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News / Title-holder Cocks starts the new season with a win

Baltic Handball legue

2017.09.16 16:54

Title-holder Cocks starts the new season with a win

The new, 2017/18 Baltic Handball League season kicked off with the title-holder Cocks Riihimäki travelling to Estonia and taking a hard-fought 29-20 (13-11) win over another former BHL champion HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper.

The one match was brought forward from the original first round of games, which will be played in two weeks time. Cocks and Kehra play in Group A of the regular season, alongside Viljandi HC, Dragunas Klaipeda, VHC Šviesa Vilnius and ZRHK Tenax Dobele.

The hosts started the game very well and led by 4-1 and 6-3. Cocks equalized, but Kehra slipped away again to a two-goal advantage. However, the end of the first half belonged to the Finnish champions and they went to the break with a 13-11 lead.

Kehra was far from surrendering and started the second half well again, fighting back to a draw on several occasions. With twelve minutes remaining, Cocks had only a 20-18 lead. But the champions of last two BHL seasons made a 9-2 finish to record their 27th successive win in the Baltic league!

Cocks and BHL veteran Teemu Tamminen was in particularly good form in the final dozen minutes, scoring six goals! Tamminen was Cocks' best with 8 goals, while Nico Rönnberg added 6, but the best scorer of the match was Kehra's Kaspar Lees with 9 goals.

"It was definitely not an easy game, especially in the first half," admitted the head coach of Cocks Gintaras Savukynas. "We started our journey at 5:30 in the morning and I believe it showed at the start of the match. Kehra started well and only in the second half we managed to take complete control into our hands."

Savukynas was especially happy about the fighting spirit of his team. "We proved that we can come back and change our game, make corrections exactly at the right time," said Savukynas. "It was not ideal and there is many areas where we should and can improve, but we got the win and that is the most important fact."

Kehra's Kaupo Liiva, making his BHL debut as a head coach was happy with his team performance. "We played really well until about 45th minute, but then had too many turnovers, which were probably caused by tiredness. We also lost our playmaker Uku-Tanel Laast for the final minutes due to an ankle injury. Cocks is a very strong team and especially from the bench they can bring on top-class players, while we mostly have youngsters there," commented Liiva.