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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

GB Men Finish Dutch Tournament with Strong Performance

BATTLING GB Men ended their Limburgse Handbaldagen Tournament campaign with a strong performance against top Norwegian side Haugaland HK on Tuesday.

With several players unavailable – and captain Ciaran Williams suffering a recurrence of a stress fracture in his foot – the team put in a strong performance in the last of their four games over three days in Holland.

GB’s Omar Sani scored nine goals and was named man of the match in the game, which the Norwegians narrowly won 26-28. They had led 11-17 at half time, but a strong second half from GB saw them narrow the gap.

Martin Hare added five goals, while John Pearce and Seb Edgar scored three each.

“It was a much better performance,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “We had a poor five minute spell at the end of the first half which gave them a six-goal lead at the break.

“We pulled it back and outscored them 15-11, but it wasn’t quite enough to end with a victory.

“Nevertheless, it was a good performance and we made less technical errors than in our other games. Overall this was our best game of the tournament.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons over here. We’ve had 300 minutes of handball over just three days and we’re improving every time we play.”
Pic: Injured GB captain, Ciaran Williams. (Pic: Reiner Worm).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Vincent Named Man of the Match Against Polva Serviti

RIGHT winger Gawain Vincent was named as the player of the match as Great Britain men lost out 26-36 in their latest match of the Limburgse Handbaldagen Tournament in Holland.

Vincent, 19, scored six goals in a strong performance which puts him in the frame for a regular spot in the team’s World Championship qualification tournament in Finland next month.

As well as Vincent’s six goals, Omar Sani added seven as GB went down to Polva Serviti, who are currently second in the Estonian Handball League and who topped the group in the Limburgse event and were aiming to reach the final.

“It was a good positive performance from the lads after a disappointing day yesterday,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie.

“Most of the players rose to the challenges presented to them, and the defence was better, so it was a step up from our last performance.”

Great Britain will now play in the placement game for 7th and 8th place against Haugaland HK from Norway on Tuesday, and will then return home before playing in the Yellow Cup in Switzerland from January 2-4.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Under-Strength GB Men Lose Out in Holland

UNDER-strength Great Britain Men suffered a 23-39 defeat at the hands of Vos Investment Lions in the second match of their Limburgse Handbaldagen Tournament in Holland on Sunday.

With several key players out injured, head coach Dragan Djukic took his chance to give several of the newer players in the squad chance to stake their claim for a place in the World Championship qualifiers in Finland next month.

However, with victory always out of their grasp, the defeat to the Lions leaves GB Men looking at the placement matches in the final day, following their final group game against Estonian outfit Polva Serviti, tomorrow.

Influential captain Ciaran Williams played just 20 minutes of their opening game against K-Sports before he came off with a recurrence of the knee injury which he sustained in Denmark six weeks ago.

And with goalkeeper Jesper Parker and right back Steven Larsson also unavailable for the Tournament, it was an under-strength GB side who travelled to Holland.

“It was a difficult game,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “The conditions of some of the players as good as it should be and that showed with their second game in one day.

“With several of the key players out, it’s been a good opportunity for some of the younger players to step up, and it’s given us a chance to run the rule over them.

“Some have really put their names in the frame for selection for the squad for the World Championship qualifiers in Finland in January, so it’s been a useful experience.”

GB complete their group matches in the Limburgse Tournament tomorrow with a clash against Polva Serviti, who are second in the Estonian League, and then look likely to be playing in either the 5-6 or 7-8 placement matches on Tuesday.

Pic: Great Britain's Omar Sani, who scored nine against Vos Investment Lions. (Pic: Reiner Worm).

GB Men Give Tournament Favourites a Tough Time

GREAT Britain men went down 20-29 in their opening clash of the Limburgse Handballdagen tournament in Holland on Sunday, losing out to the event favourites, K-Sports.

Facing a team made up of many of the top players from Japanese and Korean leagues, the GB guys battled well and were level at 19-19 mid-way through the second half, before their rivals changed formation and left GB playing catch-up.

A strong period of defence helped GB fight back from a 10-17 half time deficit and they drew level 19-19, with keeper Bob White (pictured) outstanding in goal, but they could not stop K-Sports from scoring.

“Our defence was superb,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “We had a great spell to claw it back to 19-19, but once we conceded a goal we lost our way and the lads’ heads dropped.

