1. ITV Report

GB's Handball team lose in Loughborough

GB's handball team lose in Loughborough Photo: ITV Central News

Great Britain's Handball team were taught something of a lesson by Poland in their European qualifier at Loughborough University yesterday.

Having kept to within two points of their opponents at half time they found themselves all but crushed in the second half, finally losing 20 - 33.

Most of the British players are hoping for Olympic selection but after this defeat it is clear they have a lot of work to do in a very short time.

Head coach, Jesper Holmris, said: "We did well in the first half but the second half was not good. We are really struggling with the physique, the girls we are playing against are much bigger and much stronger so we have to go back and look at the tactics and technically we have to improve"

"The girls we are playing against are much bigger and much stronger so we have to go back and look at the tactics"

– Jesper Holmris, Head coach

Among the squad is goalkeeper Laura Innes from Sutton Coldfield. She made some good saves when she came off the bench towards the end of the game, but eventually the Polish onslaught got the better of her too.

If you are not familiar with Handball, think football, but using hands not feet, players can run with the ball. So no dribbling required- which means a frantic pace. You can get the ball from your opponent by intercepting a pass or simply by grabbing it off them. It is a 'contact' sport. In fact there's a lot of contact. It's very physical and players are regularly sent crashing to the ground following unforgiving challenges.

Injuries are a regular occurrence. The team's Physio, Lauren Bradshaw is from Gedling in Nottinghamshire.

"We do get a lot of injuries, for me it's an enjoyable challenge, to help the players as much as possible."

"The most serious injuries we've had in the past are back injuries, one player was out for 18 months with a back injury".

"We do get a lot of injuries"

– Lauren Bradshaw, Physiotherapist

Aside from the injuries there is a lot to enjoy about Handball. Its sheer pace means there is never a dull moment for spectator or competitor. And according to the British Handball association it is the fastest growing sport in the country.

A medal at the Olympics would further enhance its reputation, but by the time the team return to Loughborough, their holding camp for the week before the Olympics, they'll need to have made some significant improvements to have a chance of the kind of success they desire.