Islington Handball is back playing at the highest level of English Handball competition, the English Premier League.

The men’s first team reached the most competitive league in the country after a nearly flawless season in the development regional league for clubs in the South of England, losing only one match.

It marks a significant milestone for Islington, affectionately called “the Rats” by the community of players, family, and friends, as the first time the team has reached the Premier League since its inception in 2011.

The Rats have restarted training at their base court in Holloway Road as well as at a new location near Manor House.

And they take on Carshalton Titans on Sunday, having been edged out by Olympia (21-18) in their opening fixture.

The club encourages anyone who wishes to try out the sport or pick it up again to reach out through social media and join a training session. They also welcome local businesses interested in partnership and sponsorship opportunities to support its activities.

After tough years due to administration difficulties and a pause of play due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the club has nearly doubled its player base in the past three years and recruited sufficient players for three men’s and one women’s teams.

The club is now also building boys' and girls' teams to grow the sport as, despite being one of the largest sports in continental Europe, handball remains a largely amateur sport in the United Kingdom.

With over 20 nationalities represented on its roster, Islington's aim is to keep growing the sport and acting as a community hub for Londoners.

Club president Alexandra Vaideanu said: "It's an honour for Islington Handball Club to compete at such a high level, showing that our strategy and efforts to grow the club have paid off. We are immensely grateful to our supporters and the community and promise to give our best on the court."

Founded in 2011 and incorporated as a Community Interest Company in 2017, Islington Handball Club is run by a group of volunteers and has grown to about 60 players.

The 2023-24 season will feature five teams, who will participate in the men’s English Premier League, Southeast South, and Southeast North Regional Leagues; women’s South regional league; as well as boys and girls teams in weekend competitions.