August was a very tough period for me both with Bregenz and with Great Britain, travelling for camps and tournaments in Germany, France and Hungary.
Making an appearance for A1 Bregenz in a pre-season tournament in Germany was a real taste of top flight Handball, although there were bigger matches to come the week after, in France with GB. I had a fairly good 20 minute spell but noticed the increased ability in the 2nd Division of the German Bundesliga side, the players were faster and the shots were harder than I had become accustom to in my time in Denmark. I was disappointed not to get more game time in the 4 matches but sometimes I just have to remind myself where I have come from and not let sitting on the bench or not being selected for the squad get me down!
Sunday 8th of August saw the GB team join up in the south of France. After a 13 hour train journey from Bregenz, I joined up with the rest of the boys at the hall where training had already started. The lads looked hot, tired and as if most of them would rather be somewhere else! For a lot of the lads, this was the first time they had touched a handball since our trips to Serbia and Greece back in June. For many, uncertainty also surrounds their club situation for the 2009/10 season and being this late into August it is not a good situation to be in.
The mood in the camp was not the best and it was picked up immediately by Dragan and Assistant Coach Bill Baillie who told me I would have to do my best as stand in Captain to reignite the motivation and desire of the squad.
It was going to be a tough week!
On the Tuesday, we were due to travel to Frantignan a small town near Montpellier to play Japan and Montpellier in a friendly tournament. Dragan was sure we could match the Japanese but Montpellier would be a different matter all together with none other than Nikola Karabatic being added to their ranks in the summer.
Having lost against Montpellier, we played Japan 20 minutes later and a poor first half, filled with numerous technical mistakes, meant we would have a mountain to climb to salvage any positives from the game. We came out for the second half and put in a better performance but the damage had already been done with the Japanese counter attacks in the first half.
Later in the week, we also played against Algeria and Istres, losing both games but we had shown we had the ability to compete with the likes of these teams having matched them for periods during the game but our higher number of technical mistakes was the difference and we were punished with counter attacks once again.