Ahead of the new academic year at UEA, we take a look at five sports societies that may have slipped under your radar. Sports Editor Nick Murphy investigates some of the weird and wonderful sports you can get involved with on campus.
Korfball Society is one of UEA’s hidden gems. Run by President Bayley Woodridge, the society has grown beyond recognition in recent years to pick up four, top three finishes in the BUCS National Championship, including claiming the title of champions in 2013.
Korfball also holds the distinction of being the only mixed-sex participation sport at UEA while offering students the chance to play socially or competitively in one of six local league teams.
The aim of the game is simple. You score when you throw the ball through the opposition’s basket. After two goals, the teams change zones. The defenders become the attackers, while the attackers take their turn defending. Although a tactical sport, korfball is both fast-paced and dynamic, yet does not require players to remain in fixed positions such as basketball and netball. UEAKC has a total of over 100 members, all of whom pay a membership of £20 per year.
General training takes place on Wednesdays at 5 pm while shooting training is on Fridays. The society also offers players the chance to compete across the UK and Europe.
One of Team GB’s biggest successes at the Rio Olympics this summer, cycling is riding the crest of a wave in Great Britain at the moment and the situation is no different at UEA. The University of East Anglia Cycling Club (UEACC) offers the chance for new riders to cycle socially or indeed, train competitively ready for a race environment. UEACC is affiliated with the sport’s two governing bodies, British Cycling and Cycling Time Trials, which allows all members of the club the opportunity to enter local time trials and lotus league races.
Club President Alan Sydee focuses not only on the serious side of the sport, but also the sheer enjoyment that can be gained from riding on two wheels. He says: “We offer something for everybody. We understand that not everybody wants to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Laura Trott and are hugely proud of the social side of our club.”
He continues: “We can guarantee that friends will be made and memories will be shared.” Membership for the year is £15 and also includes participation in a “nobody Is dropped” group on Sundays, which allows riders of all abilities to take part.
Now in its 15th year at UEA, Capoeira Society offers students the chance to get to grips with one of the most fascinating forms of martial arts. Capoeira combines aspects of dance, acrobatics and music and is known for a wide variety of moves including kicks and spins which require speed and power in their application. Despite this, capoeira focuses not on harming the opponent but the application of skill during the game, with no direct emphasis on rules and point scoring.
The most common form of capoeira that is taught at UEA is jogo de capoeira, which translates as “game of capoeira.” It is a ritualised form of capoeira where two capoeiristas (the players) exchange movements of attack and defence while observing the manners and the traditions of the sport. The sport is a Brazilian martial art, but has its roots embedded in Africa, most notably Angola and the Congo.
At UEA, sessions run twice a week in the dance studio and are taught by Ash Smith who is affiliated to Groupo Cordo de Ouro (CDO) Norwich, a capoeira society which runs in the city. Membership costs £5 and offers not only the chance to get fit and keep healthy, but also experience a new culture and a sport that isn’t widely available around the UK.
An indoor, five-a-side version of football, futsal was a rite of passage for established stars such as Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The game encourages players to hone their creativity, take more touches of the ball and analyse the game in real time to find a way past the opposition defence.
Now in their seventh year as a sports society, UEA Futsal is hitting new heights. They have accrued the most BUCS points cumulatively of any sports society at the university and last season the men’s team finished 3rd in the Premier Midlands League, reaching the super 8s stage of the subsequent Champions Cup. The women’s side also qualified for the Champions Tournament only to narrowly lose out to Loughborough in the round of 16. Both the men’s and women’s teams are the only UEA clubs that compete in the top division of their respective sports leagues at BUCS level. The profile of the sport is growing not only at UEA, but around the UK.
The England Futsal team have achieved a ranking of 58th in the world and only last May, manager Mike Skubala brought his squad to UEA Sports Park for two friendlies against the Finland National Team. Membership of UEA Futsal Club costs £25 for the entire year and comes complete with training sessions with a qualified coach every Friday evening. If you do not wish to play the sport competitively, UEAFC also offers the chance to play the sport socially at the Sports Park on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm and Friday from 5-6 pm.
Joining swimming and sub-aqua as one of UEAs three pool based societies is water polo. The society, formed in 2001, achieved impressive joint finishes of fourth in both the men’s and women’s BUCS league last year, with the men’s team gaining promotion to the Midland 1A league. The game itself is simple. Each team is allowed six outfield players and one goalkeeper plus substitutes, with the aim of scoring more goals than the opposition across a period of four, eight minute quarters.
The team is generally set out in a 3-3 formation comprising of three attackers and three defenders, each with their own specific positional name. Such is the quick-pace and almost rhythmic nature of the sport; teamwork is key to success. It is something typified by the nations of Croatia, Italy and Serbia, all of whom achieved medal success at the most recent two Olympics games. Closer to home the 2015/2016 campaign was the best in UEA Water Polo’s history and with the society continuing to grow, there has never been a better time to attend one of their two weekly training sessions.
The club trains at the Sports Park on Monday’s from 7:30pm-9pm and Tuesday from 8pm-9:30pm. Extra training also takes place on Saturday afternoons at Hewett School in the Lakenham area of Norwich, for which transport will be provided. Membership is £20 for the entire year and the society will also be hosting a free “Give It a Go” session on Saturday 1st October at 1:15pm at Hewlett School.
As a sport that is not available throughout the UK, UEA Water Polo represents an opportunity for new students to try something different and the chance to get involved with one of institutions highest achieving societies.