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For all the latest news from British Handball plus news feeds from Handball Sites and Blogs around the world.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Girvan Nets Seven Goals on Comeback

MISSING some key players, Great Britain men went down a narrow 34-30 defeat to Lithuania in the opening match of a four-way tournament in Latvia on Tuesday.

BOA handball athlete of the year Steven Larsson is unavailable for the first leg of their winter tour because of club commitments in Norway, while another first choice back player Martin Hare was also missing and Merlin Braithwaite is out with a knee injury.

Nevertheless GB battled well, with good displays from Alex Girvan (pictured) – returning to the squad after ten months out injured – while right winger Seb Prieto found his range after missing three months because of injury.

Girvan top-scored with seven, while Prieto added six goals, and Great Britain will be aiming to build on their good display in Wednesday's clash with Estonia.

Assistant coach Bill Baillie said afterwards: “A poor first half display cost us the game, with five shots hitting the post and eight technical faults.

“This meant we were chasing the game and although we reduced the deficit to two several times in the second half, we were unable to close the gap.”

After playing Estonia on Thursday they take on hosts Latvia on Friday, as preparation for their 2013 World Championship clashes with Austria.

From Latvia, they will go to Hungary to prepare for their first clash against Austria in Tulln on Jan 5, following which they will come to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London for the home leg, on Jan 8 at 2pm.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GB Men Prepare for Winter Tour

GREAT Britain men take on Lithuania today (Dec 27) in the first of a series of matches forming part of their Winter tour.

The team arrived in Latvia on Boxing Day, and will play friendly fixtures against Lithuania, Estonia and hosts Latvia on Dec 27, 28 and 29 respectively, as preparation for their 2013 World Championship clashes with Austria.

From Latvia, they will go to Hungary to prepare for their first clash against Austria in Tulln on Jan 5, following which they will come to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London for the home leg, on Jan 8 at 2pm.

Captain Bobby White said: “Austria will come with an extremely strong side having recently appointed a new coach and given that the majority of their players are playing in The Bundesliga in Germany, it is safe to say we will have a tough job on our hands.

“The Austrians are capable of fantastic results, especially on home soil where they have beaten Beijing 2008 Silver Medallists’ Iceland. Having said that, we know if we perform to the best of our ability, we could make it yet another interesting match here at Crystal Palace, especially with a vocal home crowd behind us!”

And after those matches, their winter tour continues with a visit to Serbia, where they will play Serbia’s Under-21 side twice in friendly fixtures on Jan 12 and 13 respectively, before the camp ends and they return home on January 17.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Larsson Named Athlete of the Year

STEVEN Larsson has been named as the British Olympic Association’s Handball Athlete of the Year after a string of impressive performances for the GB men’s handball team.

The Yorkshire-born right back, 30, was picked out for his powerful defensive displays as well as his free-scoring ways which helped the team notch up several international victories and is expected to play a big part in the team for the London Olympics next year.

“It’s a big honour to be selected as the Handball Athlete of the Year, and I’m proud to achieve such a reward for my home country,” he said.

“Things have been going really well for me as an athlete but more importantly for the British team as a whole. Let’s hope we can keep on going forward and improving as a team in the last few months that are remaining until London 2012!”

Larsson will be part of the GB team which embarks on a lengthy tour over the next few weeks, taking in training camps and matches in Latvia and Serbia, as well as playing Austria at home and away.

The home leg is at 2pm on January 8 at Crystal Palace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holmris: 'We had a Great Campaign!'

HEAD coach Jesper Holmris has praised his players after the GB women’s team put on some great performances in the London Handball Cup last week.
Great Britain opened the Olympic Test Event on a high, beating African champions Angola 22-20, and despite going on to lose matches against Austria and Slovakia, Holmris was pleased with the overall experience.
We have had a great campaign overall. We have shown once again that we have a very strong defence,” he said.
“Our defence was great and our keepers have done well all week, so we will go back to our home at Crystal Palace and work on our attacking, fast breaks and decision making.
“Playing three matches in four days was tough. We don’t have girls who can score easy goals so we have to fight for every goal, plus we don’t have the depth in our side. But they are fast and strong and they have a good attitude.”
The tournament was watched by thousands of schoolchildren and local residents, which created a superb atmosphere for all matches – especially when Great Britain were in action.
Captain Lynn McCafferty said: “It was an absolutely fantastic tournament as we received such huge support from our spectators which won’t be possible so often before the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“We still have nine months to develop and we have to take all chances to test our performing level and to improve. We’re now living together as a team so we can do everything together until the start of the Olympics.”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strong Defence not Enough for GB Women

AN IMPROVED defensive performance from Great Britain women was not enough to stop them slipping to a 17-22 defeat in their final match of the London Handball Cup on Saturday.

The final match of their Olympic Test Event, GB showed an improved fighting display after the previous day’s defeat to Austria, and will go into next week’s friendly fixture with Iceland looking to build on lessons learned this week.

“We were very disappointed after the Austria game, but we have had a great campaign overall,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris. “We have shown once again that we have a very strong defence, and against Slovakia the British fighting spirit was back again.

“But we missed too many opportunities and scored just 17 goals which was never going to be enough to win. Our defence was great and our keepers have done well all week, so we will go back to our home at Crystal Palace and work on our attacking, fast breaks and decision making.”

Trailing 9-16 at half time, GB responded with a stronger second half which they won 8-6, but it was not enough to overhaul the deficit.

Holly Lam-Moores top-scored with five goals, with the other shared amongst the team. And goalkeeper Jane Mayes had a great save ratio of 41 per cent, largely thanks to a strong second half.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Brave GB Women go down to Austria

A BATTLING performance from Great Britain women was not enough to stop them suffering a 31-23 defeat to Austria in their final Group game at the London Handball Cup on Friday.

After beating Angola in a surprise 22-20 victory in their first match on Wednesday, Great Britain had high hopes of reaching the semi finals of the competition. But when Angola beat Austria by two goals on Thursday that left GB having to beat Austria to keep their hopes of winning the tournament alive.

Despite some great periods of pressure against Austria, Great Britain were behind for much of the game. They found themselves 6-1 down after just 11 minutes, but battled back hard to 9-7 just 12 minutes later.

However, they could not stop Austria scoring steadily, with Acimovic causing problems throughout and ending as their top scorer with six goals.

For GB, Scottish-born Zoe Van Der Weel ended as top-scorer with four goals, while Aldershot’s Kelsi Fairbrother, Warrington’s Holly Lam-Moores and Ewa Palies all chipped in with three.

“We had a fantastic result against Angola on Wednesday, but we didn’t play our best today,” said head coach Jesper Holmris afterwards.

“Our defence was disappointing, we didn’t intend on letting them score 31 goals, and our shooting needs to improve. But we’ve made massive progress in the last year and we will come back stronger.

“It’s nice to have a good crowd here, it makes a great atmosphere and it’s really good to see so many kids here.”

GB's final match of the tournament will be the 5th/6th play-off match against Slovakia on Saturday at 11.30am.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Super GB Beat African Champions Angola

GREAT Britain made a thrilling start to their London Handball Cup campaign, beating African Champions Angola 22-20 in their first match at the Olympic Handball Arena on Wednesday afternoon.

