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Buccaneers battle through to final
BROMFORD School’s Buccaneers were runners-up in the national handball finals at the weekend.
The Wickford school came within a hair’s breath of carrying off the national crown at a high pressure final at the Sporthouse national squad training centre in Barking on Saturday.
Bromford’s under-15s had defeated a gaggle of team schools to claim the South of England crown and earn their spot at the sport’s teen finals, which were watched by members of the full British adult squad.
Sports teacher Chris Baker – himself a keen handball player at Brentwood Handball Club – was full of praise for the way his young team coped with the pressure.
And he was proud of how they battled into second place, only losing out 5-2 to a physical All Saints Catholic School from Dagenham.
Baker said: “In my view, the lads were the better pure handball players – even in the final.
“But the team they were up against were much more physical in the opening few minutes and hit us hard.
“We did manage to claw two back, but it was not enough,” he added.
Earlier, in the group stage of the competition, Bromfords had beaten Wirrall Grammar School 5-1. They then drew with All Saints (the eventual winners) 2-2, and then faltered against Midlands-based Cardinal Griffin High School 5-3.
But they had enough points to make the semi-final, where they beat the northern team from Tarpoley High School 4-2 in a dramatic semi-final.
Baker said: “The boys had asked if they could go to McDonalds if they did well and I rashly said that I’d buy them all a meal at Nandos if they won the final. So, at that stage, I was sweating it a bit!
“They’d played the group stages and the semi so well, but froze a bit at the opening of the final itself and they got hit.
“The eventual winners were stronger and picked up some sin-bins, but they won it.”
Scorers in the final for Bromfords were right winger Josh Da Silva – who flew out the next day for GB under-16 training – and Harry Girling, who picked up the player of the tournament award.
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