UoB’s Korfball first team travelled to the University of East Anglia in Norwich to compete at the BUCS nationals where they placed seventh in a fiercely contested championships. Read about how they got on, courtesy of the Korfball team themselves.
Our first game came against Bedford at 9:15 on Saturday morning. Some were fresher faced than others due to some pre-national championship nerves! This game was a great way to kick off the weekend with some great korfball all around and shots dropping from all round the post. It resulted in a 13-5 win- a real confidence booster for the day to come.
The second match was against Edinburgh’s Huskies- the crucial game of the group as they were the top seed. A live stream was set up for this game meaning the whole club could get behind our first team from the comfort of their own homes (and the library)! However, this wasn’t enough to throw us off our game with Mannix putting away 4 effortless goals. Some great team play was showcased with Snelling and Seabright tallying up 3 beautiful assists each. The game ended 12-5 to Brum! So far so good, and we were on track to win the group, but the work didn’t stop there. We still had to play the University of Oxford, but with team morale high and shots dropping, we could almost taste the group winner’s quarter final.
At 13:15 it was time for the final game of the group against Oxford. The game went well for us resulting in a 14-5 win. Two goals in quick succession early in the second half from Snelling and Price meant that the whole team had now scored. This win qualified us for the top quarter final which would be against Bristol. By this point we had only conceded 5 goals per game and comfortably outscored our opponents.
The quarter final at the end of the day took place against Bristol University. We conceded early on but came back with an almost instantaneous long shot from Lloyd to bring the score to 1-1. Without looking like there was too much of a difference in the two sides, we went in at half time 6-4 down, although slightly frustrated, there was still everything to play for. A quick goal from Andrews brought the score to 6-5, but Bristol replicated what we did to them in the fist half and came straight back. Brum scored the next goal bringing it to 7-6. After this goal, we were very unlucky to not have our shots drop. 4 goals from Bristol followed with no reply, leaving us with a lot of work to do if we were to come out of this match as victors. We began to find our composure at the end which resulted in 2 late goals from Lloyd and Seabright, however it was left too late and the full time whistle was blown at 11-8 to Bristol. This meant that we qualified for the 5th vs 6th/ 7th vs 8th playoff. Although we were obviously disappointed we still wanted to position as high as possible and with 2 games still to go, we had to pick ourselves up and play our best the next day.
The new day saw games being played on larger courts and the introduction of a shot clock- something we are used to playing with in our league games. The day was kicked-off with our semi-final against the University of Cambridge at 11:15am. The game was a close one, with a lot of goals coming from penalties for both teams. We went in at half time with the score at 5 all. The second half started off well with a successful penalty from Brum just under a minute in. However, 6 consecutive goals from Cambridge followed which left us 5 goals behind with just over 5 minutes remaining. A tight defence from Cambridge made it difficult to put shots up. Cambridge held their lead and the game finished 12-7 to them. This meant that we would face Edinburgh next, a team whom we had already beaten in the group stages. We had winning expectations for the final game.
The important final match of the weekend would decide 7th and 8th place. With tiredness beginning to kick in, it was a while before the deadlock was broken. Faulkner claimed the first goal with a penalty, followed successively by the second goal in exactly the same way: 2-0 Brum. Edinburgh then managed to get one back on us. Birmingham retaliated, and exhibited a fantastic display of teamwork. The ball was worked round quickly and effectively leaving Price free to take a mid- range shot just as the shot clock went off making it 3-1 in our favour. As we eased into the game, we started to play some really great korfball with a strong defence. It was great to see the first team playing their last competitive game as a team for the university and enjoy it. Great team play combined with successful penalties and great assists rapidly increased our score. The last game of the day, and for some, their university lives, was a triumphant win of 8-6. The win against Edinburgh’s Huskies meant that we finished in 7th place.
The final was Nottingham University vs Southampton Spartans- an incredibly tight and tense match with us live streaming the game to viewers all over the country. Support was high for both teams along with a general appreciation for a great game of korfball (with the words of wisdom from one of our supporters of ‘Korf is love, Korf is life’). The weekend ended with Southampton retaining their title of national champions for the second year running, with a final score of 14-13. Nottingham put up an amazing fight and narrowly missed first place.
We came out of Nationals placing 7th, a result we were slightly disappointed with but is still an incredible achievement with so many talented teams. Mannix was our highest boy scorer with an impressive 15 goals and Hughes our highest girl scorer. Snelling and Seabright also showed some incredible assists, both contributing to our total goals. Well done to everyone who played.
Merrick Lloyd: “This is the highest standard tournament that I have participated in. There was a lot of quality amongst the top 8 teams with lots of International players joining University this year.”
Photos courtesy of UoB Korfball team