With Sports Minister Hugh Robertson in attendance, GB dug deep and had to battle back from three goals down to take the points.

Warrington’s Holly Lam-Moores and Kathryn Fudge from Bury teamed up as joint top scorers with four goals each, and it was Fudge who scored the first goal after just a few seconds of the match which helped GB open up a three-nil lead just three minutes in and leave the Angolans on the back foot.

The Africans battled back to 11-11 at half time and led by the odd goal at various times during the second half, but Great Britain kept their cool and chipped away at the lead.

Leading by one goal, a GB timeout helped the clock tick down, and a penalty in the final 30 seconds from Britt Goodwin sparked celebrations in the 1,000-plus crowd as Great Britain were finally assured of victory.

After the win, a delighted coach Jesper Holmris said: "It was a great performance in a great arena, so it's been a good day for us. Home advantage is always a big advantage.

“It's the first time we played an African nation and they are African champions, so it was good for us to see we can compete against them - and there are still nine months to go before the Olympic games."
In other action on Wednesday, China scraped past Slovakia 26-28.

The competition continues on Thursday with China playing Poland at 10.30am, while Angola take on Austria at 1pm.

Great Britain’s next match is on Friday at 10.30am when they play Austria.

* Pictures by Bogdan Maran and Michele Davison. Many more to follow over the coming days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Live Web Streaming from Olympic Test Event

LIVE internet streaming of Great Britain’s matches in the London Handball Cup will be available thanks to a link-up between British Handball, GBSport.tv and the Daily Telegraph.

Great Britain’s opening clash with Angola on Wednesday and their match against Austria on Friday will be shown live at www.gbsport.tv and www.telegraph.co.uk/gbsport - and other Great Britain matches may also be shown later in the week.

The six-team tournament from November 23-27 will pit Great Britain against some tough opponents – both old and new.

With the teams split into two groups of three, Great Britain have old foes Austria in their group, while Angola will prove a new challenge for Jesper Holmris’s team.

And in the other group are Poland and Slovakia who GB have played before, as well as China.
GB captain Lynn McCafferty said: “It is really exciting, we all can't wait to be in the Handball Arena playing different nations and with spectators.

“We hope it will give us a real glimpse of what it could be like next year but of course the important thing is the present, and this tournament is important for us as part of our preparation.”

The event is being staged at the Olympic Handball Arena to give officials chance to try out their procedures, and a limited crowd of officials, local schools and media have been invited to attend to make the Tournament as real as possible.

Great Britain begin their matches with a clash against Angola at 1pm on November 23, and after a day off will take on Austria on Nov 25 at 10.30am.

Depending on results from the group stages, GB will play on the Saturday and possibly the Sunday too if they get through to the final matches.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

GB Left to Rue Injuries in Israel

DRAWING 13-13 at half time, Great Britain Men suffered injuries to two key players and ended up losing their World Championship qualification match against Israel 29-20 in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Martin Hare and Robin Garnham (pictured) both suffered ankle injuries in the loss while Steven Larsson, who was GB’s top-scorer in the first clash between the two teams at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Wednesday, was marked out of the game.

“We probably lost the game in the first two and a half minutes of the second half when they scored four goals without reply,” said Assistant Coach Bill Baillie.

“They took out Steven Larsson, and put a lot more pressure on us and the crowd got behind them. We stabilised, but there was no way back and quite early in the second half we lost both Martin Hare and Robin Garnham with ankle injuries. Losing two experienced defenders meant we were just too exposed.”

Nicholas Satchwell did well in goal and finished with a save ratio of almost 45 per cent, while Garnham was top-scorer with five despite his injury.

Great Britain will now prepare for home and away matches against Austria in January.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Great Britain Narrowly Lose to Israel

GREAT Britain Men narrowly lost their first clash with Israel 26-29 at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London on Wednesday evening.

The 2013 World Championship qualification match was close throughout, with Israel only leading 14-16 at half time.

Steven Larsson top-scored for Great Britain with nine goals while Chris Mohr (pictured) added seven, but it was not enough to secure a victory.

“Tactically we were spot on,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “Israel were certainly beatable and they were never more than three or four goals better, and for most of the game it was just one goal.

“We had a number of missed shots which could’ve made all the difference, but we were delighted with the performance of people like Chris Mohr and Steve Larsson.

“Israel did under-estimate us. They were a bit complacent because they had beaten us five times before, but they had to keep all their best players on the court for most of the time to stop us, so we’re optimistic for the return leg in Tel Aviv on Sunday.”

GB: Steven Larsson 9, Chris Mohr 7, Ciaran Williams 3, Robin Garnham 2, Seb Prieto 1, Martin Hare 1, Daniel McMillan 1, Mark Hawkins 1, Gawain Vincent 1, Jesper Parker, Robert White, Nicholas Satchwell, Merlin Braithwaite, Simon Wittlin, Scott Frew, John Pearce.

Israel: Chen Pomeranz 7, Avishay Smoler 5, Daniel Mircus 5, Dan Nathan 3, Itzhak Halifi 2, Ariel Rosenthal 2, Ofer Refeal Luzon 1, Amir Langlive 1, Guy Cohen 1, Ido Lavie 1, Omer Jacob Davda 1, Gil Yaakov, Eldar Shikloshi, Gal Moshe Avraham, Yotam Tal, Tomer Shimoni.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GB Men Ready for Israel Challenge

GREAT Britain Men take on Israel in the opening match of their 2013 World Championships qualifying group next Wednesday (November 2).

The clash, which is at 7pm at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, is the team’s first competitive match since August.

They last played at Crystal Palace in June 2010 when they secured their first competitive victory with a dramatic 32-33 win over Bulgaria – but the team will be keen to show just how much they have improved.

Wednesday’s opponents Israel also played in the qualifying stages of Euro 2010, but they fared better and won all three of their games to top the group and reach the second qualifying stage.

Following Wednesday’s clash GB head to Israel for the return leg on Sunday, November 6.

They then play in Austria on January 5 before playing the same opponent back at Crystal Palace on January 8.

Tickets for the GB v Israel clash are still available at http://www.amiando.com/britishhandball or on the door.

GB Keeper Makes Champions League Debut

GREAT Britain goalkeeper Jesper Parker (pictured) made his debut in the VELUX EHF Champion League last weekend, helping Savehof to a 24-20 victory over Bosnian team Sarajevo.

The highest level club competition in the world, the VELUX EHF Champions League sees the best teams from nations across the continent compete for the ultimate prize – much like the football Champions League.

After a break for domestic and international matches, the VELUX EHF Champions League resumes for Savehof with a match against Swiss side Kadetten Schaffhausen on November 17.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

GB Shock World Champs Russia

GREAT Britain Women gave reigning World Champions Russia a scare in their Euro 2012 clash on Saturday, matching them for long periods and only losing out 16-24 when many had predicted a heavy loss.

GB had lost 34-18 to Montenegro earlier in the week, and many predicted a similar scoreline against Russia. But GB put on a superb display for the 350 spectators at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

They trailed by just four goals at 10-14 at half time, and maintained the pressure on Russia right to the final whistle.

Captain Lynn McCafferty (pictured) led by example and scored three goals, while six other players scored two as GB kept Russia guessing about where the goals would come from.

