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News / BHL Newsletter: Šviesa celebrates cup win, Cocks changed coach

Baltic Handball League

2020.03.02 11:24

BHL Newsletter: Šviesa celebrates cup win, Cocks changed coach

Last week brought good news for VHC Šviesa Vilnius ahead of their Baltic Handball League quarter-final tie against ZRHK Tenax Dobele. This season's BHL Group B winner claimed the Lithuanian Cup seven years after they last triumphed in the competition. Another of the BHL quarter-finalists, BHL title-holder Cocks changed coach midway through the last week.

As expected the Lithuanian Cup final became a tight affair between two teams, currently on top of the league and also both in BHL quarter-finals. Day before, in the semi-finals VHC Šviesa Vilnius had defeated RK Kauno Ažuolas-KTU 38:28 (Laurynas Palevičius 8 goals) and Dragunas Klaipeda was 34:30 better over HC Vilnius (Benas Butkus 6).

In the final, Šviesa emerged as 31:29 winners over Dragunas and won the trophy for the first time since 2013. Goalkeeper Edmundas Peleda saved 46 per cent of the shots, while Karolis Antanavičius scored ten goals for the winners, Gytis Šmantauskas recorded seven for Dragunas.

BHL title-holder Cocks Riihimäki started the week with a 30:23 defeat against Dicken Helsinki (Nico Rönnberg 7) and this turned out to be the last match in charge for Gintaras Savukynas. The Lithuanian coach, who had guided the Finnish side to three BHL titles and through two EHF Champions League campaigns, joined HC Motor Zaporozhye.

The new head coach is an old acquaintance in BHL, as Kaj Kekki was Cocks' boss in 2012-16 and coached them to club's first BHL win in 2016. He had rejoined the club already in January, but now takes over as the new head coach. In his first game in charge, Cocks beat Siuntio IF 37:18 (Rönnberg 10).

"Cocks would like to give Savukynas a chance to advance and develop in his career. I have one hundred per cent confidence in Kaj Kekki's abilities to help us to win the Finnish championship and the Baltic League," commented president Jari Viita to club's website.

Another former BHL champion and already a qualifier for this season's Final Four, SKA Minsk also had to play twice in three days and claimed to victories in the Belarus league. SKA defeated Kronon Grodno at home 37:30 (Mikalai Aliokhin 8) and HC Gomel away 39:31 (Aliokhin 9).

In Latvian league, BHL quarter-finalist ZRHK Tenax Dobele took a comfortable 40:26 win over HK Ogre (Maris Veršakovs 8), while Celtnieks Riga suffered a surprise 39:38 defeat in the hands of SK Latgols Ludza, despite Aliaksandr Patcykailik scoring a remarkable 17 goals.

On photo: VHC Šviesa Vilnius celebrating their Lithuanian Cup win. (Photo: VHC Šviesa).