MISSING some key players, Great Britain men went down a narrow 34-30 defeat to Lithuania in the opening match of a four-way tournament in Latvia on Tuesday.
BOA handball athlete of the year Steven Larsson is unavailable for the first leg of their winter tour because of club commitments in Norway, while another first choice back player Martin Hare was also missing and Merlin Braithwaite is out with a knee injury.
Nevertheless GB battled well, with good displays from Alex Girvan (pictured) – returning to the squad after ten months out injured – while right winger Seb Prieto found his range after missing three months because of injury.
Girvan top-scored with seven, while Prieto added six goals, and Great Britain will be aiming to build on their good display in Wednesday's clash with Estonia.
Assistant coach Bill Baillie said afterwards: “A poor first half display cost us the game, with five shots hitting the post and eight technical faults.
“This meant we were chasing the game and although we reduced the deficit to two several times in the second half, we were unable to close the gap.”
After playing Estonia on Thursday they take on hosts Latvia on Friday, as preparation for their 2013 World Championship clashes with Austria.
From Latvia, they will go to Hungary to prepare for their first clash against Austria in Tulln on Jan 5, following which they will come to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London for the home leg, on Jan 8 at 2pm.