It’s been a crazy year for the UEA Korfball 2nd team.With a mix of new and experienced players, we expected to push for a medal and we got it, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.
In our first tournament it took a last-gasp penalty shootout for us to progress, before five members of our team were involved in a serious car crash on the morning of the Regionals in January. We found that something so serious happening brought the team together, and I think I’d speak for everyone in saying that the adversity we faced gave the team a special bond throughout the whole year.
Due to the events earlier in the day the game was not our main focus, we were the last team to play at the regional tournament and we had no substitutes. That being said, by the time of the BUCs Plate in Manchester, we were fully strengthened and raring to go. For me and a few other finalists this was our last chance to win the medal which we had been working towards for years.
The first game, a tense 3-3 draw against Birmingham, showed us that the tournament wasn’t going to be easy. We then managed to win our other group games against Oxford 2nd team and Northumbria to progress to the quarter-finals, where we faced Kent. The team really showed up against Kent, scoring bags of goals and the win set up a semi-final clash against Newcastle. A last-minute decision to include Rohan Gwynn in the squad, after a season-ending injury six months earlier, proved to be a great one as he scored three goals in what was his only appearance in a BUCS match this year.
Newcastle were a very tough team, the tension of the semi-finals combined with a questionable referee saw us suffer a heartbreaking defeat. Though we still had a chance to win a medal against Birmingham, a team we knew we could beat, having played them in our first game. Unsurprisingly, the game was a tense affair. The intensity of the game was very impressive, given the fact that both teams had played in and lost a semi-final just two hours earlier.
Having been through tense penalty shootouts and the awful crash earlier in the year, we still managed to find the energy needed in the final stages to win 8-7. Tom Cooke, the driver in the car accident just three months earlier, scored the goal which won us the game and the ultimately the bronze medal, with Camille Koosyial and George Witty also playing major roles. The medal was for those guys.