VHC Šviesa Vilnius
HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
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News / BHL Newsletter: Dozen wins from dozen games for BHL clubs
Baltic Handball League
BHL Newsletter: Dozen wins from dozen games for BHL clubs
To use poker terms, a "full house" was achieved last week by Baltic Handball League clubs. Nine teams were in action in different domestic and international competitions, playing 12 games and winning them all! The busiest side was Latvian champion ZRHK Tenax Dobele, who claimed three domestic league victories inside five days.
Tenax started on Wednesday with a 35:29 win over HK Ogre (Emils Kurzemnieks 8 goals), followed this up two days later defeating HK Vainode 36:22 (Antons Šuleiko and Andis Ermanis 6) and finished the week by beating Jurmalas Sports 31:21 (Nikita Pančenko and Nils Mikelsons 7).
Strong opponents for BHL teams in Europe
Latvian title-defender's domestic rivals Celtnieks Riga also claimed a league win, beating SK Latgols Ludza 38:31 (Aliaksei Haisa 11). Both Latvian BHL teams have only witnessed victories in the league so far, Celtnieks leading with ten points and Tenax two behind with one game in hand.
Alongside three other BHL teams, Tenax became aware of their next European opposition, as in the EHF Challenge Cup they were drawn against AHC Potaissa Turda of Romania. In the same competition, Granitas-Karys Vilnius will play Beykoz BLD SK from Turkey in the next round.
In EHF Cup, the next opponents for BHL sides are much tougher. SKA Minsk will meet 2013 EHF Cup winner and two-time German champion Rhein-Neckar Löwen, while ZTR Zaporozhye was drawn against strong Hungarian club Grundfos Tatabanya KC.
Meanwhile, in the EHF Champions League, Cocks Riihimäki took their second win of the season by defeating Sporting Clube de Portugal at home 25:23 (Teemu Tamminen 6). Cocks also qualified to Finnish Cup semi-finals last week after eliminating HK Pötsi by 39:22 (Bojan Zupanjac 9).
New week brings national team action for 40 BHL players
Domestic wins were also on the cards for SKA and ZTR in the Belarussian and Ukrainian championships. SKA beat HC Gomel at home 38:34 (Mikalai Aliokhin 11) and ZTR took a comfortable win of 36:19 (Dmytro Artemenko 9) over their reserve team ZTR-Burevestnik.
In Lithuania, champions Dragunas Klaipeda recorded the biggest win of the week by a BHL club – 47:25 (Benas Butkus and Deividas Virbauskas 7) over SM Dubysa Šiauliai. VHC Šviesa Vilnius had no problems overcoming HC Vilnius in the local derby by 36:22 (Karolis Antanavičius 9).
HC Tallinn and HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper secured their places in the quarter-finals of the Estonian Cup, beating SK Tapa 37:28 (Robin Oberg 12) and HC Tallinn 2 40:23 (Uvis Strazdinš 8) respectively. Serviti Põlva and Viljandi HC had a bye in the opening round, but on Sunday were drawn against each other in the quarter-final.
Next week will bring loads of international matches and an estimated 40 BHL players will be involved for seven different national teams. The week will be very important for Estonia and Finland, who start their 2021 World Championship qualification. Estonia will play in a round-robin tournament in Turkey, against the hosts and Belgium.
Finland has an away match against Israel before hosting Cyprus. Other BHL countries have training camps and friendly matches with Belarus and Lithuania playing against each other twice. Latvia will visit Luxembourg for two friendlies and Ukraine hosts Tunisia, also twice.
On photo: ZRHK Tenax Dobele was the busiest team of the week – taking three wins inside five days. (Photo: Helin Potter/BHL).