“We’re really happy with the performance,” said McCafferty afterwards. “After Montenegro we worked on several areas of our game to identify what we could do better. We worked on our defence and some of the little mistakes we made, and I think we’ve shown today that we managed to fix things.

“We wanted to play longer in attack and be more composed and more in control, and we did that. We stuck to our game plan and played our own game for 60 minutes in both defence and attack.

“They had some players who could score from ten metres which you can’t really stop, but if they got closer than that we worked very hard to make it difficult for them to score.

“We can take so many positives away from the game and feel good that we’re learning so much from this week.

“We can have confidence that we know how to address our weaknesses. But people in the handball world won’t take us for granted now, so we need to keep up the hard work.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PREVIEW: GB Women Prepare for Russia Challenge

WORLD Handball Champions Russia come to London on Saturday as Great Britain Women’s 2012 European Championship campaign continues (3pm start).

In what will undoubtedly be the biggest challenge yet for Great Britain, the court at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre will be littered with World and Olympic medallists.

Russia has won the last three world championships, and took the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. They have a vast pool of players to call on, and seven of their 2009 world champions remain in the squad - Sedoykina, Postnova, Levina, Makeeva, Zhilinskaya, Murayeva and Turey.

After winning the 2009 world championships, they dropped to seventh at Euro 2010, after which the coach made a few changes and brought back some of his ‘veterans’ including line players Shipilova and Bodnieva (the latter after six years out) as well as playmaker Murayeva and right wing Uskova. But they also have some brilliant new young players, left back Anna Sen foremost among them.

Last month Russia won the prestigious GF World Cup invitational tournament in Denmark, comfortably disposing of Spain, Sweden and Denmark in the group stages before beating France then Norway in the Semi final and final respectively. Davidenko and Sidorova were named in the All-Star team.

With a defensive back line of players over 1.85m, Great Britain will need plenty of speed and cross-overs to make space.

It will be Great Britain’s second group match following their clash with hosts Montenegro on Wednesday. Poland are also in the group, and each team will play each other home and away over the next few months.

After Saturday’s Russia match, Great Britain Women are next in action in the Olympic Test Event from November 23-27, before resuming their Euro 2012 campaign with a match against Poland on March 21.

Battling GB Go Down to Strong Montenegro

BATTLING Great Britain Women went down 34-18 to hosts Montenegro on Wednesday evening in their opening Euro 23012 qualification match in Herceg Novi.

A strong second half performance from Great Britain saw them lose that 30 minute period by just one goal at 13-12, but the home side had already established a strong lead after a 10-minute purple patch.

“A blinding ten minute spell by the excellent Montenegro side in the first half meant we had too much ground to make up in the second half,” said Team Manager Melanie Chowns. “More valuable experience and lessons learnt – next up Russia on Saturday.”

Bury’s Kathryn Fudge (pictured) was top-scorer for Great Britain, while Britt Goodwin chipped in with three.

The Montenegro team includes 12 players from Buducnost, the Montenegro champions who are one of only two teams still undefeated in the EHF Champions League.

They include the formidable back pairing of Katarina Bulatovic (a right back who is third top scorer in this year’s Champions League) and Bojana Popovic (left back, and former top scorer in the Champions League).

Among Montenegro’s scalps at the 2010 European Championships were hosts Denmark, Russia and Spain.

Great Britain now return to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to prepare for Saturday’s home match against reigning World Champions Russia (3pm start).

Tickets for the Russia match are available in advance or on the door.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Euro 2012: GB Face Hosts Montenegro

THE Great Britain Women’s Handball Team begin their Euro 2012 qualification matches with a tough away clash with Montenegro tonight (Wednesday).

After beating Finland in the pre-qualifiers Great Britain were drawn in a four-team pool with Poland, Montenegro and Russia with home and away matches against all three starting on Wednesday and concluding next June.

The squad travel out on Tuesday for the game on Wednesday, and will need to be on top form if they are to challenge their hosts, who reached the finals of the 2011 World Championships with two victories over the Czech Republic in June this year.

The Montenegro team includes 12 players from Buducnost, the Montenegro champions, who are one of only two teams still undefeated in the EHF Champions League.

They include the formidable back pairing of Katarina Bulatovic (a right back who is third top scorer in this year’s Champions League) and Bojana Popovic (left back, and former top scorer in the Champions League).

Among Montenegro’s scalps at the 2010 European Championships were hosts Denmark, Russia and Spain.

GB Captain White Moves to France

GREAT Britain captain and goalkeeper Bobby White has moved to France after impressing in trials and securing a contract with Valence Handball Club.

White, 28 and from Milton Keynes, attended a trial at the end of last month, following which they snapped up the GB ace who has now moved to the town to the south of Lyon.

“They are a very ambitious club and are hoping to be promoted to the Second Division this year,” said White. “They have a fantastic following here and have had a very good start to the season.

“I am really looking forward to the challenge. The intensity of training here is fantastic and we have a good coaching staff and the all-round set up of the club is great, so hopefully I can continue my personal development and improvement as we gather momentum for the Olympics next summer!”

WIN: Women's Sporting Calendar featuring Holly Lam-Moores!

GREAT Britain star Holly Lam-Moores is featured on a new 2012 calendar which is now on sale – and we have 20 copies to give away!

Holly, 21 and from Burnley in Lancashire, was snapped during the Euro 2012 pre-qualifier against Finland by British Handball volunteer Marek Biernacki. And the picture was so good, it made it on to the Women’s Sporting Calendar 2012!

Out of hundreds of images submitted, Marek’s snap of Holly shooting at goal was one of just 24 to be featured on the glossy A3 calendar.

The calendar features details of more than 300 sporting events including handball.

And even if you’re not one of our lucky winners, you can still buy a copy and help the sport. From every copy sold online, 20 per cent will go to your chosen sport.

Make 2012 a special year for women’s sport, advance its profile and help raise funds. Order NOW online here: www.illustratus.co.uk/shop/wsc2012

An ideal stocking-filler, thank-you present for your coach/teacher, client Christmas presents or an all-year reminder for the busy household, clubroom or office – price £8.99.

* To have a chance of winning a copy of the Women’s Sporting Calendar 2012, just email newsdesk@snowdons.co.uk telling us which country Great Britain were playing in the photograph of Holly Lam-Moores.

Entries must be received by November 2 2011. Winners will be selected at random after that date. Please include the postal address you would like your calendar to be sent to if you are a winner.

Monday, October 17, 2011

GB Women Head to Montenegro

THE Great Britain Women’s Handball Team begin their Euro 2012 qualification matches with a tough away trip to Montenegro this week.

After beating Finland in the pre-qualifiers Great Britain were drawn in a four-team pool with Poland, Montenegro and Russia with home and away matches against all three starting on Wednesday and concluding next June.

The squad travel out on Tuesday for the game on Wednesday, and will need to be on top form if they are to challenge their hosts, who reached the finals of the 2011 World Championships with two victories over the Czech Republic in June this year.

The Montenegro team includes 12 players from Buducnost, the Montenegro champions, who are one of only two teams still undefeated in the EHF Champions League.

