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07.10.2015, 12:20
A licence to thrill
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BLOG: James Bond, good food and the two form teams. The connection between all of these? Let Tom explain
 

A licence to thrill

There is a new James Bond movie coming out. I can’t wait. I’m an even bigger fan of James Bond than I am of handball. The name of the new movie is SPECTRE. For those of you who may not know Spectre is the ‘Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and extortion,’ led by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, they are bent on world domination.

This week, I’m heading to FYR Macedonia for the game between Vardar and Rhein-Necker Löwen. And for some reason every time I think of the place I think of James Bond because I will be staying in “Hotel Russia”. It’s a great name and right now, at this very point in Group B, these are the two form teams. Both are bent on world domination, well European, and forget about all the other stuff.

But there will be plenty of intrigues, intelligence, counter intelligence and perhaps a little revenge on the part of the Löwen, who suffered two ignominious defeats against the same opponents last year.

It’s as plain as Jean Valjean with a loaf of bread in his pants that these are the two form teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League at the moment. RNL will need to be a little less naive, as they were in the closing stages against Kielce, but this Vardar team is starting to look very slick. Both play an aggressive, quick game, with very few players assigned an observer role. In other words, the two teams are bared down to the bone, to be as effective as they can be. And much like Bond, they play with a style and swagger that is irresistible.

Aside from the handball, there are lots of other reasons to fancy this trip. Macedonian hospitality is renowned. The trip from hotel to arena takes all of 10 seconds, Usain Bolt could probably do it in two. This week I have been on a salad diet in preparation for the trip. I need to lose another four kilos before I go because the food there is so amazing. The problem is you can’t stop eating. I once used to joke with my friends in Metalurg (close neighbours) that I entered a restaurant looking like Manaskov and left looking like Dimovski. By all accounts Milic has lost a lot of weight so I have to ask him the secret of his success. I once described Stoilov as a ballerina the size of a bear (now I know why) and I love to watch him in action.

Take a little walk away from the hotel and there are little kiosks that sell classic Cevapcici. Oh dear lord, it’s a taste sensation. A bit of Pljeskavica? No problem! And cheese. It’s heart-cloggingly good.

And mouth-watering.

A bit like the game.

The name is O Brannagain, Tom O Brannagain.


TEXT: Tom O'Brannagain, ehfTV commentator
 
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