Loughborough’s handball season came to a disappointing end, losing to Bath HC 36-26 in the National Play-Off quarter final. Whilst the Swans always had the difficult task of beating the South-West regional winners, the manner in which the team lost will not have pleased Captain Dan Odlin.
The match began tightly, with neither side finding fluidity in attack and goals hard to come by. The Loughborough 'Swans', as they are affectionately known, struggled to gel in attack without the influential playmaker Apostolou and even when they found space. Bath keeper Marc Schweissinger was on top form, making numerous saves to stave off pressure. Schweissinger was also vital in setting up a number of counter attacks for Bath with Hamelin scoring eight and Gellert ten.
However, Loughborough were unable to take advantage of Bath’s indiscipline in defence and despite only having three outfield players at one point, Loughborough were only able to score one goal in the two minute powerplay.
In attack, Loughborough were reliant on right backs Reboah (15) and Odlin (5) for goals. Instead, Bath exploited Loughborough naïve defence of the line and second line player, with Bath left back Hamelin making numerous assists to his wing and pivot player. The line shots as well as the fastbreaks left Loughborough’s goalkeeper Skelding exposed far too often.
Odlin, along with Woodhouse-Darry and Skelding were playing in their last competitive match for Loughborough, was disappointed in the overall performance: “While both us and Bath started slowly, they steadily managed to find their rhythm while we never really did. Our attack was often static and a lack of communication in defence cost us dearly. It was clear that we had not trained together for nearly a month, and it's a shame to end such a successful season on this disappointing note."
With the confidence gained from this season, Loughborough will be looking to go one stage better next year.