Last weekend UEA Korfball Club successfully defended their BUCS title and remain the national champions.
UEA’s Sportspark hosted the two-day BUCS Nationals tournament, between Britain’s best Korfball universities. It was originally scheduled to take place at the beginning of March but fell victim to the Beast from the East which prevented visiting teams from travelling.
On Saturday, UEA got off to the best possible start, scoring 69 baskets and only conceding six in their three group games against Cardiff (22:2), Leeds Beckett (21:1) and Sheffield Hallam (26:3).
This advanced them to the quarter-finals, where they defeated Oxford 17:9 to get into the last four.
It was an early start for the team on Sunday, and they drew six-apiece in their semi-final against Nottingham, clinching their place in the final 2:1 on penalty baskets.
UEA won the final in regulation time, defeating Southampton 12:10 to retain their crown.
UEA Korfball President Sam Sadat-Farizani reflected on the end of “an incredibly successful year.”
“Over the tournament we displayed the depth in our squad. Every single member had a fantastic tournament and did everything to keep the trophy at home. Key performances from Salman Saleh and Wies van Beek, the top female scorer of Nationals, helped us when we did find ourselves in difficult situations in the later stages.
“The game that we found the trickiest was the semi-final against Nottingham University. We’ve met them at the finals of both Preliminaries and Regionals and won both times. They were keen to pull an upset against us and played extremely well, holding us to our only single digit scoring game and taking us to a penalty shootout that we ended up pulling away and winning to head to the finals.
“Ultimately, I believe this pushed us to perform in the finals to a standard we were proud of to secure the Championship.”
Sadat-Farizani also thanked volunteers from the Norfolk League and UEA Korfball who turned out to help run the tournament: “Having Nationals rescheduled to be after the exam period and having people still come and both support and help run the tournament during their summer holidays was incredibly humbling and something we greatly appreciate.”
The biggest date in UEA Korfball’s calendar, UEA have been looking forward to the tournament since they qualified unbeaten from the BUCS Preliminaries in Cambridge in December and then the BUCS Regionals in Canterbury in January to secure their place in the finals. Their preparations included a recent friendly against England’s under-17 Korfball side.
Korfball is one of only a few mixed-gender team sports at UEA.
A rarity in university sports, there are no BUCS Korfball leagues, with three end-of-year tournaments deciding the rankings. In March, UEA’s second team brought home the bronze medal from the BUCS Plate competition in Manchester.
UEA enters four teams into the local Korfball leagues during term-time and also takes part in other competitions throughout the season like April’s international Attila tournament in Eindhoven.
This year’s BUCS Nationals title is UEA’s sixth, making them the most successful team in the history of BUCS Korfball. It rounds off a successful year which also saw UEA’s Korfballers beat Essex 10:7 on Derby Day.