GB women's handball team test world champions Russia despite defeat

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GB women's handball team in army training before Russia clash

Great Britain's women pushed handball world champions Russia far closer than expected before succumbing to a 24-16 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Britain lost 34-18 to Montenegro in Wednesday's opening Group Three Euro 2012 qualifier, and were expected to struggle more against Russia.

But they restricted Russia to a narrow 14-10 lead at half-time and remained competitive throughout.

Britain resume their Euro 2012 campaign against Poland on 21 March.

GB captain Lynn McCafferty led from the front against Russia with three goals, while Holly Lam-Moores, Kathryn Fudge, Lyn Byl, Ewa Palies and Victoria Jukes each scored twice.

Goalkeeper Sarah Hargreaves had a fine game, making 13 saves in the second half to prevent a heavier defeat.

"We're really happy with the performance," McCafferty told British Handball News.

"After Montenegro we worked on several areas of our game to identify what we could do better. We worked on our defence and some of the little mistakes we made, and I think we've shown today that we managed to fix things."

She added: "We can take so many positives away from the game and feel good that we're learning so much from this week.

"We can have confidence that we know how to address our weaknesses. But people in the handball world won't take us for granted now, so we need to keep up the hard work."

Britain are next in action at the Olympic test event, taking place from 23-27 November at the Handball Arena in the Olympic Park, where they will be joined by Austria, Angola, China, Poland and Slovakia.

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