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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Girvan Nets Seven Goals on Comeback

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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GB Men Prepare for Winter Tour

GREAT Britain men take on Lithuania today (Dec 27) in the first of a series of matches forming part of their Winter tour.

The team arrived in Latvia on Boxing Day, and will play friendly fixtures against Lithuania, Estonia and hosts Latvia on Dec 27, 28 and 29 respectively, 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.

Captain Bobby White said: “Austria will come with an extremely strong side having recently appointed a new coach and given that the majority of their players are playing in The Bundesliga in Germany, it is safe to say we will have a tough job on our hands.

“The Austrians are capable of fantastic results, especially on home soil where they have beaten Beijing 2008 Silver Medallists’ Iceland. Having said that, we know if we perform to the best of our ability, we could make it yet another interesting match here at Crystal Palace, especially with a vocal home crowd behind us!”

And after those matches, their winter tour continues with a visit to Serbia, where they will play Serbia’s Under-21 side twice in friendly fixtures on Jan 12 and 13 respectively, before the camp ends and they return home on January 17.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Larsson Named Athlete of the Year

STEVEN Larsson has been named as the British Olympic Association’s Handball Athlete of the Year after a string of impressive performances for the GB men’s handball team.

The Yorkshire-born right back, 30, was picked out for his powerful defensive displays as well as his free-scoring ways which helped the team notch up several international victories and is expected to play a big part in the team for the London Olympics next year.

“It’s a big honour to be selected as the Handball Athlete of the Year, and I’m proud to achieve such a reward for my home country,” he said.

“Things have been going really well for me as an athlete but more importantly for the British team as a whole. Let’s hope we can keep on going forward and improving as a team in the last few months that are remaining until London 2012!”

Larsson will be part of the GB team which embarks on a lengthy tour over the next few weeks, taking in training camps and matches in Latvia and Serbia, as well as playing Austria at home and away.

The home leg is at 2pm on January 8 at Crystal Palace.