GB handball review
GB handball keeper Laura Innes gives us her match reports from the London Handball Cup.
Last Updated: 30/11/11 6:34pm
Great Britain handball goalkeeper Laura Innes was part of the squad at the Handball Arena for the London Handball Cup, the official test event for the London 2012 Olympic competition.
After an opening victory over African champions Angola, Britain they faced eventual winners Austria and Slovakia, here Laura, who is also a Sky Sports blogger, gives us her match reports from the big games.
GB v Austria
After the high of our victory over Angola we were now due to face Austria in the second of our group games. They are an opponent we are a little familiar with and have played three times and lost three times over a space of 18 months. This meant we knew we had a really tough task ahead of us- and based on their loss to Angola we had to secure another win to progress further in the competition.
I received good news regarding my injury- and after testing myself out in training on Thursday was declared fit to play! I was over the moon. For me, this was the start of the tournament and although I had been in the arena and trained the previous day, the feeling of lining up for my first international in 14 months, in the Olympic arena was incredible. Singing the national anthem whilst stood side by side with my team is honestly one of the best feelings in the world.
The match began and we started badly, finding it difficult to get our first goal on the scoreboard. Our attack performance improved form then, yet we were struggling in defence- normally our strongest aspect of the game. This made it a difficult game for us and our performance was disappointing. The team was different to the one that faced Angola only 2 days before and this meant we were unable to secure the victory needed to progress to the semi-finals.
I got a spell in goal for the final 15 mins and although I was pleased to play, the result left a lot to be desired. Although 1 win from our group was a good result for us, and met the goals we had set for ourselves, it was a shame that the last match was how it was.
We are now determined to come out stronger tomorrow and take away what we can learn from this match for our third and final game of the tournament against Slovakia.
GB v Slovakia
Today we were determined to come out a much better side than yesterday and make the most of our last competitive match in the Olympic arena- a venue we are all so grateful to have as a new facility for the Games and the legacy afterwards.
We started slowly again in this match but fought our way back into the game. Slovakia are strong opponents with a good defence and some very good individual players. GB stepped up our own defensive performance and after a difficult beginning, began shutting down the Slovakians attack.
We went on to have a great defensive second half, with them only scoring 6 goals (whilst we scored 8) Yet were unable to capitalise on the opportunities we created from this solid backline and lost the game 22-17.
Of course it is never nice to lose, but we fought hard throughout the game and had made significant improvements from only the day before. It was our lack of experience in attack that decided the game and is something we have as a big focus for the coming months. We are training together consistently in Crystal Palace on a daily basis, allowing us to develop our on court relationships and have already seen massive gains.
This week has been massively productive for us. Participating in a tournament that simulates the Games is an invaluable experience and we have taken many things away to work on. It also has a fantastic "goosebump factor" and makes you believe that dreams can turn into reality.
Thank you to all staff, volunteers and supporters who have made this a great Test Event, we hope you have enjoyed it as much as us!