“But K-Sports are the favourites to win the tournament, and we’re hopeful of beating Vos Investment Lions tonight which will secure a place in the semi finals tomorrow.”

Right back Gawain Vincent scored eight goals, while Seb Edgar added five.

After tonight’s clash with Vos Investment Lions, the GB boys will take on Polva Serviti on Monday afternoon before the semi finals later tomorrow and possibly the finals on Tuesday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

GB Women: Gruelling Schedule Takes Its Toll

GREAT Britain women finished their Stadtwerk Cup campaign in Switzerland exhausted after a gruelling match schedule took its toll on the squad.

Already missing several key players, the squad faced three 40-minute games a day over two days against some top club opposition from Germany and Switzerland.

After securing one win in their three Saturday matches, GB went into the second day under-strength and stretched to the limit – but they lost none of their trademark bulldog determination.

After beating German Bundesliga outfit Sindelfingen by one goal in their final Saturday match, GB lost out 13-24 to the same opponents, with many of the squad’s less experienced players featuring in the team.

Their second match was against Goppingen, and an exhausted team lost out 8-24.

However, they dug deep and drew 15-15 with Swiss team Bruhl in their final match, despite being without Holly Lam-Moores, Jeanett Andersen or Shila Casey who had battled so well in the previous five tournament matches.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Under-Strength GB Women Battle in Switzerland

DESPITE missing five key players and carrying injuries in their squad, Great Britain women turned in three battling performances in the opening day of the Stadtwerk Cup in Switzerland on Saturday.

Great Britain are competing in the event against two top Bundesliga sides from Germany in Goppingen and Sindelfingen, as well as the top Swiss team, Bruhl.

GB lost out 16-19 in their opening match, but highlights included strong performances from Laura Innes in goal as well as Shila Casey, pictured, who played despite a niggling injury.

In their second match they lost out to Bruhl 15-18 after a poor performance, with new players struggling to combine with their existing structure.

GB tasted victory for the first time in the event in their final game of the day against Sindelfingen, winning 18-17 with Jeanett Andersen scoring the winner in the final second.

Currently eighth in the Bundesliga, Sindelfingen proved tough opponents, but several fast break goals late in the game from Holly Lam-Moores helped GB to victory.

Great Britain will now take on the same opponents again tomorrow, and will be aiming to secure at least two victories.

“We’re hoping that Lynn McCafferty will return for two of tomorrow’s games,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris. “She had to return to Italy to her club after the first day of our stay in Switzerland, and although it’s a long way we hope she will come.”

Playmaker McCafferty was missed in GB’s defeats, although Ewa Pallies played well in her place.

Missing from the GB squad in Switzerland are Sarah Hargreaves, Kelsi Fairbrother, Britt Goodwin, Lynn McCafferty and Christina O’Sullivan, while Shila Casey is carrying an injury.

Friday, December 18, 2009

GB Women Lose Opening Swiss Fixture

GREAT Britain women went down 31-30 to LK Zug in the opening game of their stay in Switzerland after delayed travel from their training camp in London took their toll on the squad.

The team arrived in Zurich late from Britain after their travel plans were disrupted, and despite battling well they went down by one goal in their training game on Thursday night.

“We were all so tired after a long day travelling,” said team manager Melanie Chowns. “But it was a great training game though, and Talent ID goalkeeper Laura Innes got to play the whole game, which was great for her, and she had a great second half especially.”

And Holly Lam-Moores added: “We had been travelling since 6am and were carrying around some heavy legs which meant we did not play as well as we should have.

“With plenty more technical mistakes than usual we began to slip into old habits. We started badly but managed to pick up the pace in the second half but it just wasn’t enough.

“However, it was good training for us leading up to the tournament where we will face top league teams from France, Germany and Switzerland.

“The mood is high after a nice day of sightseeing and a good two hours of training this morning. Tomorrow we meet Goppingen from Germany, Dijon from France and Bruhl from Switzerland. It will be a tough test for us we all look forward to it.”

Keep checking back to the British Handball website to find out how the GB Women fare in the Stadtwerk Cup.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

GB Women Visit London for Olympic Training

OLYMPIC dreams seem closer than ever now for the GB Women’s handball squad after the team visited the Olympic site before a series of talks at the British Olympic Association’s central London HQ.

The team was in town to prepare for this week’s Stadtwerk Cup in Switzerland, but combined their stay with a visit to the Olympic site which is quickly taking shape.

