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17.06.2015, 12:37
National champions of Europe - Women Part 4: North-West
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FEATURE: Review of the women's national leagues in Europe. The fourth part of the series takes a closer look at the North West: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland and England.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News
»
 

National champions of Europe - Women Part 4: North-West

The domestic leagues have come to an end and we now approach the draws of the 2015/16 European season, starting with the Women's EHF Champions League draw on 26 June.

In six parts, the spotlight is shone on each of the national champions and their path to glory. The third part consists of teams from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland and England.

Denmark – FC Midtjylland

The 2014/2015 season was a very special one for sport fans in central Jutland.

Not only did the football team of FC Midtjylland win their first Danish championship, but also the club's handball women won three titles, the Danish cup, the Cup Winners' Cup and the Danish championship.

Having defeated EHF Cup winners Team Tvis Holstebro clearly in the semi-finals, FC Midtjylland awaited a nail-biting thriller against Team Esbjerg in the two-legged final.

Even though Midtjylland lead with five goals ten minutes before the final whistle, they only managed to land a 23:22 win in the first leg.

The final debutants from Esbjerg, though, did not manage to benefit from the narrow difference in the second leg in front of more than 3,000 spectators in the Blue Water Dokken.

The team of head coach Helle Thomsen turned out to be more experienced at the end of the match, that gave them a 22:22 draw and the championship through a one goal win on aggregate.

Norway – Larvik

Nothing changed in Norway. Once again, Larvik won every national title on offer.

After having won the Norwegian Cup already, Larvik took their 11th Norwegian championship in a row, three match days before the end of the league with a 35:21 win against Skrim Kongsberg in the Arena Larvik.

And even though the championship was already secured, Larvik did not stagger in their last three matches finishing without losing one single point in their 22 league matches. And as usual, Larvik kept on winning, coming out on top of the play-offs as well.

Resigning head coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad hands a with a lot of medals decorated team to his successor current assistant coach Tor Odvar Moen.

Sweden – IK Sävehof

The season turned out well for Sävehof. Not only did the team reach the main round in the Women´s EHF Champions League for the second year in a row – the women from the Gothenburg-based club also won the Swedish championship for the seventh time in a row and for the 11th time in history.

Almost 7,000 spectators in the Scandinavium in Gothenburg saw Sävehof heading to decide the final against Skuru HK already in the first half, leading 19:14 at half-time.

Even though Skuru managed to reduce the difference to two goals at 20:18 in the second half, no one really had a doubt about the result. Sävehof was in control of the match at any time and in the end celebrated a 33:30 win and another Swedish championship.

Left back Jenny Alm said a fine goodbye to Sävehof before joining Danish runners-up Team Esbjerg in the next season. With nine goals, she shared the status as top scorer of the match with Emma Hawia Svensson from Skuru.

Iceland – Grótta

For the first time in history, Grótta celebrated an Icelandic championship.

In the final series, played in the best-of-five modus, Grótta had to face UMF Stjarnan who had won the championship seven times before.

After the first two legs had ended in wins for either team, Grótta got ahead in the third leg at home. A narrow 24:23 win away in the fourth match was enough to make the 2014/2015 season perfect and lift the trophy for the first time.

Luxemburg - HB Dudelange

The players of HB Dudelange gave a perfect farewell to their coach Sascha Burg, who will leave the club after the season with seven titles with HBD on his CV.

After winning the national cup thanks to a 28:17 victory against Museldall, Dudelange also took the national championship.

But HBD had a tough nut to crack in the final match of the league. While a draw would have been enough for their oppontents Standart Luxemburg to lift the trophy for the first time, the team of Sascha Burg needed to win in the very last match of the season.

At the score of 22:22 six minutes before the end, Standard had one hand at the trophy, but the more experienced team from Dudelange managed to gain the upper hand in the last minutes before the final whistle. 

By winning 25:23 HBD celebrated their fourth straight championship and their ninth in the history of the club.

Netherlands - SERCODAK Dalfsen

SERCODAK Dalfsen have won the fifth title in their club’s history in style, beating VOC Amsterdam in the play-off finals twice. After paving the way with a 33:26 victory on home ground, they also dominated in Amsterdam winning clearly 35:25. With five national titles, they are now the fifth most successful club in the history of Dutch women's handball.

The team of head coach Peter Portengen were never troubled in the finals as they cruised to gold - at one stage they lead by a 13-goal difference (33:20) in the second encounter.

Dalfsen have crowned their incredible season with the title after winning all 18 matches in the regular season prior to the play-offs, including two victories against eventual runners-ups VOC.

In the upcoming season the team will look much different as many players such as Kelly Dulfer, Inger Smits (both VfL Oldenburg), Esther Shovel (Nantes Loire Atlantique Handball) and Myrthe Schoenaker (Füchse Berlin) will leave the club.

If the team will be just as successful as they have been depends on talents like Lisa Oosterwijk (Kwiek Raalte), Larissa Nusser (Handball Venlo) and the Norwegian Astrid Mjøen Holstad (Byasen Trondheim) who join the squad.

Faroe Islands – Neistin

Neistin managed to get their revenge against Kyndil from the final match last season.

Back, then, Kyndil secured the title through a 19:14 win, but this year, it was Neistin´s turn to take the trophy. With a 24:19 win on home ground they secured their 40th national championship in the club's history, with the latest triumphs back in 2006 and 2013.

Belgium – Initia Hasselt

While Inita Hasselt's men team didn't manage to win the national title, the women side celebrated a perfect season, taking the national championship and the national cup.

Beating Femina Vise in the final, they crowned themselves national champions for the first time since 1996. Apart from one game in the final, Initia remained unbeaten in the 2014/2015 competition.

Ireland – Dublin International HC

The Irish women’s league saw three teams take turns at the top during the season, with Astra, Northern Ireland and Dublin International all in contention from the very beginning.

However, it was Dublin international who found top form in their final three matches to create a convincing five-point gap over their nearest rivals and claim their first national title.

Scotland – Tryst 77

Tryst 77 were once again unbeatable this season as they powered to the league title without dropping a single
point and winning every match by an average of 17 goals.

The side led by former Great Britain captain Lynn McCafferty took on nearest rivals Glasgow in the cup final weeks later, winning 29:24 and completing the double.

England – London GD

London GD had all but secured the league title ahead of their final match of the season, but made no mistake in their 22:20 win over NEM Hawks to finish four points ahead of nearest rivals Olympia.

The London club competed in the cup final against surprise finalists Coventry and secured their first double since 2010.


TEXT: EHF, Peter Bruun, Björn Pazen, Kevin Domas / me / ts
 
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