On the weekend of 9th and 10th June 2018, Bower Park Academy competed in the national handball finals at Worcester University Arena. Bower Park was the only school in the country to have three teams qualify for the finals.
The Under 15 boys fought hard in their six matches, winning two, drawing two and losing two. They played with a great deal of passion and conviction throughout the tournament. All their games were very close, and eventually they finished fourth overall in England. The top four teams in this competition were very good, and on any given day any one of them could have been crowned champions.
A depleted Under 15 girls’ team battled hard in the group stage. They showed true resilience and determination in every match. However, with three key players missing, two of whom were competing at the Essex county athletics championships, they struggled in the group stage. However, they eventually beat Rushcliffe School to achieve seventh place.
The Under 13 girls were outstanding throughout their tournament. They played with great skill and conviction, playing the best handball in the competition. At the end of the group stage, they were first in their section, with a record of five wins and a draw to reach the final against Farlingaye High School.
The final was an epic encounter, with Bower Park taking the lead and dominating play. However, Farlingaye turned the game on its head by scoring two goals in the last four minutes to take the lead. With a minute to go, Bower equalised to take the match into extra time. The game was all square after extra time, and the match was decided on penalties, with Bower losing narrowly 4-3. The emotions after the game were very mixed, with Farlingaye crying tears of joy and Bower tears of disappointment. Sport can be very cruel at times; you do not always get what you deserve.
Mr Baker, Head of PE said, “As a teacher I could not be any more proud of all the students that have come on this long journey. For Bower Park to achieve second, fourth and seventh from over 1300 schools who entered the national handball competition is some achievement. They all played with a lot of effort, heart and skill to get as far as they did and earned a lot of credit on the way. Now Bower Park is recognised as being one of strongest handball schools in the entire country”.
Thank you to Mr Baker, who has been a phenomenal handball coach; getting three teams through to national finals is a huge achievement. Thank you also to the staff and parents who travelled all the way to Worcester to support the students – we certainly made a lot of noise! Finally, congratulations to all the handball players themselves. You will remember this achievement for the rest of your lives. I am so proud of you all.