FEBRUARY 12 - MEMBERS of Britain's fledging Olympic handball squad have begun to appear for some of the top clubs in Europe as they continue to chase their London 2012 dream.
Four members of the men's squad made history this week when they played for TUSEM Essen in the toughest league in the world, Germany’s Bundesliga.
Britain captain Lynn McCafferty, meanwhile, became the first British woman to play for Asker in Norway.
She put in a strong performance and scoring one goal despite a nervous debut against high-flying Stabaek in a 34-32 defeat.
McCafferty played for 45 minutes and got better as the game went on and the nerves started to disappear.
She said: “This team for me was one of the best teams I’ve ever met in the league.
"They were young, fast, explosive, knew each other very well, technically brilliant and very smart.”
McCafferty, like several other British players, has been forced to seek opportunities to play in Europe after UK Sport cut handball's funding to prepare for London 2012.
The men in Germany were led Ciaran Williams, who became the first British player to play in the Bundesliga after being picked as the starting playmaker, while Sebastian Prieto was the first Briton to score in the Bundesliga.
Dan McMillan and Chris McDermott also made their debuts in the league against TV Grosswallstadt, which they lost 41-23.
But Prieto scored his landmark goal on his one chance.
He said: “I still can't believe that I scored my first goal in the Bundesliga, and as everybody keeps reminding me, this makes me the first British player to ever score in the Bundesliga, the best league in the world, which is a very nice feeling.
“Everything so far has gone really well.
"As our coach told our team-mates on Friday, we may not be the best handball players, but we play with our hearts and never give up.
“We still have a lot to learn, but he is confident that we will be able to improve our handball skills and be able to compete more and more with our opponents as the season goes on.
“Bundesliga is so much quicker and more physical, but we didn't look out of place.
"The fact that I got a fast break shows that we are quick enough and also fit enough to compete at that level."