Previous to Great Britain’s encounter with Slovenia, I headed to Denmark for three weeks at the beginning of June and I began training with my new club, First Division team AGF in Aarhus.
It was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know my new team-mates before the summer break. I was involved in plenty of intense training sessions and in a training match against another First Division team (Brabrand). We won by 18 goals and I had a fantastic game scoring eight goals for my new team – a huge confidence boost before meeting Slovenia.
However during the match I had some problems with my hamstring, which physically did not put me in good stead for a tough 10 days ahead on national team duty.
After my period in Denmark I met with the GB team in Slovenia. We were hosted in a fantastic resort close to the Croatian border, fully kitted out with a sensational spa, numerous pools, a gym and sports hall courtesy of the Slovenian Handball Federation.
During the first training session my hamstring niggle didn’t seem to go away. I had suffered a small tear in it, and therefore would just be watching GB versus Slovenia, and out of action for the duration of the camp. I spent the camp getting lots of treatment and doing training that would benefit me without making it any worse.
Watching the girls play Slovenia three times wasn’t at all enjoyable but still, I was happy I was there to support. GB lost all three meetings with Slovenia.
Moving on from the tough three games in four days, there was a gruelling course of physical testing to be completed, led by our newly appointed Strength and Conditioning coach, Lee Ottey. Not the most thrilling of things to do after 3 tough games. Improvements were of course made and the team morale was high again as we got stuck in to our new gym and cardio programmes.
All in all, yet another learning curve for GB as we went home and dug our teeth into summer training. I also had some rehab to do.
After a holiday at home in the UK I made a return back to Aarhus at the end of July, fit and ready to begin pre-season training with AGF.
So far I have completed lots of handball and running training with my new club and enjoyed every second of it. I feel a part of the team already, and have been part of a training match and training weekend, where we met elite side FC Mitjylland and fellow First Division team Tarm Foersom.
As expected we lost out to FC Mitjylland, I managed to get a full 60 minutes and scored 2 goals. After 23 minutes we were leading the elite side that displayed numerous Danish national team players 11-10. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep it up and lost out by 14 goals after the full time whistle.
The following day saw us beat Tarm Foersom 30-23. I played 55 minutes and came out top scorer with seven goals for my new side. However this wasn’t our strongest performance, we showed flaws in our defence and didn’t finish all of our shots on goal, with a goal. This was partly due to GB goalkeeper Jane Mayes who is a Tarm Foersom player too. She was their best player on the day; despite her good performance against my team it was great to see her in action!
After a tough weekend it was time to meet up with the GB girls again for a short three-day camp in London with Lee.
No handball was completed in the camp as we got on with physical training and the dreaded yo-yo endurance test. Again, we were put through our paces and all improved in the yo-yo test. I personally had improved a big amount which I am extremely happy about; the training over the summer had paid off! Another great camp as always even though it was short lived. With one-on-one gym training and new gym programmes we are ready to begin the new season knowing that we are improving massively.
The next up and coming events for me are the Novling Cup to be held in Aalborg next weekend. I will represent AGF against other First Division teams from all over Scandinavia. Two weeks after the tournament the season begins and we will meet Lyngby one of the stronger teams from the league.
On the GB calendar, the next big event will be the Four Nations Tournament in Liverpool from September 23-25.
We will host Italy, Switzerland a Portugal on home soil at the Liverpool Echo Arena. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to show our supporters how far we have come since beating Finland at the same venue a year ago. A win against Portugal already in May means that we will of course be looking to do the same. Exciting times ahead for team GB!