They were also the first sport to be guests of the BOA’s at their plush new offices in central London, a visit which was part of the Olympic Awareness Training programme which is being rolled out across all sports in the next year.

The team met GB hockey player Simon Mantell to chat about being a first-time Olympian, and were also told about some of the advantages and pitfalls of being part of Team GB and living in the athlete village during the games.

It is all part of a process designed to have the athletes fully prepared for the Olympics, with as many of their potential problems ironed out beforehand so they can focus on their performance.

“It’s amazing to be here in London, both at the Olympic site and at the BOA offices,” said team member Kathryn Fudge. “It has shown us that it’s more real and it seems closer now than before.

“For many of us we’re closer to the Olympics now than when we started out! It’s going to come round quickly, and we’re all really excited.”

En-route from the Olympic site to the BOA offices, GB women’s team head coach Jesper Holmris said: “It’s good for us to see the Olympic village for the first time, and to see how it’s coming along. There is a lot more building work happening and it is larger than I thought.

“I think it’s good for the athletes to see it and get inspired and motivated by it because it’s not that far away now.

“I think everybody was a bit worried that if we didn’t get the extra funding we might not make it and there may not have been a British handball team at the Olympics. And when the BOA said a few weeks ago that they weren’t sure of the size of the team, we didn’t know what would happen.

“But now we have new funding, and I think it’s definite that we will be there, so it’s a good time for us. It has been a tough year, but we have come through and are looking forward.

“It is good to be here for everyone, but especially for the players who have joined us most recently. We have some young players in the team now, and when you’re 16 or 17 years old and new to the team they get to realise what they’re doing and just how big this is.

“This should inspire them too. If there was not 100 per cent commitment before, now they have visited the Olympic site and the British Olympic Association, hopefully they are 110 per cent committed now.

“It’s only two and a half years to go now, but it’s not just about the 2012 Olympics. Our victory over Finland gave the team a place in the European Championships and gave them something else meaningful to focus on, and I can see a change in some of the players.

“Having other goals is great because it is a big motivator. That’s good because if it was only the Olympics at the end of the tunnel it would be hard to keep the players going.

“And of course it was also good for UK Sport and the British public to see that we are progressing and can play well and be competitive.”

Chairman Urges Caution After Funding Boost

BRITISH Handball has been celebrating this week with the news that UK Sport has doubled their funding for the London 2012 Olympic cycle – but chairman John Brewer, pictured, is keen to point out that it may not solve all their problems.

The board of the British Handball Association met in London this week to discuss a number of issues and drive the organisation forward in light of UK Sport’s announcement of another £1.44 million which will ensure our programme continues until at least 2013.

However, last month’s warnings from the British Olympic Association that their own financial constraints may limit the size of the team they send to the games are still very much present.

“Whilst the extra funding is a great help to us, it does not yet guarantee our participation in the London 2012 Olympics,” said Brewer this week.

“We can only achieve this by continued hard work and dedication both on and off the court, and we must all work hard to ensure we get the rewards that everyone deserves.

“We are very aware that the money from UK Sport only goes some way towards meeting our aspirations for success, and we will continue to work hard and look at all possible options to secure additional funding from benefactors and sponsors.

“We know that this will not be easy – it is a tough environment and there are other sports out there who are after money as well!”

Most of the so-called minor sports who had their funding reduced earlier in the year received extra money from UK Sport after a funding review announced last week.

There was an extra £13 million handed out by UK Sport, with half that amount coming from the Team 2012 fundraising initiative.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

British Handball's Holly Lam-Moores reflects on the past two months

The past two months have been eventful and exciting - both with Great Britain and my club team, Asker, in Norway........ Follow Holly's blog in the Warrington Guardian

Watch a short Clip of Asker v Storhamar 2 which Asker won by ten goals (35:25) from www.tvbudstikka.no (Holly plays in No.18 shirt)

Women's Handball World Championship Playoffs available live online!

the Women's XIX Handball World Championship 2009 in Jiangsu has reached the final stage. The first Placement Matches will take place on Thursday, December 17th. These are followed by the two Semi-Finals where France meets Spain and Norway faces Russia.

