Highlights and results:
Winning the tournament and shield- bringing home the gold!!!
Winning all but one match
Beating Oxford 10-0. They may be smart but they can’t korf like we can.
“We walked in as the favourites and we left as the winners.” (Stewart, 2015)
We went in not knowing what to expect but were taken aback by our un-contestable successes in all of our matches. Our impressive, unyielding defensive tactics and strong attacking meant that we won all but one match. After an incredibly tense final, we were crowned winners of the BUCS national shield tournament.
The first match of the group stages was against Leeds. UoB immediately showcased an incredibly strong defence with lots of pressure being put on the opposing team. An equally strong attack resulted in lots of runners and shots being put up but somehow not managing to drop. With excellent teamwork we saw our first goal of the day being scored from Parnis. Tension ran high towards the end as Leeds settled into play and came very close to scoring from under the post, luckily to no avail. The match ended with UoB 1-0 up.
Our second match was against Oxford. Less than a minute into the game our first goal was scored, giving everybody a hint of what was to follow in a truly spectacular game of korfball from UoB. Oxford was a player down meaning that one of our players wasn’t able to shoot. This gave Stewart the chance to shine in collect; effortlessly catching every missed long shot that UoB put up. UoB had the confidence to shoot from afar, an advantage that we certainly made the most of with many successful long goals being scored! An Oxford player’s inexperience meant that Tilbrook was able to score a hat trick of goals from underneath the post. A penalty was awarded to us that resulted in Tomlin, who had possession of the ball at the time, looking around in desperation for anybody else to take the shot instead. This doubt in herself proved unfounded and the penalty was scored with ease bringing the score to 8-0. Saville also scored an excellent goal and has now perfected his signature celebration move of a star jump of glee in the air! The final score of the match was 10-0 to UoB. This served as a well-deserved confidence booster to our team spirit.
The final match of the group stages was against Essex, a relatively new club that was only formed 2 years ago. The Essex captain admitted that their team had just watched our domination of Oxford and seemed slightly (and rightly) apprehensive of what was to follow. Again, strong defence and attacks displayed by UoB meant that many shots were successful. Connelly showed that he could attack just as strongly as he could defend by scoring an impressive hat trick. An outstanding long shot from an Essex player meant that our clean sheet ended. However as noted by our coach, Rick Scowcroft, this was more a demonstration of Essex’s skill in shooting rather than an error on UoB’s defence. The match ended 5-1 to UoB.
It is a testament to the incredibly high quality of defence from all our players that only one goal was conceded by us after three matches. UoB had put on a strong front and it is fair to say that after 16 goals spirits were running high. We began to let ourselves wonder whether a medal would actually be within our reach!
UoB entered the second pool stage at the top of their group to play Sheffield Hallam. We had been warned that they too had a strong team and had put on an impressive performance so far. Hallam were a player down, although at times it did not feel like it with their single boy player towering over our players and exhibiting extraordinary interception abilities for almost every pass that came his way. UoB kept up their pressure in defence and blocked a large majority of feeds and runners. Quy’s look of utmost determination paid off in his strong defending style. However some well executed runners and shots from Hallam meant that the score was much closer this match, with it being levelled at 3-3 at one point. Nonetheless we managed to come back and pulled ahead, with Chapman delivering on her determined promise to score in this game. She certainly did and scored a hat trick! Lots of shots, goals and successful collects enabled us to claim victory over Hallam with the final score being 7-4 to UoB.
The team entered some confusion on the side-line where it transpired that the twitter feed had left all our avid followers in suspense after not tweeting anything throughout the match. It transpired that Bryony Snelling had tweeted a running commentary, consisting of 39 tweets, from her own personal twitter account instead! This truly showed her passion for Korfball (and resulted in threats from four of her close friends that they would unfollow her if she did one more Korfball related tweet!).
Tensions were running high as we entered the next match against Nottingham. Players who competed in the preliminaries in December held some grudges as Nottingham’s second team had marginally beaten our team to the final place in the BUCS national trophy round. With a point to prove UoB were determined to play to the best of our ability. Nottingham lived up to their reputation and was excellent in defence, stopping many feeds that were set up. Nottingham claimed the first goal with a long shot that led to UoB feeling the pressure to score. Stewart delivered an exceptional long goal that seamlessly arced through the air, not even touching the Korf, leading the other division standing in confusion and wonderment as to whether the goal had actually gone in! The rest of the match saw both teams display incredibly strong defence in our mutual bid to stop any more goals succeeding. The match ended 1-1, a credit to how well both teams played. This meant that UoB were through to the semi-finals!