They include the formidable back pairing of Katarina Bulatovic (a right back who is third top scorer in this year’s Champions League) and Bojana Popovic (left back, and former top scorer in the Champions League).

Among Montenegro’s scalps at the 2010 European Championships were hosts Denmark, Russia and Spain.

And following their midweek match, Great Britain return to their base at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to prepare for an even tougher task.

On Saturday, October 22, they will play host to reigning world champions Russia (3pm start). Tickets for the Russia match are available in advance or on the door.

Monday, October 10, 2011

British Handball Supports New Fundraising Scheme

BRITISH Handball is supporting a new fundraising initiative which was launched this week by Team 2012, presented by Visa.

Named ‘Be There with Team 2012’, the public fundraising appeal is aimed at raising £2 million to help elite athletes – including the GB handball teams – be the best they can be as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

‘Be There with Team 2012’ is encouraging members of the public to get behind and support Team 2012 athletes. Donations of all amounts are being accepted and welcomed on the website www. team-2012.com up until the end of the year. And between 10 October and 27 November, anyone who donates over £5 and answers a competition question will be in with a chance of winning tickets to the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games next year.

Members of the public will be directed to the website with the support from the Team 2012 Appeal radio partners Heart, Capital FM, LBC 97.3, Gold and Choice FM.

A major national text-to-win-tickets promotion is being run in conjunction with the Team 2012 Appeal newspaper partners The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times, with support from BT as official Olympics and Paralympics partner. The public will be able enter daily competitions to win London 2012 tickets by text in November. All profits will go to the Team 2012 fundraising appeal.

In addition, Team 2012 supporting partner, adidas, has produced a limited edition run of 250 Team 2012 trainers to support British athletes, which will go on sale in late October. All proceeds raised from the trainers sale will go to Team 2012. And two lucky buyers will also be given the opportunity to go to either the Olympic or Paralympic Games next year.

Team 2012 is the official fundraising programme for over 1,200 British athletes striving to be selected for Team GB and ParalympicsGB at London 2012. With the aim of raising up to £25m overall, funds are invested in key areas including coaching, travel to competitions, medical support, sports psychology and kit and equipment.

The funds raised will be invested in a world class programme of support which will help ensure that British athletes are the best prepared, best equipped, best supported and most ambitious group of elite sportsmen and women possible at London 2012 and ultimately win more medals from more sports.

Jessica Ennis, 2009 heptathlon world champion, said: “The funds raised by Team 2012 are absolutely essential. The £2 million we aim to raise through ‘Be There with Team 2012’ represents a critical sum we need as athletes to get a final boost as we prepare to represent our country at London 2012.

“Every pound really will make a difference to Team 2012 athletes. I know from personal experience how fine the margins are in elite sport, and the money raised will help the British teams prepare to the best of their ability and make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of competing at a home Games.”

Sir Matthew Pinsent, four-time Olympic gold medallist and Chairman of the Team 2012 Fundraising Appeal, said: “Team 2012 provides our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls with unrivalled support as they prepare ahead of the Games. Since I was competing, the international sporting landscape has changed significantly, with more nations than ever before capable of winning major medals.

“To excel amidst the most talented and competitive field of athletes the world has ever seen, our athletes will have to train for thousands of hours, compete at national and international championships and have access to the best facilities and staff. All of this requires funding, and with support from the public they can be in the best shape to win more medals across more sports at London 2012.”

To donate and be in with a chance of winning tickets to London 2012, visit the re-launched Team 2012 website at www.team-2012.com

Saturday, October 01, 2011

GB Women v Russia: Tickets Now on Sale!

TICKETS have gone on sale for Great Britain Women’s European Championship qualification clash with reigning World champions Russia in London next month.

The EHF Euro 2012 clash, at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, will form an important part of the GB team’s preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London next year.

The GB women will need all the support they can get for the clash, and will be looking to the crowd to be their extra player.

The Russia clash will be GB’s second match of the qualification stages.

On October 19 they will travel to Montenegro to take on their hosts in their opening clash, while they will play the return leg in May next year.

Ticket details for the GB v Russia clash are now available at www.amiando.com/GBRvRUS

And tickets are also available for the Great Britain Men’s clash with Israel in the qualifying stages of the 2013 World Championship at Crystal Palace.

For those tickets, please go to http://www.amiando.com/GBRvISR

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teams announced for Olympic Test Event

THE line-up for the 2012 Olympic Test event – The London Handball Cup from November 23-27 – has been announced.

Alongside Great Britain women will be a strong international line up of Austria, Angola, China, Poland and Slovakia.

The London Handball Cup is part of the London Prepares Series and takes place in the Handball Arena in Olympic Park. The event will give London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) the chance to test many parts of its operations including the field of play; results, timing and scoring systems and how teams work together.

The competition will see six teams divided into two groups, with teams placed 1st and 2nd in each group progressing to cross-over semi-finals, culminating in a gold/silver medal and bronze matches on the final day of competition.

Group A includes Slovakia, Poland and China and Group B includes Great Britain, Austria and Angola. China and Angola have also qualified to compete at the 2011 World Championships in Brazil, following just a few days after the London Handball Cup.

The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday 23 November 2011
10:30 Slovakia v China
13:00 Great Britain v Angola

Thursday 24 November 2011
10:30 China v Poland
13:00 Angola v Austria

Friday 25 November 2011
10:30 Austria v Great Britain
13:00 Poland v Slovakia

Saturday 26 November 2011 – Semifinals and play off for 5th and 6th place

Sunday 27 November 2011 – Final and Bronze medal match

Tickets for the London Handball Cup will not be on general sale, but local residents, schools, colleges and members of handball clubs are being given the opportunity to attend the test event.

Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG said: “The London Handball Cup will allow us to test our operations prior to the Games, but we are also delighted to be hosting such high quality teams in the brand new Handball Arena. The test event will be competitive and exciting and a great chance for local residents and school children to witness top level Handball, many of them for the first time.”

Paul Goodwin, Chief Executive of the British Handball Association said of the test event: “It is exciting to be part of the first competitive tournament played in the Olympic Handball Arena and we are looking forward to competing against some of the world’s best teams in November.”

The Handball Arena was the third Olympic Park venue to be completed in May 2011 and will have up to 6,500 capacity at Games Time. After the Games, capacity will be increased to accommodate up to 7,500 spectators as it becomes a multi-use venue for community use, athletic training and events.

* The website for the London Handball Cup has just been launched at www.londonpreparesseries.com/handball/index.html

It contains all the information about the competing nations and news in the run-up to the event.

Monday, September 26, 2011

London 2012: The Race for Places Continues!

WITH eleven month to go to the Olympics the race for places at 2012 is still wide open.

Only four of the 24 teams who will compete are known – both Great Britain men and women as hosts, the French men as World champions and the Norwegian women as European champions.

But the tension will rise in October, when the Asian and Pan American Continental Qualifications take place which will decide another four participants.

The last handball highlight of 2011 will be the Women’s World Championship (December 2-18) in Brazil. The World Champion will qualify directly for London 2012, while the nations ranked 2nd to 7th book their tickets for the Olympics Qualification tournaments end of May.

There are a huge number of contenders in Brazil, where the Russian women are trying to grab their fifth World Championship title in ten years.

