16 teams get first taste of main round
The European Beach Tour (ebt) Finals 2022 in Isola delle Femmine went into the next phase Friday, as the preliminary round closed while the best eight teams in both the women's and the men's competition returned to the courts one more time for their main round openers.
The ebt Finals 2022 are steadily approaching their business end, as the main round in both the women's event and the men's event opened Friday, setting the stage for the all important matches on Saturday.
- in the women's competition, defending champions GEA A.M. Team Almeria from Spain and Portuguese side GRD Leça - Love Tiles were the only two teams to advance from the preliminary round unbeaten; however, Team Almeria then suffered a heavy defeat in their main round opener, going down 22:15, 24:12 against Westside Amsterdam
- in the same group II, Blue Team from Italy joined Westside as a winning team by narrowly defeating TRIANA XÀBIA BMP SEVILLA after a shoot-out: 16:14, 8:16, 10:4
- in women's group I, Leça and Team Blue Bee - The Danish Beachhandball Dream both started with close wins, needing a shoot-out to get past CAIPIranhas TSV Bartenbach e.V. from Germany and Hungarian side TT Sport Multichem Szentendrei NKE, respectively
- in the men's competition, titleholders HEI Beach Handball underlined their ambitions by keeping a clean sheet: the Danish team is yet to drop a set in the tournament and opened their main round account with a 2:0 win against CBMP Ciudad de Malaga from Spain
- another Spanish side, MOVEX HANDBOL PLATJA, did win their opener in the same main round group I, edging HIR-SAT BHC of Hungary 2:0 after winning the second set by a single point, 25:24
- Team Tchatcheur took an early lead in group II after the French side earned a clear 2:0 win over Camelot Handball Tilburg from Netherlands; GRD Leça - Spar also won their first game in the main round 2:0, but only did so in two very close sets against fellow Portuguese side LX50 Handball: 18:16, 19:18
Are HEI Handball unstoppable?
They won the men's title in 2021, and they seem serious contenders to keep that title for another year. Sure, the main round of the ebt Finals 2022 in Sicily has only just begun, but HEI Handball already look the team to beat once again.
Their flawless start into this year's ebt Finals – not dropping a set on the first two days – underlines the strong position of Danish beach handball. Don't forget that their men's national team has brought the last two Beach Handball EURO trophies (2019, 2021) to Denmark, too. And with Kristoffer Henriksen, HEI have the current top scorer of the ebt Finals (61 points) in their ranks as well.
photos © 2022 Uros Hocevar | kolektiff