29th Jan 2012: EIKT (1st team)

The Edinburgh international Korfball tournament is easily the most anticipated event of the korfball calendar year. It also presented an opportunity for the players of EUKC to gain some valuable match time and experience prior to the approaching 1st and 2nd team Nationals in March.

The EUKC 1st team had been handed a tough group which included defending champions Los Luchadores, Scottish champions Ed City and a tricky international team from Athens as well as Lancaster and last minute entrants Oxford. Up first was possibly Edinburgh’s toughest challenge against Los Luchadores, a team comprised of national league and International players. After a hard fought match which was tied at 1-1 for the majority of the game, it was the defending champions who emerged victorious with a slim win of 3-1. Edinburgh looked on the bright side and knew their hardest match was over with and were feeling positive for the remaining group fixtures, mainly due to the alcohol sweating out of their bodies. Next up was Lancaster Uni who Edinburgh knows very well from recent meetings in last years nationals and this years northern qualifiers. It took Edinburgh a while to get going but soon put the game to bed with a comfortable 5-0 win.

The momentum was kicking into over drive for Edinburgh Uni 1st team allowing them to make quick work of fellow Scottish team Edinburgh City 6-1. However the victory came at a price. Constant danger man Graham Morris got in the way of fellow team mate Sarah Kelly and in doing so hurt his frequently weak ankle. On lookers described the collision as horrific and ghastly. Edinburgh would have to continue in the competition without Graham who spent the remaining time lying down and resting. Edinburgh kept their spirits high after the loss of a close friend to injury as their next match would be against the team from Greece. A close battled followed with very little chances for either team. Edinburgh’s momentum might have been their downfall in this match as they rushed attacks and desperately needed to calm down. A late shot by Edinburgh to draw level narrowly missed going in resulting in a 2-1 defeat and Edinburgh’s second loss of the competition.

Results elsewhere in the group and a 2-1 victory in the last game against Oxford meant that EUKC 1sts, Ed City and Athens were all equal on points and the final positioning would come down to goal difference. Unluckily for EUKC 1sts they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the social that night as they would be playing in the quarter-finals the next day against Original Rough Shakers.

After a rough night of dancing and drinking EUKC 1sts were ready for the challenge which awaited them in the form of a national league team who had scored 24 more baskets than Edinburgh in the group stages. The match was played at a high intensity with both teams creating chances but the experience of rough shakers soon too hold of the game with a number of long shots falling nicely into the basket. Edinburgh grabbed a late goal but they were no match for the team from Norwich who were deserved 6-1 winners. EUKC 1sts loosing in the quarter-finals lead to an interesting match between EUKC Alumni who had also lost their own quarter-final to Dutch team Paal Central. The Edinburgh vs Edinburgh match was eagerly anticipated with some players nervous about playing old team mates while others new how important victory was with pride and bragging rights on the line. EUKC 1sts took a 3-1 lead through some nice shooting but an error in defence lead to two quick baskets by Alumni leaving the game tied at 3-3 with the clock counting down. As the clock rapidly approached zero both teams came close with shots but it was EUKC 1st who prevailed with a last minute basket to win the encounter 4-3. Victory meant that EUKC 1st would be playing Stockholm in a 5/6th place playoff which proved to be a difficult last game of the tournament for the Uni side. Both teams exchanged chances but in the end it was the Scandinavian team who emerged the happier of the two teams winning 4-3.

Edinburgh had fought valiantly for both days of the tournament and were proud of their 6th position out of 24 teams for they had placed as the highest Scottish club as well as the highest Edinburgh University had placed in living memory.

Kyle Crombie