Handball triumph for Marr College and Kelvinside Academy

Handball may not be the best known sport in Scotland, but it really is thriving in schools in the west.

Marr Colleges winning Senior 1-3 squad.
Marr Colleges winning Senior 1-3 squad.

Stevie Neilson is the chief operating officer of Scottish Handball and, since his appointment in 2008, the sport has flourished and established a strong base, particularly in in an around the Ayrshire area.

The Scottish Schools’ Cups are in progress, and Marr College have already won the girls’ Senior 1-3 trophy with Kelvinside Academy taking the 
Senior 4-6 title.

“I started a club in Troon where I live,” explained Neilson, who played as a youngster in Cumbernauld and came back to Scotland after a period working for European Handball.

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“At the same time as I started the club, the association began doing some work alongside Active Schools to introduce the sport in the primaries.”

Chris Kerr and Annica Johnson are the two coaches spreading the word in the schools.

“I work with a lot of the primaries in South Ayrshire,” said Kerr. “The growth is almost more than I can cope with – I’m here, there and everywhere. In south Ayrshire, everyone knows about handball.

“We run local tournaments, and I am very proud of the Marr College girls who won the Scottish Cup. I’ve been working with some of them since they were in Primary five.”

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The work in the schools is part of a wider project funded by the European Handball Federation and Sportscotland and it has expanded to include schools in West Lothian and North Lanarkshire.

“The result of the project is that most of the primary schools in Troon are now playing handball,” continued 
Neilson.

Marr College is a well-known sporty school – the senior girls are the current Under-18 Scottish Junior Volleyball League champions. On the back of the project, Marr College is being re-developed and a handball court and goals are being added to the facilities.

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“It is great,” concluded Neilson. “And it is something we are pushing for in all secondary schools.

“For the primary schools, we will be holding a major competition just before Easter.”