The schedule for the next two days is:

Thursday, 17.12.2009:
9th Place - Austria vs. Hungary (06:30 CET)
11th Place - Angola vs. China (09.00 CET)
7th Place - Germany vs. Romania (11.30 CET)
5th Place - Denmark vs. Korea (14.00 CET)

Friday, 18.12.2009 (Semi-Finals):
France vs. Spain (11.30 CET)
Norway vs. Russia (14.15 CET)

These matches can be watched online at handballworldcup.tv

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

McDermott Goes from Strength to Strength

GREAT Britain ace Chris McDermott has been boosting his chances of selection for both Holland and Finland with a series of strong performances for his club team Aarhus GF, in Denmark.

The 20-year-old pivot, pictured, turned out for Aarhus first team in their clash with BSV last week, and played strongly in front of a crowd of around 3,500 at the NRGI Arena in Aarhus where the team narrowly lost 35-29.

McDermott has gone from strength to strength since leaving his home in the Wirral to play handball in Europe.

After playing for Essen in the German Bundesliga last season, the two-metre tall player has returned to the Aarhus Academy where he has gone from playing junior handball with Braband to third division handball with Skovbakken and now Danish League action with Aarhus GF.

Pic: Ole Nielsen.

Busy Festive Period for GB Handball Teams

BOTH the Great Britain men’s and women’s squads are preparing for a busy Christmas and New Year period of match action across Europe.

The women’s squad will gather in London on December 13-15 for a training camp in preparation for the Stadtwerk Cup in Switzerland from Dec 19-20, where they will face some tough club oppositions.

And the men’s squad travel to Holland on December 26 for the Limburgse Handbal Dagan Tournament, where they will also face top club teams over three days.

The men’s fixtures will play a big part in preparations for the World Championship qualification tournament in Finland in January, where they have been placed in a group alongside the hosts as well as Bosnia and Romania.

Prior to the 15-strong women’s squad travelling to Switzerland, they will tour the 2012 Olympic site in London and be guests of the British Olympic Association for several presentations and meetings designed to help them prepare for being Olympic athletes.

After arriving in Switzerland, the women’s first match of the Stadtwerk Cup will be on December 19, when they will play German outfit Goppingen at noon, before taking on Swiss team Bruhl at 3pm and then French team Dijon at 8.15pm that evening.

The tough schedule then sees GB women take on Zalec from Slovenia at noon on Dec 20, before tackling another German team, Sindelfingen, at 2pm with a placement match to follow later that day depending on results.

GB Men’s schedule sees them take on K-Sports in their opening game of the Limburgse Handbal Dagan 2009 on December 27 at 1pm, before they play Vos Investments/Lions at 9pm.

The following day they take on Polva Serviti at 2pm, and may then take part in the semi finals the same day before the placement matches on December 29.

British Handball's Olympic Funding is Doubled

UK Sport has given British Handball an extra £1.44 million, doubling their award for the current Olympic cycle. The award is part of an extra £13 million handed out by UK Sport, with half that amount coming from the Team 2012 fundraising initiative. The extra money has been allocated according to past performance and future potential, and is a major boost for British Handball’s hopes of Olympic success and their ambitions to make the sport more popular in Britain.

Paul Goodwin, Chief Executive of British Handball, said: "I am delighted that UK Sport has recognised the progress that Handball has continued to make. I am certain that their decision to increase our funding will be fully justified. "This funding provides us the certainty which has been lacking until now that we can fund the preparation of our senior teams for the London 2012 Olympics.
"But we also have to build a sustainable structure for Handball in Britain for the longer term and I hope that the confidence shown by UK Sport today will now encourage the public and commercial partners to really get behind Team 2012 and British Handball and support our athletes."

After being awarded £1.44 million in February to cover the 2009-2013 funding cycle, British Handball decided to ‘front-load’ all that money over the first two years to maintain the development of their squads.And with the doubling of that award, they are assured of being able to continue their programme up to the London Olympics and into 2013.

An extra £13 million has been awarded to 11 sports who received ‘basic’ funding awards in February, with £6.5 million coming from the Team 2012 initiative, with Visa having come forward as the main sponsor. The other £6.5 million handed out today has been generated by UK Sport because of a cut in the rate of inflation anticipated in the original awards.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Proposed handball Facility for Thames Gateway.

The Thames Gateway region may get a World Class Handball Facility by the spring of 2011. A developer has consulted with British Handball to come up with a venue design that will provide 2 full size training courts which will convert to one match court with 1000 seats in competition mode. The centre will feature a large gym with the latest equipment and has excellent road and rail links.