Korfball is a game of intense individual battles, with a completely separate attack and defence, and is a hugely dynamic sport. It is one of the few sports where men and women can take to the court together. It is often described as a hybrid of basketball and netball. Players are playing either in attack or defence and much stay in those zones until a point is scored, when they switch roles. The male players can only be marked by other males, and the same applies to the female players.
One of the best aspects of Korfball is that UEA is really rather good at it. UEA’s first team won their preliminary tournament, held at the Sportspark on Saturday 21st November. They absolutely dominated the proceedings, winning all six games, scoring 55 points and conceding just seven. Seven, incidentally, was the lowest number of points UEA firsts registered in any of their matches. They set the pace from the very first match, opening with a comprehensive 12-2 win over the UEA’s second team. That was followed by an 11-0 annihilation of Kent’s third team, and later that score line was matched when UEA beat the same university’s second team by the same amount.
The crucial match for UEA’s first team was against the only Essex team in the tournament. At the moment those two met, Essex had only lost one match, meaning a win for them would tie things up at the top of the table. This match was relatively closely fought for the majority of the game, but UEA ran away with it in the end, wining 7-3, putting them within touching distance of a 100% record.
Further UEA success was provided by the second team, who finished in a hugely credible third place, only bettered by the first teams of UEA and Essex. They managed the same number of points as the Kent first team, but finished higher than them on account of their head to head record. UEA’s second team followed up the hammering at the hands of the first team by sneaking a hard fought 1-0 win over the Kent first team. They also narrowly lost to Essex, the eventual runners up, going down 3-2, in a valiant performance. The wins came against the Kent second team, a convincing 4-1 win for UEA seconds, and against the Kent third team, which was an entertaining 6-3 UEA victory. Securing a place in the top four was a massive achievement, as it means UEA’s second team progresses to the regional tournament, alongside the first team.
UEA’s third team performed well too, finishing in fifth place, comfortably ahead of Kent’s second and third teams. Their highlights included beating the Kent second team 2-1, and the Kent third team 5-1. They also managed highly creditable draws with the UEA second team, which was entertaining, despite being the only 0-0 of the tournament, and the Kent first team, with a 2-2 draw in their first game of the tournament.
One of the tournament referees, and former president of UEA Korfball, Joe Skeet, said: “Special mention to UEA 3 who played an exciting brand of Korfball with much passion and commitment. Unfortunately they just missed out on making the regional event and instead progress to the plate competition.”
“After having attended the event last year, it’s great to see the numbers of teams increase. Perennial power-houses UEA put up a strong performance as expected but Essex blades were probably the stand out performers of the event, qualifying for their first ever regional event, in only their second year”.
UEA player Chris Freakes said: “I’d say the tournament was a success! It was a competitive atmosphere but all teams showed great sportsmanship and respect towards the referees.”