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Tuesday, November 30, 2010
After a long journey from the airport to their base at Lublin - which included a nine-hour coach journey because of the heavy snow which is blighting much of Europe - the team are safely in their hotel.
However, their first rivals Austria have yet to arrive in Poland after their flight was cancelled because of the worsening weather.
The team spent last week in Limburg, Holland, and played three friendlies against top Dutch domestic teams which saw them unbeaten.
The squad were in Holland as guests of sponsors Tasty Limburg, and took part in several promotional events, which even included a trip to a luxury spa!
The whole team - with the exception of goalkeeper Sarah Hargreaves, who was yet to arrive - played a part in the friendlies.
The matches proved excellent preparation for the World Championships, and GB recorded a 37–25 victory over Bevo and a 32–23 victory over Quintus.
With Hargreaves not due to meet up with the squad until Monday in Poland it was a great opportunity for debutant Jane Mayes to show what she could do in goal and she responded with over 42 per cent save ratio in both games.
There were excellent performance throughout but Louise Jukes and Ewa Palies in particular showed a ruthless streak in front of goal.
“The camp in Holland went really well because all our players except Hargreaves were available and especially against Quintos as they had an international physique, very tall,” said head coach Jesper Holmris.
“We are very happy that we now have more players ready to play at this top level but we still need to progress so we can have a very hard preparation before each major tournament where all the players are able to have significant court time so our key players are not playing 60 minutes in all our matches.”
Now in Poland and well prepared for the qualification matches, GB’s schedule is:
Dec 1, GB v Austria, 17.00
Dec 2, GB v Slovakia 17.00
Dec 3, GB v Cyprus 18.15
Dec 5, GB v Poland 15.15
Reflecting on their forthcoming games, Holmris added: “We have not seen Slovakia but we know they will be very strong, along with Austria and Poland so we know it is going to be a very tough competition but it is just another big challenge on the way to London.
“We know we have to bring our very best to these matches and everyone has to play to their maximum but we know we have improved significantly since this event two years ago.
“We have belief in our defence and our goal keepers but we know we still must keep working hard to develop our attack at this level.”
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The squad will be staying in Limburg this week, mixing training sessions with training matches against domestic Dutch clubs - as well as helping GB shirt sponsor TastyLimburg with a number or promotional activities.
The team will take on Loreal on Thursday evening, and then visit a local school on Friday afternoon before playing Bevo HC that evening.
On Saturday they will play a third local side, before another promotional event with Limburg at a local spa.
The team will travel to Poland on Monday to begin preparations for the qualification matches, which start on Wednesday, December 1, with a clash against familiar rivals Austria at the Globus Hall, Lublin.
2011 Women’s World Championships
Dec 1: Great Britain v Austria
Dec 2: Great Britain v Slovakia
Dec 3: Great Britain v Cyprus
Dec 5: Great Britain v Poland
The event, on December 4, has already attracted several entries, but further teams can enter via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Ten teenaged pupils travelled to Das Gymnasium am Rothenbuhl, and received handball coaching from some of the best names in the business - including 2007 World Champion Christian Schwarzer!
Following the visit the school is now trying to set up a handball club, with dozens of children eager to carry on playing the sport.
Teacher Christine Abrams said: “In September, 16 pupils from Germany visited us at Boston Grammar, and experienced cricket, rugby and netball - and thoroughly enjoyed their experience.
“The return visit took place in October, to Das Gymnasium am Rothenbühl which is an Elite School for sport and currently winner of the schools handball trophy.
“The Boston pupils stayed with host families and during the day encountered handball, wrestling and indoor climbing. But the most popular sport by far was handball!
“Taught at the Olympic Centre in Saarbrücken, the facilities were a dream. Pupils were initially coached by Oskar Dawo, a qualified coach and sports psychologist from GaR.
“But the highlight of the stay was a morning’s training session with Christian Schwarzer, 2007 Handball World Champion. He gave the pupils a more advanced insight into the game, provided tips and tricks and then refereed a match between the German and British pupils.
“Despite fighting hard and proving that British pupils are quick at learning new sports, the game was won by the more experienced team from GaR.”
Having returned home with the handball bug, the school is now hoping to maintain the enthusiasm for handball by sending PE staff on coaching courses and then integrating it into the curriculum.
The schools will exchange once again next year, and are looking forward to some more expert handball coaching!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Holly Lam-Moores (pictured) has signed for top Danish club Sønderjyske after a string of impressive performance for her previous club.
And John Pearce, 23 and from Dorset, has moved to Norway to play for First Division side Lillestrom Topphandball.
20-year-old Lam-Moores from Warrington has been in great form for SK Aarhus, and caught the eye of the coach for Liga club Sønderjyske, who play further south close to the German border.
“When they offered me Liga handball, of course my answer was yes” said Holly. “Their left wing is out injured for eight months, so they needed me straight away.
“I am the only left wing there which means I’m playing 60 minutes in virtually every game which was my main reason for going. I wouldn't have gone if I had to be second choice as I was playing 60 minutes in my old club.”
Holly had a baptism of fire at Sønderjyske, with her debut match being against Champions League winners and Danish champions Viborg in the Nordea Cup semi final!
“I played for 60 minutes and scored three goals - it was a dream come true,” she added. “I found it hard to adjust in defence as the game is ten times faster at the level, but I found my way and ended up with a solid performance.
“This is a perfect opportunity for me to gain experience in the top league this close to the Olympics. It will be extremely tough and means I will have to lower my expectations, but throwing myself in at the deep could make me a better handball player.”
Meanwhile, Pearce has moved to Lillestrom Topphandball where he will line up against fellow GB players Ciaran Williams and Seb Prieto who play in the same league for Tistedal Halden.
“I’ve moved for the chance to play with a First Division team, as a lack of court time meant it was sensible to look for another option,” he said.
“The transfer was also delayed for injury reasons, having recovered from a broken foot and groin injury. But I’m glad to be here now and getting some good court time.”
The Polish authorities have asked us to travel as a group where possible, and want to know how many supporters will be present so they can arrange tickets in advance and seat British fans together.
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Thursday, November 04, 2010
British Handball have struck a deal with GLL and Olympia Handball Club which will eventually see many of the national team players based at Crystal Palace and using GLL’s facilities to train and play.
Under the agreement national team players will stay on site, while GLL and their partners will try to find work placements for the athletes across the region.
And Crystal Palace will also become the home of Olympia Handball Club, with National League matches played there along with GB training camps and international fixtures.
Athletes will have the opportunity to work and gain qualifications through GLL’s numerous employment schemes. GLL will also become the British Handball ‘London Strategic Sports Partner’ and sponsor key matches.
In addition, Olympia will be engaging with the local community to increase awareness of the sport and to develop junior coaching at Crystal Palace.
“This partnership provides a real choice for our athletes to train and compete in a high performance environment not presently available to GB players in the UK,” said British Handball’s CEO Paul Goodwin.
“Until now they have had to learn their trade in more established handball countries. But this is the first phase of Project Homecoming where the players will be brought together in London ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, and is a real example of Olympic legacy as the centre will provide for new British Handball talent to take us beyond 2012.”
And Tony Wallace from GLL added: “We are delighted to have established this partnership agreement with British Handball and the Olympia Handball Club and are extremely proud that Crystal Palace National Sports Centre will now be home to the High Performance Centre.”