Two members of the Buckinghamshire-based Oly Cats youth ranks featured in Great Britain’s Under-18 EHF European Championship team from 15th to 21st August in Georgia.
Last season Oli Sutcliffe and Adam Harwood were key as the Oly Cats’ U18 side reached the semi-finals of the England Handball Super 4 competition, and they have both been rewarded with international honours.
Sutcliffe netted 59 goals in the regular season and 23 in the Super 4 competition, to earn his selection in GB’s squad. Harwood, an U18 regular, solidified his place among one of the country’s best with an outstanding domestic campaign, producing consistent, high-standard performances to play a large part in the Oly Cats’ success in 2015/16.
While GB were winless in their five tournament fixtures against Belgium, Belarus, Latvia, Montenegro and Georgia, the experience of representing Great Britain will be of huge inspiration for the duo ahead of the throw-off in the new domestic season.
Oly Cats’ Alex Brookes and Rob Paripovic also experienced a taste of the international stage, attending the GB U18 pre-tournament camp in Portugal during July.
The quartet are four of the many elite players being nurtured through the Oly Cats’ youth system, overseen by Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic Games handball captain Bobby White.
“It was an amazing opportunity to represent Great Britain. I felt incredibly proud and honoured, and to sing the national anthem meant a lot,” said Adam Harwood reflecting on the experience.
“It was helpful playing alongside Oli as we understood each other’s game. He’d know what I was going to do before I would move and that helped us perform at our best and create the ideal opportunities to score.
“Without Bobby [White] I wouldn’t be anywhere near that team. He and the club have provided the resources, games and training for me to become the player I am today. Without his dedication I wouldn’t be close to playing internationally.”
Oly Cats U18 are back in action on Sunday 18th September at Stoke Mandeville Stadium for the opening round of the England Handball U18 South fixtures.