EUKC at BSKA Club Championships 2014

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”