At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing they finished second after losing to Norway in the final.

The Northern Europeans are also among the favourites despite some key players being injured or unavailable.

Apart from France (runners-up at the last World Championships in China), Romania (Bronze medalist at the EHF EURO 2010) and Korea (always on top performing level before Olympics) are also among the favourites. And teams like Montenegro, Sweden or host Brazil have an outside chance in the race for the medals.

One of the last big handball events before London 2012 will be the Men’s EHF EURO 2012 in January in Serbia, where the finals will be held in the 20,000 capacity Belgrade Arena.

As ever, the main contender for the title will be France, who are the reigning EHF European and Olympic champions.

Led by coach Claude Onesta, they have been unbeatable in all major tournaments since the Olympics in Beijing and have re-written history: After taking the Olympic gold medal they took two World Championship titles (2009 and 2011) and one EHF EURO title (2010) – and they are the first ever team to hold all major trophies at the same time.

With world-class stars like former World Handball Players of the Year Nikola Karabatic and Thierry Omeyer, the best defender in the world Didier Dinart and the most spectacular player Luc Abalo, France is like a wall in defence and a bulldozer in attack, unstoppable!

Below France, Croatia (Olympics champions 2004 and world champions 2003), Denmark (European champions 2008 and Silver medallist at the World championships 2011), Spain, Iceland or hosts Serbia are hope for medals.

Denmark, Spain and Sweden will host the last chance for the London 2012 tickets – the Olympics qualification tournaments on the Easter weekend 2012.

And by the end of May all the teams who will play at the London 2012 Olympics will be known.

Text: Björn Pazen

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Elite Coaching Scheme Launched

BRITISH Handball has launched a new elite coach development programme to ensure the growth of the sport in the UK continues long after the London Olympics.

Up-and-coming coaches across the country are being invited to take part in the scheme, which is a 12-month programme led by the Great Britain Olympic coaches supported by guest speakers from the world of handball, elite sport and beyond.

The scheme is being supported by both England Handball and Scottish Handball, who may where appropriate help individual participants with the costs of attending the course.

British Handball will provide significant resources to the initiative by providing head coach time, participant packs including work shop materials and DVDs, guest lecturers and other elite coach specialists, tickets to events, refreshments and lunch during the workshop days.

Participants will be asked to make a contribution of £250 towards these costs, and in addition participants will cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

The course will be based over several weekends, and will tie in with international matches where Great Britain will be competing – mainly in London at Crystal Palace.

There is a limit of 20 places on the scheme. For further details click here

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Battling GB Men Take on World Beaters

GREAT Britain Men took on some of their toughest opponents yet in France last weekend, competing in the prestigious Trophee Morbi Hand in Brittany against teams packed with Olympic and World champions.

Nantes have several international players who were among the best in the last World Championship, while top Spanish team Valladolid also boast many of the best players in Europe. And KIF Kolding are one of the best Danish clubs of all time.

The GB team competed well in the tournament, which formed an important part of their preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London next year.

Their first clash against Valladolid began well and they were trailing by just one goal at 5-6 in the early stages. But a pelvic injury to Seb Prieto was a set-back, and their opponents extended a bigger lead at the break.

GB’s shooting improved as the game went on, but Valladolid’s goalkeeper was in fine form and pulled off 23 saves to keep his side in a comfortable lead.

Seb Edgar scored four for Great Britain and Gawain Vincent, who was back on court after recovering from injury, added three in his ten minute spell on court.

The following day they took on KIF Kolding, and some great goalkeeping from Jesper Parker and Nick Satchwell enables GB to stay in touch with their rivals and were only trailing 5-7 after 15 minutes.

But with some key players out injured or unavailable, the pressure began to tell.

Mark Hawkins played well all round, scoring four goals and putting in an excellent defensive performance, while Chris McDermott (pictured) also scored four goals and Chris Mohr three.

The team are next in action against Israel in the qualifying stages of the 2013 World Championships in November.

* Photographs from GB Men’s matches in the Trophee Morbi Hand are available to view in the British Handball photo gallery

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GB Women Set for Venus Cup in France

FOR the third time this Summer, Great Britain women are in France this week preparing to compete against some of the best domestic teams in the Venus Cup in Marseille.

They will play three games in three days as part of the tournament, which is an important part of the preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London in less than a year.

They begin their campaign with a match against Handball Plan de Cuques on Friday, August 26, at 8.30pm, before taking on Nimes on Saturday evening (6.30pm).

Their final match will be against Toulon on Sunday afternoon before the closing ceremony and their return to Crystal Palace.

The tournament will also give the coaching staff a good opportunity to run the rule over their squad before preparations begin for their 2012 European Championship qualifying match in Montenegro in October.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GB Men Prepare For French Challenge

GREAT Britain Men are preparing to travel to France later this month to compete in a high-level club tournament at Vannes.

The Trophee Morbi’Hand will see top teams from France, Spain and Denmark compete in the two-day event on August 27-28.

The event is the latest that will see the Great Britain team gain valuable experience of different styles and levels of handball as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London in less than a year.

The team will arrive in the town on the 26th and, following a welcome at the Vannes Town Hall, they will train that evening.

Another training session on the morning of the 27th will be their final preparation for the clash with Spanish side Pevafersa Valladolid, following which Nantes HB will play Danish visitors KIF Kolding.

The following morning the GB players and staff will attend a promotion event with local schoolchildren before the competition continues.

Depending on the results on Saturday, the play-off for third spot will take place at 4pm, while the final is scheduled for 6pm with the closing ceremony shortly afterwards.

The 18-man GB team will be led by captain and goalkeeper Bobby White from Milton Keynes, and includes newcomer Simon Wittlin who debuted for GB during their training camp in Lanzarote this Summer.

Valladolid are one of the best Spanish domestic teams who compete each year in the European Champions League.

Led by Juan Carlos Pastor, the former Spanish national team coach, they boast many of the best players in Europe including Sierra, Gurbindo, Perales, as well as Frenchment Joli and Serbian players Nikcevic and Krivokapic.

KIF Kolding are one of the best Danish clubs of all time with a lot of great players from handball history such as Lars Christiansen, Bo Spelleberg, Lasse Boesen, Frederik Ohlander and Kasper Irming.

And Nantes are one of the top French handball teams. Led by Thierry Anti, they have some of the best players from last World Championship in Sweden such as Ekdahl Durietz of Sweden, Rivera of Spain, Pribak of Serbia, Italian Scatar and pivot Gharbi from Tunisia.

Monday, August 08, 2011

PHOTOS: GB Women in Stelioplast Cup

Photographs of Great Britain women in the the Stelioplast Cup in Germany are now available to view online.

Please go to our online photo album to see some excellent pictures by Thomas Prenosil, including some from GB's victory over Trier.

More of Thomas's work can be seen at http://www.thomasprenosil.de/

Sunday, August 07, 2011

GB Women Beat Bundesliga Opponents

GREAT Britain women secured a dramatic 26-25 victory over German Bundesliga outfit Trier in their final match of the Stelioplast Cup, bringing to an end a successful road trip into Europe for the London-based squad.

