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