Ravenscraig lends hand to stage international

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INTERNATIONAL handball comes to Motherwell as Great Britain take on Italy in a 2016 European Championship qualification match at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Centre on Thursday.

It is the first time a GB side has competed on home soil since the London 2012 Olympics, and a large crowd is expected to watch a side which contains many of the stars of the Games.

The Great Britain squad is under the expert guidance of their Scottish head coach Bill Baillie, and will be aiming to secure their first victory in the competition following a hard-fought defeat in Greece back in October.

UK Sport recently withdrew funding from the elite squads, but sponsors including Iceland Stores, Wm Grant and Sons Ltd and North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) have ensured the match goes ahead.

Following the clash with Italy, the GB team take on Greece at Crystal Palace on Sunday, April 7,

Captain Bobby White said: “We will be going into these matches with confidence, knowing that when we’re at our best we can compete with these teams.

“In June 2012 we lost narrowly to both teams away in Italy but I am hoping that on home soil, with a home crowd behind us we can go that little bit further and go for the win.

“We have some great talent coming through from the Under-19s, and if we can maintain some kind of momentum I think the future of this team will be in good hands.”

NLL chief executive Blane Dodds said: “We are delighted once again to be working in partnership with the Scottish Handball Association (SHA) to bring this prestigious handball international to Ravenscraig.

“Handball is a massive international sport with a particularly high profile in Scandinavia, Europe and many other parts of the world.”