After beating the Japanese national side in a match in France earlier in the week, GB travelled to Wittlich in Germany to take part in the prestigious Stelioplast Cup which featured some of the world’s top sides including Champions League winners Larvik and Bayer Leverkusen.

Despite not having a full-strength squad due to club commitments, GB played well and grabbed a fantastic opportunity for the team to play against some of the very best players on the world stage and to continue to gain invaluable match experience as preparation for the Olympics.

Head Coach Jesper Holmris was slightly disappointed with the squad’s performance against Bayer Leverkusen where they lost by 11, but the team responded well against Larvik, eventually going down 21-10 but competing well in the first half against a team filled with Olympic gold medal winners.

The two losses meant a match against Bundesliga team Trier, and the team were determined to end the tournament with a win.

This duly came despite being behind for 58 of the 60 minutes. Zoe Van Der Weel scored the winner with a minute remaining to take the match 26-25.

Bury’s Kathryn Fudge (pictured) was in fine form and scored five - a feat matched by Holly Lam-Moores. And Jane Mayes - in goal for the absent Hargreaves - had a fine second half with over 50 per cent save rate to keep the Trier attack at bay.

“This has been a great preparation for the start of the season, giving our players the chance to play against the best players in the world,” said Holmris. “We have had some brilliant team and individual performances but we still need more consistency to put a string of top performances back to back.”

Thursday, August 04, 2011

GB Women Beat Japan in Opening Clash

GB women secured a thrilling 27-26 victory over Japan in the first of their friendly fixtures in France on Wednesday evening.

Despite having driven from London to Rouen earlier in the day and despite missing some key players, GB still managed to secure a victory.

Captain Lynn McCafferty was missing as she continues to recover from shoulder surgery, and despite a gruelling journey they produced a fantastic, hard fought victory where every player put in a great performance.

The coaches had expected the Japanese to be very quick but they were caught out by the British side and seemed totally unaware of the progress GB had made over the last few years.

The GB defence was at its best and backed up by a solid performance by Jane Mayes in goal. It was the British wingers who were the quick ones and Holly Lam Moores contributed 5 goals and Zoe Van de Weel (pictured) matched her efforts from the right wing.

Taking over the playmaker role was young Nina Heglund who also had a great game scoring five goals and combining well with Lyn Byl in the centre of defence.

After the win, Lam Moores said: “It was very tense at the end but it was amazing to beat one of the teams in our block of target nations.”

Monday, August 01, 2011

GB Women Invade Europe!

GREAT Britain women embark on their travels this week, heading to France twice and Germany once to play both international and top domestic clubs over the next ten days.

With most players having enjoyed their annual summer break, they should all be keen to get stuck into their pre-season tour which will provide a good mix of different levels and styles of handball.

The team will take on Japan in Rouen on Wednesday (August 3, 8pm), and again on Thursday (6pm) with both games being at the Centre Régional Jeunesse et Sport.

The team will then head for Germany for the Stelioplast Cup in Wittlich, where they will play in small groups of three before the knockout stages.

Their first match is on Saturday, August 6 (12.55pm) with German team Bayer Leverkusen being the opponents, and they will then take on Norwegian team Larvik at 6.35pm later the same day.

Depending on results from the first day, GB will then play teams from the other group which may include Trier, Leipzig (both Germany) and FC Midtjylland (Denmark).

Finally they will travel back to France where, on Thursday August 11 (7pm), they will take on hosts Abbeville at Rue Josse Van Robais, 80100, before taking on the Algerian national side on August 12.

COMPETITION: Handball Features on New Stamps

HANDBALL is one of ten sports featured on a new set of commemorative stamps that have just been released to mark one year to go to the London 2012 Olympics – and we have ten sets to give away!

The batch of 10 first-class stamps are entitled "Get ready for 2012", and as well as handball they feature depictions of classic Olympic sports such as field athletics and gymnastics as well as more recent additions to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including triathlon, handball and wheelchair rugby.

The stamps are the third and final set to be issued during a three-year Games countdown, with the total of 30 representing the largest Royal Mail commission since the Millennium series in 1999 and 2000.

Stephen Agar from the Royal Mail said the stamps were a celebration "of what is set to be a great event in UK sporting history".

To stand a chance of winning one of the sets, just email British Handball Media Officer Frazer Snowdon on newsdesk@snowdons.co.uk and tell us the date of the start of the London 2012 Olympics.

Entries close on August 8, and the winners will be selected at random.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just one year to British Handball's first Olympic Games

EXACTLY one year from now, GB handball athletes will be making their final preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Games!

While a home Olympics is a special event for everyone involved, for British Handball athletes and staff it is extra-special given that this is the first time Great Britain have been part of the Olympic handball competition.

As soon as London won the right to host the Olympic Games, British Handball officials sprung into action and began building teams that would be competitive at the Games and make Britain proud.

And now, with just 366 days remaining, British Handball remains on track to do just that.

“Everyone in our sport can be rightfully proud of what we have achieved in a short time; other nations have recognised the meteoric progress that the Great Britain teams have made on the court, and at home, handball has become a recognised school sport as an effect of the London Olympic Games,” said Paul Goodwin, British Handball’s CEO.

Goodwin went on to say “The next year is crucial to our future and we will continue to build on the strong foundations that we have laid, until handball is no longer Britain’s best kept secret”

And GB winger Mark Hawkins said: “One year to go is an enormous landmark, it really begins the final countdown.

“The atmosphere is already building, and as we come within a year to go it is only going to intensify as we get closer and really makes the games feel real.”

Lorraine Brown, British Handball's Performance Director said "The campaigns of both the GB men and GB women over the past 6 months have shown that both remain on track for their 2012 targets". "With one year to go, there is a focused effort being made by both squads, to leave no stone unturned."

A series of talent identification schemes and scouting missions across the world have brought together the best handball players Britain has to offer.

The athletes have all made many personal sacrifices to chase the Olympic dream – a dream which will become reality in one year’s time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

GB's Hawkins and Larsson on the Move

GREAT Britain winger Mark Hawkins and right back Steven Larsson have both signed for new clubs as their development into World-class handball players continues.

Hawkins, 25 and from Horsham in Sussex, is moving to Iceland to play for UMF Afturelding in the country’s top league. The move comes a year ahead of the London Olympics and follows three years playing for HK Aarhus Nord in Denmark.

And Larsson, who lives in Norway but has family in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been snapped up by Norwegian professional club Drammen HK.

Several international stars like Frode Hagen, Glenn Solberg and Kristian Kjelling have played at Drammen, and last year they finished second in the top Norwegian league.

“Last year they were second in the league, so this year we are hoping to be in the top three again,” said 30-year-old Larsson, pictured right. “But a lot of professional players have come back to the Norwegian League this year so it’s going to be a tough season.

“Hopefully we will have many good games, and we have also qualified for the European Cup so it will be a good build up for me towards London 2012.”

Meanwhile Hawkins, pictured left, said: “It's a fantastic opportunity to play in the top league of such a strong country. They develop so many good players physically and technically. It will be a great place to showcase myself.

“To be involved in a professional environment and playing for a team used to developing players will improve my game before next summer.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sporting Grants Available from Sportscover

THE personal sponsor of GB handball athlete Nina Heglund, Sportscover are offering the wider sporting community support through their innovative Sportscover Sponsorship Fund.

