Jackson M (1), Adkashdeep S B (1), Ludovic G
AKL: Alex W, Alfonso M; Thomas S (10), Nikola I (5), Janneg S (3), Roland v.d.T (3), Pepe R (3), Gaston F (3), Matias L (2), Toby S (2), Qassim H (1), Tim S (1), Henri P, Keller H, Nayu K
Final – Vikings HC vs Northern Aguilas HC 28:27 (11:12, 24:24. 26:26)
VIK: James N, James W, Laurin S; Alex B (8), Paul I (5), Daniel T (5), Liam M (3), Nico P (2), Bjoern B (2), Miguel A (2), Harry I (1), Jay M, Nino D, Sam C
AGU: Yoshi W; Jono R (7), Zac J (5), Nick S (5), Tim B (5), Tim R (2), Max B (2), William S (1), James C, Tyler W, Alex J, Pavlo P
Women – stats