Men's Challenge Cup features all-British battle
Derbies between English and Scottish football teams often provide a lot of drama. Probably the same will be the case at an English-Scottish handball clash, in Round 2 of the Men’s Challenge Cup 2018/19 this weekend.
In a double-header, London GD HC and Livingston Handball Club meet for two matches in Gillingham, Kent. The first leg will be played on Saturday at 15:30 hrs local time and will be streamed live on ehfTV.com; the second leg is on Sunday. In the UK, the whole event will also be streamed live by BBC Sport.
While the team from London has some tradition in Europe - they played in the EHF Cup Qualification a few times - European Cup handball is a completely new experience to their Scottish adversaries.
"Livingston will surely make things difficult for us," London GD head coach Miguel Puig says. "There is no doubt they are one of the best British handball teams at the moment. They have quality young players and play a fast game."
The double-header promises to become a feast of handball as there will be additional entertainment, thanks to the involvement of local community sport clubs and support from the Medway Council. London GD have prepared a junior handball festival and disabled sport activities as hosts for the weekend.
One day before we head Kent County to face Livingston HC for the 2nd round of the @ehf_live #ChallengeCup! 1️⃣ Saturday: 5:30pm 2️⃣ Sunday: 3:00pm If you haven’t got your ticket yet, you can use the link in our bio. See you all there! - - “For the Queen, Country and Great Dane!”
London GD and Livingston are not the only British teams to take the court this weekend. London-based Olympia HC are travelling to Italy for two matches against Pallamano Pressano on Saturday and Sunday evening.
Challenge Cup action starts on Friday, when HB Dudelange from Luxembourg are hosting Imedi Telavi from Georgia for the first leg of their double-header, with the second leg being played the next day.
Just like the British derby, this is a meeting between a team with plenty of European experience (Dudelange) and a debutant (Telavi).
While Kauno Azuolas-KTU Kaunas clinched their Round 3 berth last week, another team from Kaunas can follow this weekend. Granitas-Karys are meeting VHC Sviesa Vilnius in a Lithuanian derby.
The two teams meet in Kaunas on Saturday, and in Vilnius the next day.
It is not all about double-headers this weekend, though. In Sparebanken Sör Amfi in Arendal in Southern Norway, OIF Arendal are hosting Selka Eskisehir Hentbol SK for the second leg of their tie.
Arendal have to make up a 34:28 deficit from the first leg against the European Cup debutants from Turkey. The match will be streamed live on ehfTV.com on Friday at 19:00 hrs.