Image: Wikimedia Commons

Making club history: An overview of Warwick Korfball’s season

This season, Warwick Korfball achieved its greatest ever BUCS result: playing in the National Championships for the first time ever, the club finished as the 14th-best university team in the country, a 21-place improvement from last season. This is a result that we are incredibly proud of, especially as we attained the highest placement of any single-team university, demonstrating how far you can get with hard work and great chemistry, even when your resources may be limited.

Korfball is similar to netball and basketball. There are eight players on a team – four women and four men.

For Korfball, BUCS is split into three stages: prelims, regionals, and nationals, with your performance at prelims and regionals determining which national tournament you qualify for.

We put on a very strong showing at prelims, finishing second and qualifying for regionals after winning all but one game – a tough 4-8 loss to hosts Birmingham 1s. A notable highlight was our dominant showing against Birmingham 2s, whom we had beaten for the first time just a week prior, which gave us a lot of confidence going forward.

We had a much less smooth experience at regionals, with a very early start the day after Chinese New Year and some stress with our minibus transport potentially bleeding into our first game of the day – a narrow 8-6 defeat to Cambridge 1s.

We qualified for the National Championships in Norwich as the third seed from our region

Despite this disappointment, we bounced back quickly, winning our other two group games against Birmingham 2s, and Keele 1s to get through to the third-place playoff – a rematch against Birmingham 1s that would become our most memorable game of the season. With five minutes remaining, we led 6-5, but those five minutes would seem like an eternity as Birmingham’s late surge saw them take them shot after shot, each with the potential to tie the game and break our spirits.

When one of their players got free under the post, an equaliser seemed inevitable, and only a tactical foul could deny them a certain goal – setting up a penalty to tie the game. With the pressure on, Birmingham missed, and despite what felt like an endless barrage of shots, they were unable to pull level, with the final whistle ushering in an indescribable sense of relief as we squeaked through with a win.

As a result, we qualified for the National Championships in Norwich as the third seed from our region and would face a group including Oxford, Manchester, and Sheffield Hallam.

Unfortunately, though, the group stage would not go well for us, and despite playing some great korfball, creating chances we would usually capitalise on, our offensive struggles saw us winless in group play – which included a heartbreaking 11-12 defeat to Hallam. This sent us to the lower bracket, with our final game of the day, another loss to Cambridge, marking a day to forget for the club, having shown a lot of rust after an Easter off.

We played great korfball on both sides of the ball, and, on another day, we might’ve won each of the games we played

A nice evening out as a team helped us to refocus for the second day and, playing on full-size courts for the first time, we won 8-6 against Reading, allowing us to take solace in the fact that we would not come last. This solace was much needed, as we would go on to lose 7-12 to St Andrews in our final game of the BUCS season to finish 14th, bringing an end to a tournament that, whilst frustrating in the moment, was a great achievement, all things considered.

Our performance did not lack dignity; we played great korfball on both sides of the ball, and, on another day, we might’ve won each of the games we played. Sometimes shots just don’t go in, but that’s something that I, and I hope my team, can live with.


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