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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.

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