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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.