2013 BSKA Club Championships Report

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Oooh oooh oh oh oh oh: EUKC Swifts at Second Team Nationals

By Jill Williamson

This year, the EUKC IIs (aka Edinburgh Swifts) had to face the rest of the UK at second team Nationals in Lancaster with one of the strongest second teams the club can remember. With victory in our hearts, determination in our eyes and Taylor Swift’s dulcet tones in our ears we began the epic journey to historic Lancaster (accompanied by Taylor 1 and Taylor 2). The team all knew that there was going to be some stiff competition, but that wasn’t going to stop the Swifts from letting the other teams know that we were trouble when we walked in.

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Straight from the off we knew the luck of the draw might not be on our side – we had a challenging but not impossible group to play through in the group stages, featuring Nottingham, UEA, Lancaster and Oxford. After a chance to watch the rest of the group play, our first match was against Lancaster. Despite a shaky start the Swifts quickly took control of the match with some strong defence to shut down Lancaster’s attack, and managed to win 3-0 thanks to goals from Jean Fourie, Owen Shea and Jen Merritt.

Next up was Nottingham, which the Swifts knew was going to be a difficult match. Some very fast-paced korfball was played by the whole team, but Nottingham found our weak spots and won the match 3-1. Despite this there was still some sexy korf on show from the Swifts, with an absolutely stunning long shot by Jen from the top corner. Our match against Oxford featured some really strong attacking with dozens of shots being put up. Successful goals by Owen and Jen (including Jen’s running-in shot, after promising during a between-match team talk that she’d “TRY to do some runners”) put us in the lead initially, but some potentially “challenging” ref-ing decisions meant that the final score-line of 2-2 did not reflect our performance in the match.

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Our final group stage match was our showdown with UEA. Both teams knew we had to win this match to make it past the group stages, so there was a lot at stake. Within a couple of minutes it became apparent that the Swifts were pulling everything out the bag for this game. Never before had the team played so quickly, fiercely and with such strong team spirit. The first goal to drop was by Jean, but was followed quickly by a UEA equaliser. Unfortunately UEA got 2 successful penalties which then put them 3-1 in the lead. The match may have been slipping away, but the Swifts weren’t done yet. A silent long-shot by team captain Jill Williamson and a goal by Owen brought the match to even-stevens, and the panic was starting to show in UEA. A goal by Jen put us in the lead, with only a couple of minutes on the clock. The electric atmosphere spurred Edinburgh to keep up some solid defence, but UEA were taking risks to try and claw it back and a last minute long-shot ended the match with a 4-4 draw.

Despite not making it to the top group, Edinburgh Swifts ended the group stages with high spirits and the aim of coming 7th. A 3-2 win against Sheffield brought the Swifts to an official EUKC showdown against Exeter Uni Korfball Club for 7th/8th place. The match was a brilliant final display of ruthless defence completely preventing any successful attacks from Exeter, while a series of swift passes and well-executed attacks finally led to a goal by Jen.

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While the team was hoping to reach a higher placing, there is no doubt that EUKC IIs played a spectacular weekend of korfball that we can all be proud of. Congratulations goes out to Will Ellis, Paul Shields, Mike Garbutt, Jen Merritt, Jem Horsley Downie, Kirsty Pittman, Jean Fourie, Owen Shea, Kris Macmillan, Fern Sinclair, Ffion Jones and Jill Williamson for being an incredible team and playing some incredible korfball. A special thanks also goes out to Coach Ella Paul for coaching us on crutches and helping the whole team to play to the best of our abilities. GO SWIFTS.

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Things we learned at Nationals:
– Fern is Taylor Swift’s no. 1 fan
– Rosy has a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of rivers in North England/Southern Scotland region
– The origins and many uses of wood (this was more Ffion than anyone else)
– Jill laughs in her sleep quite a lot
– Lancaster Uni’s crash-mats make ridiculously uncomfortable beds (but surprisingly good temporary curtains)