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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Britain Aim for Italian Job

GREAT Britain Men take on Italy in their opening clash of the Loughborough Three Nations Series on Friday evening, with their rivals eager to taste victory following an opening day defeat to Turkey on Thursday.

Italy went down 28-33 to Turkey in Thursday evening’s clash after a late fightback by the Turks proved enough to snatch the win.

The GB squad witnessed Thursday’s clash, and will be taking nothing for granted after seeing great fighting spirit and skill from both sides.

“It was a really good game,” said Great Britain captain Ciaran Williams, pictured. “They are both strong teams and have some really talented individuals, but Italy are younger than Turkey, and that may have proved the difference.

“These two teams are both of a really good standard, and we’re looking forward to the test.”

Ahead 15-13 at half time, Italy posed a threat to the Turkish defence from across the court, but it was right back Michele Skatar who scored eight goals, while left backs Flavio Messina and Tin Tokic added four each.

However, Turkey’s second half fightback proved too strong, with right back Done Ramazan their top scorer with nine goals, while right back Omar Arifoglu and left winger Tan Idris both scoring five goals.

GB have been in Loughborough all week training, and Williams added: “The facilities here are great. It’s been really tough for us because we’ve been doing a lot of tests, but all the squad are fitter and sharper, and this week has really helped us bring it all together.”

Nine months have passed since Great Britain recorded their first competitive victory, beating Bulgaria by one goal in the qualifying stages of the 2012 European Championships.

And the team are eager to show how much they have improved - starting with tonight’s match against Italy.
Several training camps and a tough domestic season later, Great Britain will be keen to get on court once again.

“I’m back fully fit now for the first time in ages, so I can’t wait to get on court,” said Williams, who was not 100 per cent for the Euro 2012 campaign.

“The atmosphere in the camp is great, we’re all really up for this and want to show what we can do. We’ve played training matches since last year, but this is the first international clash so we’re all really up for it.”

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