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Wednesday 7 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Handball, Sports


Cooks drop the ball as Kiwis step up
New Zealand (U18) perform a haka before they take on the Cook Islands. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS 22120623

Cook Islands lost their pace on the court during the second day of competition in the International Handball Federation Oceania Trophy Tournament on Rarotonga.

But it wasn’t without trying after they set a blistering pace on Monday, beating Tonga in two games, across two age groups. 

The Cooks went down to New Zealand 47-12 in the national Under-18 boys game on Tuesday.   

Monday was the opening day and it featured five matches in the youth and junior competitions.

At the youth (U18) event, Cook Islands enjoyed a good start, beating Tonga 21 -15.

New Zealand defeated Australia 29-10, notably conceding just two goals in the opening 30 minutes.

Tahiti proved too strong for New Caledonia, taking a comfortable 38-29 victory.

At the junior (U20) competition, Australia had the upper hand against New Caledonia in an entertaining match, 30-28, while Cook Islands defeated Tonga 31-25. 

Cook Islands manager Mahai Daniel said he was happy with Monday’s performances, as the team prepared themselves to face New Zealand.

“It was a learning curve, we were happy about what we learned in training.

“The New Zealand games will teach us, we are the underdogs and we won’t step down; we will play our hearts out.

“Our players our representing their country and I ask our country to support them.”   

Six youth and five junior teams are participating in the IHF Trophy Oceania,  held between 5 and 9 December.  

Australia, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Tonga are fighting for the title in the youth (U18) category, and the same nations except Tahiti play in the junior (U20) tournament.

The events are being held in a round-robin format at the National Arena on Rarotonga.

The winners of both competitions will qualify for the Intercontinental Phase of the IHF Trophy. Besides, the tournaments will serve as the qualification events for the 2023 IHF Men's Youth World Championship, which will take place in Croatia, and the 2023 IHF Men's Junior World Championship, to be held in Germany and Greece. 

7 December

  • 10:00 Australia vs Tonga
  • 14:00 New Zealand vs Tahiti
  • 16:00 Cook Islands vs New Zealand

8 December

  • 10:00 Tonga vs New Zealand 
  • 14:00 New Caledonia vs Australia
  • 16:00 Cook Islands vs Tahiti

9 December

  • 12:00 New Zealand vs New Caledonia
  • 14:00 Tahiti vs Tonga
  • 16:00 Australia vs Cook Islands

Junior (U20) competition

7 December

  • 12:00 New Zealand vs New Caledonia
  • 18:00 Australia vs Cook Islands

8 December

  • 12:00 New Zealand vs Australia
  • 18:00 New Caledonia vs Tonga

9 December

  • 12:00 Tonga vs New Zealand
  • 18:00 New Caledonia vs Cook Islands