Grants of $750 are available to successful applicants from around the world in a host of sports, and 20 such grants are being made in 2011.

“Sportscover's desire to assist community sports led to the creation of the Sportscover Sponsorship Fund (SSF) as an avenue to sponsor a wide variety of amateur sports men and women, striving to achieve sporting greatness across a broad cross-section of sports.

“Over the last few years, the SSF has donated over $70,000 in $1000 grants to grass-roots sporting clubs and associations,” said Martin Kelly, Sportscover’s Marketing Manager.

Sportscover is the insurer of British Handball and Scottish Handball, but has links to many different sports across the world.

For details of the scheme, go to http://www.sportscover.com/supporting-sport.asp?id=2154

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

GB Women in Euro 2012 - More Details Released!

MORE details of Great Britain women’s 2012 European Championship campaign have been released.

Following their two-leg victory over Finland in a pre-qualifiers earlier this year, GB were drawn with Russia, Poland and Montenegro in the group stages, with home and away legs due to be played.

The first home game will be on October 22 against Russia at Crystal Palace, while the home game against Poland will be on March 21 2012, although a venue is yet to be announced.

And finally, the home game against Montenegro will also be at Crystal Palace on May 30.

The away dates have yet to be finalised, but GB will play in Montenegro on October 19/20, Poland on March 24/25 and Russia on June 2/3.

More details later.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

GB Men World Championship Draw

GREAT Britain Men will take on Israel and Austria in the 2013 World Championships qualification phase, after the draw was made in the Czech Republic on Sunday afternoon.

GB will play each of their opponents home and away in November and January, with the exact dates and venues yet to be decided.

The winner of the group after the qualification matches will then go through to the play-off stage of the Championships, with the finals taking place in Spain in January 2013.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

GB Goalkeepers Sign for Top Clubs

GREAT Britain goalkeepers Jesper Parker and Nicholas Satchwell are both celebrating after penning new deals with top clubs this month.

Parker (pictured left) has signed for Swedish champions Sävehof and has Champions League handball to look forward to next season, while Satchwell is moving to Swiss side RTV 1879 Basel, where he will be playing alongside many players with top international experience.

On his move, Parker said: “Sävehof are the current Swedish champions and that will give me daily contact with some of the best players in the Swedish league.

“Since we are soon moving into the last 12 months of preparation for the Olympic Games all players are looking to maximise the use of this short time, and I couldn't have dreamt of a better handball environment.

“Sävehof are aiming to defend their Swedish championship win of last season and do well in this season's Champions League run. I will have fantastic competition on the goalkeeper position in Sävehof but I will work hard to hold a competitive performance level.”

And Satchwell (right), who has become a strong part of the GB Men’s team in the short time he has been involved, said: “The level in the Swiss League is high with several players with experience internationally and from top-leagues such as the Bundesliga.

“The level of competition will be a step up for me. The club is ambitious and aim to reach the play-off stages of the Swiss league.

"The other goalkeeper at Basel is Swiss national team keeper Pascal Stauber who has a lot of international experience, so I hope I will be able to learn a lot from him.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Olympic Jobs Up for Grabs!

IF YOU are yet to secure your place on the London 2012 Olympics organising team, why not apply for a number of Games Time paid roles which are now up for grabs?

This is a great opportunity to utilise your sport related skills and experience to help London put on the ‘Greatest show on Earth’.

Opportunities available in handball will include: Administration Group Leader, Official Services Group Leader, Sport Information Group Leader, Athlete Services Group Leader, Field of Play Group Leader, Training Site Group Leader.

Roles will start from spring 2012, although you may be required to attend a test event from 23 Nov 2011 to 27 Nov 2011.

Please access these roles directly through the London 2012 website.

Those selected at CV stage will be invited to attend a recruitment selection day as a first stage of the interview process.

If successful and offered a Games Time role you may also be required to attend a test event relevant to your sport Competition role.

If you are seeking to gain a secondment from your existing role to take up a Games Time Role we advise you start talking with your employer now.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Victories Mark Good End to GB Men's Summer Tour

TWO wins over tough domestic Spanish teams helped Great Britain men’s handball team finish their summer tour on a high in Lanzarote this week.

Tough stints in Turkey and Brazil saw the team gain huge experience of different styles and levels of handball, and they took those lessons forward into the final leg of the tour on the Canary Island.

GB took on ambitious Spanish Second Division team San Jose Obrero in their first match in Arrecife on Thursday, and after a slow start which saw them 15-16 down, they hit back well after the break to win 34-26.

That match marked a good debut for Simon Witlin (pictured), who plays in the First Division in Switzerland. Standing at 1.98 metres and weighting 111kg, Witlin made a real impact in defence alongside Robin Garnham and Steven Larsson and chipped in with a couple of goals.

Jesper Parker finished with a great 50 per cent save ratio in goal, while Nicholas Satchwell also did well with 42 per cent. Larsson top-scored with seven goals, while Seb Edgar scored six and Seb Prieto five.

And 24 hours later the team took on a Canary Isles Select team, which included some of the region’s top players, and performed well in a 39-29 victory.

"It was a good run-out for us,” said assistant coach Bill Baillie. “We really needed to stamp our authority on the game in the first 10-15 minutes so we didn’t feel under pressure for the rest of the game.

“We were up by 13 goals after the first ten minutes, so that enabled us to give all the squad a good run out.

“It has been a good finish to our summer tour to have two wins, but the main thing we have gained over the last month or so has been the experience we got in Brazil and Turkey.

“This squad has moved up a level as a result and we look forward to continuing that progression soon.”

GB Men are next in action at the end of August, when they will take part in a four-team tournament in France where they will play against teams from France, Denmark and Spain which include some of the best players in Europe.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GB Men Continue Summer Tour in Lanzarote

GREAT Britain Men are in Lanzarote this week on a training camp, and will play two matches against local Spanish sides as their Summer Tour continues.

The team were in Brazil last week, where they took on the Brazilian national side three times in a bid to gain experience of as many different styles of handball as possible.

Matches on Thursday and Friday will mark the last of the current tour which has seen the GB men play hosts Turkey before their Brazil stay.

There were plenty of positives to come from the tough matches against Brazil, who included several players with Olympic and World Championship experience in the team as they prepare for the Pan-American Games later this summer.

Long-term injury victim Bobby White (pictured) marked his debut as captain in the second match, almost a year to the day since he last played, with Brazil securing a 35-22 win, while GB were much improved in their third game and only lost 25-16 after a much-improved defensive display.

The GB Men return to their clubs across the world following the Lanzarote camp, and are next together at the end of August for a Tournament in France.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Improved Defence from GB in Final Brazil Clash

A MUCH-improved defensive display from Great Britain Men saw them compete with an experienced Brazil side for long periods, before going down 25-16 in their final friendly match in Sao Paolo on Thursday night.

Both captain Bobby White and Nicholas Satchwell were strong in goal and both had save ratios of around 40 per cent, while their team-mates were also strong in defence against a Brazil side which was unchanged from the one which beat GB 35-22 earlier in the week.

Chris Mohr (pictured) scored five goals for GB while vice-captain Steven Larsson added three, but their inability to convert more chances ultimately cost them the game.

