Metz crowned champions as Nice shock Brest
A Metz Handball triumph in the French women’s league has almost become routine. This year, the team from Lorraine lifted the trophy for the fourth time in a row, the sixth in the last seven seasons and the 23rd time overall.
Emmanuel Mayonnade’s women ended a historic season in the best way possible, after also reaching the DELO Women’s EHF FINAL4 for the first time and winning the final of the French cup for the ninth time in history.
But what was not expected was for Grace Zaadi and co to have to beat Nice in the final of the play-offs. The club from the Côte d’Azur continued their ascent up the ranks of French handball this season, with a team of young and talented French players backed up by experienced stalwarts such as EHF EURO 2018 best right winger Carmen Martin.
After losing in the semi-finals twice in the last two years, Nice finally reached the final this year, beating Brest in the semi-final.
Brest ranked third, but are still hoping for an EHF Champions League ticket for next season, since they reached the main group of the competition for the first time this year. Otherwise, they will join Nantes and perhaps Besançon in the Women’s EHF Cup next season.
Brest had few reasons to be happy this year. Goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux was injured and both Darleux and Isabelle Gullden were off on maternity leave. However summer signing Ana Gros played at her best level, ending the year as the league’s top scorer with 187 goals, ahead of another left hander, Fleury Loiret HB’s Alexandra Lacrabère.Author: Kevin Domas/jh