10th Mar 2012: BUCS Nationals 2012

On the weekend of 9th – 11th March 2012, Edinburgh University’s Korfball 1st team travelled south to Manchester to participate in the Korfball national finals. 16 University teams took part over the weekend; from St Andrews to Kent, from UEA to Cardiff. Edinburgh finished 3rd at the Northern Qualifiers which were held in the city back in November, and were hopeful of achieving a top 4 finish at nationals and improving on last year’s 8th position.


Edinburgh set off from the CSE on Friday afternoon and started the 6 hour journey to Manchester via Biggar. The journey went by very quickly with the help of an amazing music playlist and iPad Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. FYI Elliot is a lot smarter that you might think and Kyle sucks at Scrabble! The team arrived at their plush hotel, sorted out bedrooms and the girls put 4 beds together so they could have girly chats and have pillow fights.

The team then set off in two separate groups looking for a pub. One group were much brighter than the other and headed in the right direction whilst the other group cursed and blinded when they realised they were WRONG. We walked over the canal and headed to a nice little carvery…5 mins before the Carvery finished! Hotpots and burgers were had, mars bar cheesecake was consumed and ice cream was dropped on Dom (lolz) before heading to Morrsions. Sarah H was in awe of this supermarket! The 17p/21p/22p game was played and nice little presents were bought for each other before heading to bed, getting an early night before the start of the tournament they had been preparing for for so long.


7.45: Breakfast consisting of pancakes, fry-ups, cereal and lots of yummy little Danish pastries. Thank you very much EUSU!
The team then headed to Sugden Sports Centre passing MCFC stadium which was practically spat at by Kyle. Edinburgh met up with coach Zu before their first match against Cambridge and tried to get some of their nerves out of the way. The full 40 minute length match started at 9.30 and by 10.15 Edinburgh were relieved to have won. Although dominating in possession and having attacked for most of the match, the shots were just not going falling for the team in white. Adding to Edinburgh’s worries was a very tall Dutchman on the Cambridge side and Sam was brought on to challenge him in collect. The final whistle went and Edinburgh finished on top with a 4-3 win. This could easily have been 24-3 if the whole team had gone to shooting practice on Wednesday morning. Maybe.

Next up was Lancaster, a team which Edinburgh had convincingly beat at Northerns. With only 40 minutes off between matches and 20 minutes of these spent warming up, Edinburgh were able to put their fitness to the test. The team were hoping they had rid their shaky nerves and unlucky shots in their match against Cambridge and could now play the great Korfball they knew they could. This match was more promising with Edinburgh scoring 5 goals to Lancaster’s 2 by the final whistle. The match was another frustrating one with many unlucky shots and a couple of missed penalties. But things could only get better for Edinburgh and they had shown real potential in these first two games.

With results in the group going in Edinburgh’s favour, the team entered their last group match against Cardiff with a sense of confidence and relief that they were definitely going through to the top 8 play offs. This match was a much more interesting one with both teams having strong attacks and scoring lots! The shots finally started to sink and Edinburgh looked good. The Cardiff team however, were constantly one goal ahead or behind throughout the whole match and when the match ended, there was some confusion within the ranks with some Edinburgh players believing they had lost when they had actually drawn 11-11! Although the attacks were more successful, the fact 11 goals had been let in showed Edinburgh they still had some improving to do.

After lunch Edinburgh were to take on Birmingham, who had hosted and won the Southern Qualifiers in November. This was going to be much tougher opposition for Edinburgh and the final score line of 10-6 to Birmingham proved this. Edinburgh played really well and couldn’t have done anything more to beat the strong Southern side. No less than three “haggis” goals were scored – a move which the team had been working on for weeks – and some missed haggis shots could have been penalties! The team were also up against Jess Beale – who was female MVP of the tournament – but the Maltby/McKeand switches were able to rile up her up and prevent her from scoring too often. Defeated in the match but not in spirit, Edinburgh were able to look forward to the next day with less pressure and had the opportunity to finish 5th.

Dinner time! After Poppy and Sarah H returned from the hugely exciting AGM, we set off in search for food. Having no idea where we were, we plugged “pizza hut” into the Sat Nav and headed off into the night. The playlist wasn’t needed this time with Elliot leading us in Scout songs instead. £5 Pizzas were consumed and korfball hats were made.

Scandal: Rumour has it Poppy, Maltby, Sarah M and Sham noticed Sainsburys was missing, went looking for him and ended up in a nightclub in Manchester…


Thoroughly sore and tired from the previous day, Edinburgh headed back into Manchester for their ‘9.30’ match… only to find out it was actually at 10.30. Another hour in bed would have been nice but it gave the team a chance to have a proper warm up before their match against UEA. The Norwich Uni side were reportedly quite hungover after attending the Social the previous night. Edinburgh started off well, scoring 2 goals in about as many minutes. Edinburgh continued to dominate on the court, frustrating UEA and forcing them to make mistakes. Whilst controlling the collect position, Will L sadly went over his ankle and the pain was clear to hear from his very manly scream. Dom replaced Will and Edinburgh continued to play excellent Korfball. Final score was 12-6 to Edinburgh, securing their place in a 5th-6th play off with Sheffield Uni. Everyone was happy to have improved on last year’s final standing with one match still to play.

Next up was Sheffield Uni, a team with 2 star players which were Edinburgh aimed to cut out of the game. This was a great match for the neutrals, and also for Saints who cheered us on throughout. Edinburgh opened the scoring but Sheffield were quick to respond. At one point there was only 1 goal in it, but the final score was 13-8 to the English side. (Personal highlight – a certain someone’s blam…) This was an exciting match where Edinburgh forced Sheffield boys to score through long shots but sadly at least four penalties and free passes. The execution of these by Natasha Dawson of England was very impressive and something which Edinburgh could no nothing against… Kyle must also be mentioned for his impressive collecting even after having gone over his ankle several times. Dom had already come off injured and with Will also unable to play, there were no subs to replace him!

Edinburgh were disappointed to have lost in a game which really could have gone either way. But they definitely didn’t go out on a poor performance. They kept improving over the weekend and gave every team a run for their money. Teams were nervous of facing Edinburgh and hopefully this will be carried on to next year’s tournaments. Bring on 2013!

Squad: Kyle Crombie, Graham Morris, Sam Grindrod, Elliot Samson, Will Lawton, Dom Gillespie, Sarah Higginson, Sarah McKeand, Sarah-Louise Kelly, Kathyrn Maltby, Poppy Simpson-Wells, Shamiso Lewis.