With medals in sight nerves were running high and the pressure was building. Rick Scowcroft led yet another motivating pre match team talk, giving advice, empathising our strengths and concluding with how we would all like an easy semi (which for some reason prompted an outburst of noise from Evans).
Our semi final match saw us play Bristol. We felt spurred on from our successes and played another excellent game with superb interceptions being made. On many occasions Shutt was able to claim the ball back through his ability to read the game well. Our technique of pressuring the Bristol’s defence when they won the ball back also proved successful on many occasions. Parnis’s tight marking led to Bovey advising us to let her player get the ball as we would just win it straight back! We were able to get many shots up with Stewart scoring to make the score 1-0. Marsh’s talent for shooting with power from afar was well exhibited in this match, resulting in an excellent goal. Her commitment to the match was also shown when she was all set to carry on play, despite somehow having lost a trainer! Bristol’s team were also getting many shots up but none were sinking. The game ended with the final score of 2-0 to UoB. The whole team and support were elated as the realisation of a guaranteed medal began to sink in.
The wait for the highly anticipated final seemed long but the team’s energy levels was kept high by our wonderful support from both those who had travelled to be there on the day and from the virtual twitter support from other club members. Pre final inspiration was gained from the team listening to Heather Small’s ‘Proud.’
The final saw us play the home team of Cardiff. It was made clear from the side-lines that they had the crowd’s support. Cardiff had evidentially earned their place in the final, showcasing a strong attack and defence. A penalty was awarded to UoB early that saw our highest scorer Connelly take it. The pressure was on which led to the penalty narrowly missing but Connelly immediately took possession of the ball and scored from beneath the post five seconds later. UoB were 1-0 up! With Cardiff eager to score the match became much more intense with impenetrable defence from both sides. Evans successfully defended against her player’s clever tactics of using other players to create space. Cardiff claimed a penalty. The tension really could have been cut with a knife. Cardiff scored bringing the score to 1-1. The pressure was building and nerves were high. Cardiff was awarded another penalty. The missed and UoB and all their support breathed a sigh of relief. Minutes later UoB were also awarded a penalty. Burnett stepped up to take it. With the match coming to an end and the unwelcome prospect of a penalty shootout looming, to say the atmosphere was tense would be an understatement. Burnett delivered and scored his penalty! For the rest of the match every time the ball went into Cardiff’s attack UoB’s support were on the edge of their seats. The whistle signalling the end of the match was very welcome. The final score was 2-1 to UoB. We had won the BUCS national shield!
Everybody ran together to celebrate and exclaim surprise and elation at the outcome. The whole team were overjoyed when we were presented with our gold medals and the national shield. An obligatory champagne shower took place outside the sports centre. Emotions were running high and no one could stop the infectious grins permanently etched on everybody’s faces.
With UoB the winners of the tournament Cardiff went on to take 2nd place. A penalty shootout resulted in Bristol taking 3rd place and Nottingham 4th. It is outstanding that over the seven games played by UoB only 6 goals were conceded. Coach Rick Scowcroft can add this to his long list of achievement that he has now won 1st, 2nd and now 3rd team nationals. Captain of UoB 2nd team Leah Elston-Thompson noted that “we have officially won 100% of all 3rd team nationals.” This is an excellent statistic and one that we will no doubt fight to keep next year!
Now our attention shift to our 2nd team this weekend who are competing in the BUCS national trophy round. The team have been playing to an incredible standard and will no doubt have the complete support of UoB’s korfball club as they play in Nottingham this weekend.
(Number of goals scored in brackets)
Ben Connelly (7) Geology Msci., 2015
Emma Marsh (4) Political Science with Social Policy, 2016
Hannah Parnis (4) Sport, Physical Education and Coaching Science, BSC, 2015
Emma Tilbrook (4) Psychology BSc, 2016
Sarah Chapman (3) Physiotherapy, 2016
Tom Burnett (2) Geography, 2017
Allan Stewart (2) Italian and Business, 2015
Oliver Saville (1) Sports and Materials, 2015
Catherine Tomlin (1), Geography, 2015
Alex Quy, Chemistry, 2018
Catherine Evans, Geography, 2015
Peter Shutt, Investments MSc, 2015