Second team nationals, well where to begin? Things got off to a slow start to say the least, and I’m not talking about the matches. With one train cancelled and its replacement delayed, the first 4.5 hours of our journey got us as far as… Carlisle! But not to worry, during our wait we made many train friends and took many a group selfie. Our late arrival meant a missed connection leading to a fleet of rail replacement taxis being dispatched to Ride of the Valkyries, carrying us the rest of the way from Shrewsbury to Cardiff. And just to add to the fun, the driver didn’t know the way to Wales. Despite that, we eventually arrived at our destination at three in the morning, a mere 4 hours behind schedule!
7:30am. Our bright-eyed, cheery and energetic *insert other arbitrary and inaccurate adjective here* team of 12 made their way to Cardiff City House of Sport to get stuck into a day of korfball. Remember that slow start I mentioned? Well it wasn’t just with respect to trains. Our first three matches resulted in a 2-4 loss to Brimingham, a 4-4 draw with Lancaster and a 1-1 draw with Reading. Of course if we’d had a few hours extra sleep we’d have been able to scrape at least one win out of those which would have qualified us for the 1st-8th place playoffs. Having submitted a delayed train claim form to Virgin, I have listed ‘honor, glory and status’ as additional losses caused by the disruption.
Alas, having 9th place as our highest reachable position gave us a clear target, and we meant to get it! The second half of the day started with a 5-1 win over our host Cardiffians, followed by a closer and slightly tense 4-2 win over leads, crowned with a last second buzzer beater from Jem. Our next match against ye olde enemy, Saint Andrews, finished with the scoreboard reading 9-1 in our favour, slightly ruined by their last minute luck-goal but still putting us through to the 9th/10th place playoffs! We then settled ourselves down to watch Manchester and Exeter fight it out for the chance to be beaten by us whilst we sneakily made notes on their strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately for both teams, the latter list had a lot more entries, giving us a sense or confidence as we watched their 1-1 draw go to a penalty shoot-out, leading to Exeter coming out on top. But not for long, in our last match goals from Phil, Graham, Frances and two from Mike gave us a 5-2 win that secured our final placing!
A massive thanks to both Jean and Ella for dragging their asses all the way to Cardiff to provide some top quality coaching, as well as to the friendly elderly Welsh gentleman who drove us about in a minibus. Congrats to our top female scorer Frances, sinking 4 goals, and to our top male scorer Owen, with a spectacular 11. Thanks and congratulations to Katharine for being tourno-sec supreme and for sporting an impressive pirate costume during the evening’s social. To the whole squad, brilliant job with some fantastic korfball being played and for generally being top peeps. And finally to Anna, for buying the wrong return ticket but somehow getting away with it.
Some top quotes from the weekend:
Joanna: “Is Beijing a country?”
Owen: “GRRNNNNNNN… woooooshhhh… GRNNNNNNNN… woooooshhhh…”
Jean on behalf of EUKC to Saint Andrews: “Saint Andrews next. #28nilrememberthatyeah?”
Unknown Saint Andrews spokesperson: “no”
Phil: “I’m going to IKEA to buy a shitload of Swedish candy”
Nationals 2014. Where to begin? Friday 7th March saw a disgusting 4am start for eight members of the squad who sacked off uni in order to spend the day in Norwich. The other five apparently take their degrees seriously and attended lectures/final year projects and internships with the respect and commitment they most probably deserve. The squad of eight stayed in good spirits throughout the morning flight and train journeys, the highlight being able to watch the sun rise at 39,000 feet. After our arrival in Norwich, we had a few hours to kill. Most of us took great pleasure in sneaking up ‘ninja style’ somewhat unsuccessfully upon Dynamic Fitness, eating the dinner of athletes (a Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet) and being really disappointed with Norwich Castle’s glass lift. By early evening we split up, some of us desiring the blood, sweat and six-packs of the newly released ’300′ as inspiration for the weekend to come, the rest of the squad needing a good few games of ‘Shithead’ in order to relax. When the five remaining members of the squad arrived into Norwich later that evening, all focus turned to the competition for which we’d trained all year. With some inspirational words from Coach Kyle, a good night’s sleep was finally in order.
First match of the weekend saw the much-anticipated face off between EUKC and EUKC. However, as we all know, there’s only only one real EUKC so the winner was never in any doubt. Edinburgh started off the weekend in style, with a convincing 11-4 win over Exeter. The second of the group matches was against Birmingham, eventual champions. It was a tough match and Edinburgh had some fantastic play however Birmingham managed to keep their two goal lead, coming out as 10-8 winners. The final match of the group stage ignited the age old EUKC vs Saints rivalry. Edinburgh managed to put their previous narrow loss behind them and after a shaky start soon gained control of the match. Defence was particularly outstanding and EUKC finished with an 8-6 victory, putting them second in their group behind Birmingham. Final match of the day was for a semi-final spot on the Sunday. The opponents? Southampton. Edinburgh couldn’t have hoped for a better start, quickly building a 3-0 lead. However, a couple of small defensive mistakes allowed Southampton to equalise and, smelling blood, gain the lead themselves. Unfortunately Edinburgh couldn’t conjure up a comeback in the remaining time and just missed out on a semi-final spot with the final result 5-8. Although the team was disappointed, there were many good things to take from the match and we left UEA Sportspark on the Saturday with our heads held high and a couple of good wins under our belts.
Sunday saw us fighting for 5th place. First match was pitted against Bristol. Again, we had a fantastic start and gained a 3-0 lead. However, the curse of 3-0 struck us once again as Bristol replied with a couple of drop-offs and a fantastic long shot from their Captain. The game remained tight and both sides fought well however when the final whistle blew, Edinburgh lost 8-10. A few more minutes and perhaps the result would have been different. The final 7th/8th playoff was against Cardiff, a team to whom Edinburgh had lost by one goal last year. Unlike the two previous games, we somehow found ourselves 6-0 down after several minutes. This, far from unsettling us, kicked us into gear and the comeback was insanely impressive. From 6-0 down, we ended up losing 10-11. By the time the whistle blew, we were completely dominant in both defence and attack and we knew that if we’d had 30 more seconds, we had every chance of at least drawing the match. All in all, we ended Nationals with 8th Place, losing by only two and three goals to the eventual Gold and Bronze medalists respectively. The squad effort was magnificent and we played some of the best Korfball we’d played all season. The journey back to Edinburgh went smoothly enough and we managed to suffer only one injury and a thankful lack of wheelchairs.
A few thanks are in order. Firstly to Kyle, for coaching us throughout the tournament and being the voice of inspiration. Secondly to Will who, along with Kyle, put a huge amount of effort into helping us prepare in the weeks leading up to Nationals. Thank you to Katharine who provided the squad with goody bags the night before we left. Thanks also need to go to UEA and the BSKA for organising a superb weekend. Finally, thank you to the squad for being fantastic. Ridiculously early starts, chinese buffets, cab drivers with brilliant chat, numerous games of ‘Shithead’, great Korfball, an awesome final… Nationals certainly delivered.
‘Til next year.
Edinburgh Uni Bbz took to the court for what would be some of their final games before Club Championships in Cardiff beckoned only a few weeks in the future. After some momentary panic over the arrival of both coaches and John and Jena, the team assembled with minutes to spare before the first game against Dundee. The divisions lined up with Owen, Graham, Jena and Joanna in attack and a defensive back four of Jill, Fran, Mike and John. The game got off to a fast paced start and it wasn’t long before Bbz took the lead through Jena sinking in a mid-range veer. A slight lapse in concentration in defence allowed Dundee to nab an equalizer but this would be short lived as Uni never really looked back. A Fran running in shot put Uni back in the lead and allowed us to push on for a convincing victory. Further goals from Owen, Jena, Mike, Jill, Joanna and Graham proved Bbz’ increasing improvement on court with a range of good attacking moves creating plenty of opportunities. John was also able to take advantage from the penalty line as he scored a hat-trick of penalties to further the distance between the two sides. The half time score of 6-1 was matched in the second half meaning that Bbz ran out 12-2 winners overall.
The second game was against Saints 2 in what many expected to be a much tougher game. However, Bbz were able to fuel of the adrenaline created by the first victory and quickly got out of the blocks. Some clever attacking moves carved an early opening for Mike which he duly dispatched in the opening minute of the game. This was then soon followed by another John penalty which led to an early 2 goal advantage in the first half. From here Bbz again, never really looked back. The alternative division, not to be outdone, quickly responded with 2 goals of their own from Jena and Owen before a second goal of the game for John put Bbz 5-0 up at the break. An early Saints goal in the 2nd half proved to be the only breach in an otherwise solid defensive performance. Further goals from John, Owen and Jena increased Bbz lead to 10-1. In the final 5 minutes of the game, Mike duly dispatch a penalty of his own for his second of the game and Jill wrapped up the scoring with an excellent long range effort, a fitting way to cap off an excellent afternoon of Korf for Edinburgh’s resident Bbz’.
A further special thanks has to go to the Holligan family, who turned out in large numbers to give the team some excellent support for the afternoon. Grandma Holligan named Owen her favourite player and so increased demand for the ‘Shea, 12’ jersey is expected in the future. Further thanks must then be given to the whole Holligan family who very generously opened there home to the team after the game for Fajitas which were superbly delicious and were hence devoured a much appreciative manner!
Saturday the 11th of January saw Edinburgh University’s second team raring to go with a trip down to Newcastle to face newcomers to the korfball scene, Northern Storm. Storm 1 were scheduled first and from the offset it was clear just how tight this game would become. Kyle Crombie, a former Ed Uni player, succeeded in slipping one past Uni defence to put Storm in front. He went on to secure another korf, putting Edinburgh on the back foot. Owen Shea managed to pull one back before half time bringing the score up to 2-1. Other highlights from the first half included Jill’s victorious show of skill and talent with a blam, sweeping the ball away from her opposing player.
An inspirational team talk from Second team captain, Mike Garbutt, spurred Uni players into action, with Edinburgh proving the more dominant team in the second half. An impressive array of close shots were put up by Uni but failed to hit the mark for the important equaliser that they so desperately seeked. As the match drew to a close, Edinburgh Uni’s defence stepped up a notch in an attempt to get the ball back into the attacking half to equalise the game. However, Storm held good possession in attack. An intercept at the half way line in the dying seconds of the game by Graham Campbell allowed a quick pass to a waiting Owen Shea under the korf. This was all he needed to score his second korf of the day just before the whistle blew for full time. A two all draw marks a promising start for Edinburgh University in the New Year.
Now warmed up, ready for action and safe in the knowledge that “the korfs really were that high before Christmas” Edinburgh set up to take on Storm 2. Gameplay flowed well and the experience of the Uni players showed with numerous shots taken and a great percentage adding to the score. A minor lapse in concentration saw Storm 2 enter the scoring sheet but was not enough to deter University from further scoring to obtain a more dominant position. John Bagnoll announced his retirement from the dutch sport mid-match after a golden half way shot which further strengthened Uni’s lead. EUKC wishes John the best of luck in any other future sports he embarks. Solid defending from Edinburgh along with strong attacking play meant that the Newcastle team were the ones feeling the Storm with goals from Mike, John, Owen, Jill, Joanna, Graham and Jem. The final score of 8-1 was a promising victory for Edinburgh University as well as allowing good game time and experience for the players of Northern Storm.
Special thanks should also be said to all the people of Northern Storm, most especially Lee, for their hospitality and we look forward to meeting them again at the EIKT later this month.
On Sunday 24th November Edinburgh Uni 3 travelled to Sighthill to play two matches one against Mavs 2 and another against Dundee 2 (although I have been informed that there were a few first team players playing!)
Edinburgh Uni 3 v Mavs 2
In the first division was Fi, Jess, Nik and Philip and forming the second division was Max S, Graham, Priya and Francesca. With four members having never played in a match before, we knew this would be a tough match. The first half consisted of a lot of goals for the Mavs and Edinburgh Uni finding their feet. Our first goal came from Nik who placed an impressive long shot, this was just want Edinburgh Uni needed to lift our spirits with the score at half time being 1-14 to Mavs. During the second half Edinburgh Uni had made a substitution, Rebecca came on for Fi. By this point Edinburgh Uni had found their feet and were defending solidly whilst putting up shots, however without success. Later a foul was made and Francesca took a penalty and scored! (First goal in a match!!). Unfortunately one more goal was not enough to beat the Mavs with a final score of 2-20 despite the amazing effort everyone on the team put in.
Edinburgh Uni 3 v Dundee 2
For the second match we mixed the divisions up a little and the first division consisted of Fi, Priya, Philip and Mike and forming the second division was Max S, Nik, Rebecca and Francesca. Despite having just played a match, and then playing straight away against Dundee 2, everyone was full of energy and was very enthusiastic. In this match Edinburgh Uni put up a huge number of shots, both long shots and runners, unfortunately without much luck at scoring. Even though defending by Edinburgh was good Dundee still managed to score a number of goals. About a quarter of the way through the match Philip put up a shot with those long arms of his and scored! The score being 1-8 at half time. During the second half Jess was brought on for Francesca. Defending got tighter and Edinburgh Uni were forcing Dundee to take more and more long shots which I have heard is not what they like doing! Nik put up lots of shots and eventually scored 1 and as the second half was coming to a close Jess put up an amazing long shot and scored! Again, despite our best efforts we were not victorious with the final score being 3-15 to Dundee.
Well done to everyone that played and all the effort they put in!