British Handball: Up and down results on the road to progress

A flurry of recent news articles on British Handball reinforce the premise that handball development is rarely a straight line march towards respectability. The British women wrapped up their Euro 2010 qualification campaign with a respectable showing in Glasgow against Austria (23-17 loss) and a crushing defeat against France in Lille (34-15). The match in Glasgow, complete with bagpipes was closely fought until the final 15 minutes. With Austria needing a win to keep their qualification hopes alive this was no „Friendly“ match and Britain was justified in seeing this result as a sign of resilience following an embarassing 20 goal loss to Iceland in April. Unfortunately, they weren‘t able to follow up with a respectable score line against France on Sunday, but overall they have to be pleased with the progress shown in their 6 pool play matches.

The British men are gearing up for Euro 2012 qualification. Later this month they will host Cyprus, Estonia and Bulgaria in a 4 team round robin with the winner qualifying for group play throughout the 2010-2011 season. These 3 opponents are bottom tier European Handball nations and as host Britain could have a shot at qualifying. This past Friday they notched their first win against a European side in 4 years with a 26-24 win against Belgium in Brussels. The next day, however, an injury depleted side lost to the same team 36-22. Injuries are part of the game, though, in this poor result suggest that Britain lacks depth and may not be quite ready to take the next step.

For more on the British team check out these articles and in particular the BBC video feature on British Women‘s Captain Lynn McCafferty. This 8 minute story highlights the sacrifices she‘s making to pursue her Olympic dream and includes highlights of Britain‘s match vs Austria.

THN (3 Nov 09): British Men participate in 4 Nations Tournament in Luxembourg; Ireland and Scotland take part in EHF Challenge Cup:
THN (5 Apr 10): British women with disappointing results against Iceland:
British Handball (28 May 10): GB Men Beat Belgium as Euro 2012 Build-Up Continues:
VIDEO: BBC (28 May 10): Mr & Mrs Handball sacrifice married life for Olympic goal:
British Handball (28 May 10): McCafferty: I'm Proud of the Team:
British Handball (28 May 10): Coach: GB were Passionate, Dedicated and Motivated:
British Handball (29 May): Depleted GB Men Lose Out to Belgium:
British Handball (30 May 10): Euro 2010: GB Women Take on World No 2: