Report of the Korfball Midlands Preliminaries by korfball member Emma Tilbrook
The BUCS Korfball Midlands preliminaries took place on the 28th November in Nottingham. The University of Birmingham Korfball club entered 4 teams for the first time. It was an immensely successful day, with all 4 teams placing in the top 6! The 1’s were undefeated and awarded first place. The 2’s came 3rd, the 3’s 4th meaning all three teams go through to the next round- regionals. The 4th team played well with it being their first games played as a team and ended up in 6th place, thus going through to the BUCS shield round.
On Saturday 28th November, 50 people, 9 cars, 1 minibus and 3 crates of red bull left Birmingham at 6am to travel to BUCS Midlands Korfball preliminaries. We arrived nice and early at 7.15am- 45 minutes before the sports centre (or Starbucks) opened.
Birmingham’s 1st team showed off their amazing attacks and incredibly strong defensive tactics leading to only 2 goals being conceded by them all morning! They first faced Keele University 1s, who showed their skill but were unable to stop our talented 1s. Flight scored 2 goals in quick succession contributing to an easy 6-0 win.
A surprisingly tense game against Birmingham 3rd team saw first team player Andrews playing against the team that he coaches. There were goals and strong interceptions from both teams which lead to the score standing at 2-2 for a while. The 1’s used their skill and experience to pull ahead and secure a 4-2 win. This result is a huge testament to how much the 3’s have progressed in such a short space of time.
The next game against Nottingham 2s saw strong collecting from Mannix and showed why Parnis had been moved to the 1s with her tight defence ensuring no long shots or runners from her player could succeed. The game was a dramatic one with 8 penalties occurring; the easy goals from these meant that Birmingham stormed ahead with a huge win of 12-0.
The game against Nottingham 4s saw Bailey getting an incredible goal from a long shot. Snelling continued providing some excellent assists and commented at the end that the game was “superb”. Birmingham continued to make attacking look effortless leading to a storming victory of 10-0, leaving them undefeated at the top of their pool.
Birmingham 2’s had a very successful morning winning 3 out of their 4 games. They first played Keele 2’s who put up a good fight but couldn’t stop the 2’s running past them endless times and putting up strong shots. Rayit showed his skill in scoring following a goal from a penalty with a lovely long shot. All of this combined to an incredible 9-0 win for the 2’s.
The 2’s then enjoyed a 5-1 victory over Birmingham’s 4th team. Nottingham’s 1st team showed strong attacks in the 2s next game which were dealt with well, with Spooner showing good defending against her talented player. Unfortunately, Nottingham’s 1st team denied Birmingham any scoring opportunities, and their shooting talent led to a 7-0 win for Nottingham.
The 2’s came back from this fighting when playing Nottingham’s 3rd team. Countless shots were put up and the 2’s kept a tight defence when Nottingham were trying to pass the ball out to their attacking side. A highlight of the game for the crowd was the intense battle of Nottingham’s boys desperately (but unsuccessfully) trying to run past Rendle and Longstones’s unyielding wall of defence. This saw a triumph of 5-0 for the 2’s.
Expectations were high for Birmingham’s 3rd team, who are already at an incredibly high standard after only a few months playing together. Undefeated in their league, they are undoubtedly significant competition for most of the teams there that day.
After an initial loss against Birmingham’s 1st the 3’s enjoyed victories for the rest of the morning. They went into their second game against Nottingham 4’s confident, after a ginormous 20-6 win against them a few weeks prior to prelims. Nottingham struggled to pass around with Birmingham’s very tight defence. Reed continued to add more goals to her name with her never ending shots that contributed to a 6-0 win for the 3’s!
Keele 1s were the next team to have to face our 3’s. An early goal from George Saville followed quickly by yet another from him set the tone for this game. Keele’s persistent offensive came to no avail with Ball summing up the game by saying that the whole team successfully stopped all of Keele’s shots. This led to another win of 3-0.
The final game of the morning for our 3’s saw the most intense game being played, with a lot riding on the result. They took on Nottingham 2’s who were the defending champions of the BUCS trophy. The game was tense with unrelenting defence from the 3s. As the game progressed the sidelines became more and more vocal; erupting with noise every time a goal came close to scoring or any free passes or penalties were awarded. The atmosphere was incredibly tense as the result would decide which team would be put through to regionals. Nottingham had come in expecting their 2s to get through to fight to defend their title- however, this was not to be. The 3s showed how far they had come and proved to be of a higher standard than Nottingham’s 2s. The Birmingham fans erupted in celebration when the final whistle blew with an end score of 3-2 to our 3s! Price observing from the sidelines commented that “we smashed it!!!”.
The entry of a 4th team for Birmingham into BUCS for the first time is a huge testament to how far the club has progressed and grown in popularity in recent years. The majority of this team were new players this year. They played in the first match of the day (and their first game ever as a 4th team!) against Nottingham 1’s. We knew the game would be incredibly tough with Nottingham 1’s coming 4th in the BUCS national championships last year. As expected Nottingham showed strong attacks from their years of experience, which led to an end score of 12-0 to Nottingham.
The game against Birmingham’s 2’s saw Baker gaining the 4’s first goal, reflecting how the 4’s had got their game together and settled into play. They kept up a strong defence against the 2’s persisting attacks. Some great goals from the 2s resulted in them winning 5-1.
Another tense, high pressure game came next with the 4s playing Nottingham’s 3rd team. Brown scored an early goal from a long shot. As the game progressed you could feel the angst radiating from the Nottingham sidelines; they had been expecting a win with the crowd’s reactions growing and growing in volume. Birmingham kept up their tight defence successfully stopping Nottingham’s persisting attacks resulting in a win of 1-0 to the 4’s.
The last game saw excellent feeds from Hodge, lots of pressure in defence with the 4’s girls winning every collect against Keele 2’s. Hawkins gained a goal after exhibiting a textbook runner. Freear scored two more goals bringing the final score to 5-1 to Birmingham.
The afternoon’s games would decide each team’s final placing. Nottingham 2’s took on Birmingham 4’s first. A solid first half of play by the 4’s restricted Nottingham 2’s to only 5 goals. The 4’s played well but Nottingham claimed 5th place winning 5-1.
The inevitable game of Birmingham 2’s against Birmingham 3’s saw a level playing field across evenly matched teams. The 2’s looked for runners but were stopped many times by the 3’s strong defence. This lead to long shots being favoured by the 2’s, with Marsh scoring a powerful goal from a distance. Smith continued to incorporate his now trademark move of shooting whilst running past the post. Great structure and an extraordinarily high level of play was exhibited by both teams, with a final score of 5-3 to the 2’s.
The final game of the day saw the two teams who had topped their pools, and were so far undefeated, battle against each other- Birmingham 1’s vs Nottingham 1’s. Birmingham claimed the first goal which was shortly followed up by a successful penalty win from Nottingham. Price put up some powerful long shots which matched the power of the Birmingham attacks. Hughes stopped her player’s best efforts to run past her. Birmingham made the most of free passes and penalties awarded with some sneaky free pass tactics being displayed. Our 1’s ended the day showing that they were the superior team winning 5-3!
This was a hugely successful day for our Korfball club on so many levels. All of our teams placed in the top 6 with our 1’s reigning in first place and Faulkner winning top boy scorer of the day with 11 goals! The 2’s came 3rd and the 3’s 4th meaning that all three teams will now go through to battle other winning teams in regionals. This achievement is extraordinary as the 3’s knocked out the defending champions of the BUCS trophy. The 4’s came in 6th place- a huge accomplishment considering that this is the first time that they have all played together as a team and will compete for the shield (of which our 3rd team are defending champions of).
The next few rounds of BUCS will take place early in the new year, so keep your eyes peeled for the results of those games! After an incredibly successful day, there are high hopes for Birmingham to continue to grow and become even more successful- bring on regionals and the shield!
Harry Andrews- President, 1st team captain and 3rd team coach: “A hugely successful day for the cub. It was really good to see all the teams playing on such a high level.”
Oliver Saville- 3rd team captain: “Two words- Brum domination.”
Highlights and results:
-4 teams placed in top 6.
-First time that we have entered 4 teams to BUCS- growing popularity of and interest in the club.
-1st, 2nd and 3rd teams all through to regionals.
• 1st team were champions of this prelims round coming 1st.
• 2nd team came 3rd.
• 3rd teams came 4th- knocking out defending champions of the Korfball shield- Nottingham 2s.
-4th team came 6th- put through to the shield round.
– Jack Faulkner won highest scoring male player.
Top Brum Goal Scorers:
Jack Faulkner- MSci Biological Sciences, 2016, (11)
Josh Longstone- BSC Maths, 2017, (7)
Harry Andrews- PhD Physics, 2019, (6)
George Saville- Nuclear Engineering, 2018, (5)
Roshan Rayit- BSc Mathematics, 2017, (5)
Rachel Flight- PhD Biomedical Imaging, 2016 (4)
Ben Rendle- PhD physics and astronomy, 2018, (4)
Chris Mannix- PhD EESE, 2016, (4)
Coach: Rick Scowcroft- MSc Financial Mathematics, 2006.