Defending men’s champions Kano Pillars and women’s champions Safety Babes endured contrasting fortunes on the opening day as they began their bid to retain their Prudent Energy Handball Premier League titles at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Saturday.
Kano Pillars found it hard going against former champions Niger United before ultimately prevailing by just one point, claiming a 20-19 victory in a match billed as the “battle of champions”.
In other matches in the men’s category, Anas Muhd inspired Rima Strikers to a 30-26 win over Plateau Vipers despite Promise Akpan’s efforts while Yahya Owolabi was in superb form for Lagos Seasiders as they trounced Kada Stars 34-24.
Safety Shooters dug deep to overcome De Defenders 24-21 while Confluence Stars scored three goals with less than a minute to go to defeat Delta Force 25-24 in an enthralling encounter.
Elsewhere, COAS Shooters were awarded a walkover 10-0 win in their match against Borno Spiders after failed to show up at the venue of the event.
In the women’s draw, champions Safety Babes got off to a disappointing start as they were stunned 29-27 by a resilient Edo Dynamos side.
Seasiders Babes put up a battling performance to earn a gritty 28-26 win over Defender Babes 28-26 while Imo Grasshoppers saw off Kada Queens in a 27-19 victory.
Plateau Peacocks dispatched Desert Queens with consummate ease, barely breaking sweat on their way to a 30-11 win while new girls Adorable Queens announced their arrival in the big leagues in style, cruising to a 38-25 victory over Benue Queens.
Match Day 1 Results
Defender Babes 26-28 Seasider Babes
Imo Grasshoppers 27-19 Kada Queens
Edo Dynamos 29-27 Safety Babes
Plateau Peacocks 30-11 Desert Queens
Adorable Angels 38-25 Benue Queens
Rima Strikers 30-26 Plateau Vipers
COAS Shooters 10-0 Borno Spiders 10 (W/O)
Kada Stars 24-34 Lagos Seasiders
Niger United 19-20 Kano Pillars
Defenders 21-24 Safety Shooters
Delta Force 24-25 Confluence Stars
Match Day 2 Fixtures
COAS Shooters vs Niger United
D: Defenders vs Kada Stars
Plateau Vipers vs Delta Force
Lagos Seasiders vs Confluence Stars
Desert Queens vs Kada Queens
Safety Shooters vs Kano Pillars
Imo Grasshoppers vs Safety Babes
Edo Dynamos vs Defender Babes
Seasider Babes vs Benue Queens.