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Thursday, May 31, 2012

GB Women show promise in final home match before Olympics

A STRONG first half performance from Great Britain women was not enough for them to overcome the challenge of Montenegro at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London in their final competitive home match before the Olympic Games.

GB were trailing by just two goals at 12-14 at half time in their penultimate Euro 2012 qualification match on Wednesday evening, but couldn’t maintain their early pressure and as the visitors – who included many from the Champions League winning Buducnost side - ran out 22-37 winners.

Five goals from Lyn Byl (pictured) made her GB’s top scorer, while Ewa Palies and Marie Gerbron added three each, but it was a strong defensive effort from Great Britain which caused Montenegro such problems before the break.

However, GB couldn’t sustain their effort, and Katarina Bulatovic ended as the match’s best scorer with nine, while Biljana Pavicevic added eight.

“It was a very good first half and it was the best we can play,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris. “But we need more performances like the first half because I am not happy with the second half.

“A few of our key players ran out of steam and we made too many technical mistakes, and at this level teams like Montenegro will punish you.”

GB Women now travel to Russia for their final Euro 2012 match, and will be looking to put in a good performance against a side they are due to meet in the Olympics.

* Before the match, Holmris had taken part in the draw for the 2012 Olympic Handball Tournament, which set his team against Angola, Brazil, Croatia, Russia and Montenegro.

The Great Britain men’s team were drawn in what is widely seen as a tougher group, which includes Tunisia, Argentina, Iceland, Sweden and France.

With the draw having been made, the fixtures for the Olympic Handball Tournament will be confirmed shortly, but GB women look set to start on July 28 with a game against Montenegro (7.30pm), while GB men will start the next day, July 29, against France (7.30pm start).

* Photo: Ian Hebden.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

GB Women preparing for Montenegro challenge

SOME tickets are still available for the Euro 2012 clash between Great Britain Women and Montenegro at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Wednesday.

The penultimate match of Great Britain’s qualifying campaign, it will provide the team with vital top-level match experience ahead of this summer’s London Olympics.

The team have played Holland twice in friendly fixtures recently as well as Hungarian and Danish domestic teams, which will have given the team an edge which could help them give Montenegro a run for their money in Wednesday’s match, which begins at 7pm.

Prior to the match, the draw for the Olympic handball tournament will take place with officials from the International Handball Federation, London 2012 and Team GB present to oversee proceedings.

GB Men enter final Olympic preparation phase

GREAT Britain men’s handball team have begun the final preparation phase of their journey to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and now have a series of camps and competitions.

Currently in Serbia for two weeks, the squad will be focusing on strength and conditioning for the first period before taking on some top domestic competition is friendly fixtures.

From there they will travel to Italy to take part in the four-team qualifying group of the 2014 European Championships. They will face the hosts Italy as well as Switzerland and Greece in their group.

While in Serbia, the team will undergo a series of gruelling tests and drills under the watchful eye of Serbian Head Coach Dragan Djukic and his team of specialist coaches, all of which are designed to leave the team in optimum shape to be competitive with the best teams in the world at this summer’s Olympic Games.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Narrow defeat for GB Women in Holland

GREAT Britain Women came within one goal of beating 2012 European Championship finalists Holland in a friendly fixture played in Geleen on Wednesday.

Six goals each from Kathryn Fudge and Marie Gerbron helped underpin the great performance, while Zoe Van Der Weel scored four and Kelsi Fairbrother and Lyn Byl added three each. And there was a good 44 per cent save ratio from the GB goalkeepers.

The second of two matches, GB looked sharp and their performance was a world away from the one they put on 24 hours earlier when they lost convincingly to the same side having arrived in the country just hours earlier.

The latest in a series of friendly fixtures, the match was just one of the ways the team are preparing for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.