Assistant Coach Bill Baillie said afterwards: “It was a much improved defensive display, but we were unable to convert the many clear chances we created, missing seven clear shots from six metres out and three fast breaks due to rushed shots and good goalkeeping.

“But it has been great experience for our young squad, which averages 23 years old, whereas the experienced Brazil side average over 27.”

The GB team will now return to London for a short time before heading out to Lanzarote for another training camp next week.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Brazil Clash Marks Captain's Return from Injury

NEW Great Britain handball captain Bobby White made his first start as skipper against Brazil on Tuesday, finishing the match with an impressive 34 per cent save ratio in his first competitive run-out in a year following hip surgery.

But White (pictured), from Milton Keynes, was unable to help his side to victory, with a strong Brazilian attack – assisted by World Championship veterans Silva and Nascimento - helping to secure a 35-22 victory.

“The first half performance was good and we created lots of chances,” said Assistant Coach Bill Baillie. “But we were unable to convert some and this cost the team as it did in the first game.

“The players need these minutes on the court if they are to become competitive and we will be ready for the third game.”

Despite still recovering from a stomach upset which ruled him out of training the day before the match, Steven Larsson top-scored for GB with six goals, while Chris Mohr added five and Seb Edgar three.

A knee injury ruled out John Pearce, but there was a first full international cap for Jack Hennessey.

GB are preparing to take on Brazil in the third and final game of the series on Thursday night, but have injury doubts over Chris McDermott (bruised ribs), Chris Mohr (thigh injury) and John Pearce (knee injury).

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Battling GB Men Narrowly Lose to Brazil

GREAT Britain Men gave hosts Brazil a tough match in their opening friendly fixture on Sunday, drawing with them in the closing stages before eventually losing out 32-25 in Sao Paolo.

Nine goals from Chris Mohr helped GB give their hosts a shock, and with just eight minutes remaining the scores were all square at 21-21.

Brazil pulled away to victory in the final few minutes but knew they had been in a tough match, and GB will be looking to secure a win in their remaining two matches over the coming days.

Assistant Coach Bill Baillie said afterwards: “It was a good start to the series for us. We were competitive for long periods.

“It was a good all-round performance from the team and a good chance to experience a different style of handball.”

As well as Mohr’s nine goals, Mark Hawkins and Steven Larsson both scored five, while Nicholas Satchwell in goal had an impressive save ratio of 38 per cent.

GB will play Brazil again on June 7 and June 9 (midnight GMT each day), giving them plenty of chance to try different formations and learn from the experience.

GB Women v Finland: Pictures now online!

PICTURES from Great Britain Women's Euro 2012 victory over Finland are now available to view!

From the British Handball homepage, please click the "Gallery" link on the left to see the action from Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London.

Thanks to Marek Biernacki, Michele Davison and Mathilde Friggieri for the photographs!

Alternatively, please go to www.picasaweb.google.com/britishhandball

Sunday, June 05, 2011

GB Men Set for Brazil Series

GREAT Britain Men take on Brazil in the first of three friendly fixtures in Sao Paolo this afternoon (1530 GMT).

As part of their plan to gain experience of a wide variety of handball styles, GB are in Brazil for an eight-day training camp, and Assistant Coach Bill Baillie said: “The plan this year is to test ourselves against Asian and Pan-American teams, so going to Brazil will be very good for us.”

Following Sunday’s match, GB will play Brazil again on June 7 and June 9 (midnight GMT each time), giving them plenty of chance to try different formations and learn from the experience.

Head Coach Dragan Djukic has virtually a full squad to pick from, and Baillie added: “We’re injury free at the moment, with perhaps just one or two little niggles, but nothing serious.”

New captain Bob White is in Brazil and is back in action following recovery from hip surgery earlier this year, and Baillie added: “Bob White may see some action later in the week. The main focus is more on Nick Satchwell and Jesper Parker, but Bob will definitely play at some point.”

For their part, Brazil are just embarking on a new development programme for their handball side, and are working with a core group of new players rather like GB were a few years ago.

Following their matches against Great Britain, Brazil are also hosting Denmark, Norway and Portugal as they prepare for the Pan American Games in October.

Reports suggest they have three or four injuries in their squad, with those players unlikely to see action against GB as they try to recover in time for Denmark later this month.

Jubilant GB Progress to Euro 2012 Group Stages

A SECOND successive victory over Finland at Crystal Palace on Saturday evening gave Great Britain women a spot in the group stages of the 2012 European Championship.

Following Friday’s nine-goal win, GB made sure of their passage through to the next stage with a 27-20 win on Saturday.

They will now prepare to take on Russia, Montenegro and Poland home and away in six matches over the next year, and are under no illusions about the challenge ahead.

And leading the plaudits following an emphatic win was Sir Clive Woodward, the British Olympic Association’s Elite Performance Director, for whom the GB win was his first taste of live handball and prompted rave reviews afterwards.

"I thought it was fantastic,” he said afterwards. “The athleticism and physicality was very impressive and it was a great game to watch.

"Success starts from the top and British Handball really have the leadership and the organisation right and that filters down into the rest of the team.”

Meanwhile, Head Coach Jesper Holmris said: “The first half was fantastic – the best performance we have had so far.”

GB led 17-4 at half time, and Holmris added: “Finland played much better than they did in the first leg, but our defence was just amazing and Sarah Hargreaves in goal was awesome in the first half.

“Both Lynn McCafferty (pictured with Holly Lam-Moores) and Lyn Byl also played really well, but the whole team played their part.”

McCafferty was joint top scorer with seven goals alongside Kelsi Fairbrother, while Byl added four goals to help reach the group stages which begin with a match against Russia in October.

“Russia and Montenegro are two of the top teams in the world,” added Holmris. “It’s a tough group, but it’s just a great chance for us to play against those teams.”

Saturday, June 04, 2011

GBR v FIN - Women's Euro 2012 1st Phase Qualification, Saturday 4th June Audio Commentary

Paul Bray commentating live from Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London
First Half
Second Half (starts 5 mins in)

Friday, June 03, 2011

GB Women Secure Emphatic Victory Over Finland

A NINE-goal victory over Finland on Friday evening helped Great Britain women’s handball team put one foot into the group stages of the 2012 European Championship at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London.
Their 31-22 victory came despite some periods of slack play, but overall will give GB great hope of progressing to the next stages of the competition, as long as they can win on aggregate following Saturday’s second leg against the Finnish side.

“The result is very good,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris. “Especially as we didn’t play as well as we know we can.

“We started well and were 6-1 up after about ten minutes, but then we let Finland dictate and started to play their game, and our defence wasn’t as good as it can be.

“But in the second half we corrected a lot of our errors, and our wingers especially played well and scored from 13 of their 15 shots at goal. And Kathryn Fudge (pictured) had a very good performance in attack for us and top-scored with six goals.

"The win was more comfortable than we expected, but we should aim to perform better in the second leg. We always think that our own performance is more important than the result, and for that reason we will be looking to correct some mistakes tomorrow.”

Great Britain take on Finland in the second leg at Crystal Palace tomorrow (June 4) starting at 7.30pm. The match is the finale of a day of action which sees four England Handball Cup finals take place throughout the day.