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Date: 8/3/2017
 

The first ever indoor handball event organised by the Cook Islands Handball Association is off to a successful start after three days of competition. The IHF Trophy – Oceania, contested between the Under 21 men’s national teams from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands, began on July 31 and runs through to August 4.

 

The IHF Trophy opened with clear victories for Australia, Tahiti and New Caledonia on day one. Tahiti beat New Zealand 34:18 after a close first half (14:11). The victors were much stronger in the second period while New Zealand had trouble beating Tahiti’s defence.

 

Australia defeated Cook Islands 38:9, after keeping the hosts to just one goal in the opening 30 minutes. Australia’s greater experience was clearly the most decisive factor in the encounter, with Cook Islands trailing 1:22 at half-time before picking up their game in the second. New Caledonia also recorded a decisive win on day one, with a final score of 46:18 in their favour after 23:8 at half-time.

 

New Caledonia, Australia and Tahiti continued their dominance on day two, as Australia beat their traditional rivals New Zealand 28:21 (13:9), Tahiti defeated Papua New Guinea 51:17 (28:10) thanks to a fast-paced attacking game, and New Caledonia claimed a 46:14 victory against the hosts. Despite the clear consecutive losses, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Cook Islands’ performances vastly improved on day two of the IHF Trophy.

 

On the third day of competition, Tahiti and New Caledonia continued their undefeated runs, with New Caledonia facing their first significant challenge in the form of Australia. Tahiti beat Cook Islands 46:8 (16:4), while Australia were forced to settle for their first loss after a close game versus New Caledonia, which ended 32:25 (15:14) in favour of New Caledonia. The outcome was decided in the second period thanks largely to an outstanding performance from New Caledonia goalkeeper Mickael Safola.

 

New Zealand claimed their second win when they defeated Papua New Guinea 45:27 (20:15), though the top scorer of the match was PNG’s Andy Onguglo. 

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