After the months of training and league games, BUCS finally kicked off for UoB Korfball as their top four teams travelled to Oxford to compete in BUCS Prelims. There were eight teams in total; 4 from Birmingham, 2 from Keele and 2 from Oxford. The top 5 sides qualify for the next BUCS tournament, BUCS Regionals, while Oxford 1s and UoB 1s and 2s were all hoping to win the competition. Here is how each team got on from what was a long day of Korfball.
Having won Prelims last year, UoB 1s knew pressure was on to match this performance at this year’s BUCS Prelims. They emerged victorious in a tight first first game was against UoB 2s. It was, as expected, a very competitive match, but they played their own game and secured the win 4-3. They continued the winning streak, and topped the group after beating Keele 1s and Oxford 2s. Moving on into the semi-finals they again were faced with another Birmingham team, UoB 3s. A good fight was put up by the 3s, but the 1s still managed the win 8-2 to put them in the final. It was a rematch of the first game against UoB 2s, a much stronger performance from the whole team secured them a comfortable win meaning they were rightfully ranked 1st in the whole tournament.
“I’m really happy with how we played. As a team we performed extremely well with nearly everyone scoring throughout the day. This result give us a top seeding and puts us in a great place for tackle regionals next term!” – Emma Portno, 1s Captain
With the West Midlands league being restructured this season, the standard of competition had been slightly easier, so BUCS Prelims were a really good test to see where the side were at and how well they would play against harder opposition. Their first group game was against UoB 1s, so going into it they had nothing to lose. Despite going three goals down early on, they impressively brought it back to 3-3, before a last minute winner from Jack Glaznieks gave the 1s a narrow 4-3 victory. They played very well in a game they were not expected to win and they carried this strong performance into their other two group games. Despite taking a while to get into the games, they emerged comfortable winners against Keele 1s and Oxford 2s to finish second in our group. This meant a semi-final clash against Oxford 1s, who had beaten the 2s at this stage last year. They went a few goals down early on, but kept their cool by scoring six unanswered to then bring it back from 4-1 down to 7-4 up. With less than 5 minutes to go it was very tense, as Oxford got a few last minute goals, but Birmingham were able to hold on to win it 7-6! They faced UoB 1s again in the final, where the 1s ran out comfortable winners, but it was a massive achievement to make it there and come second in a highly competitive tournament.
“I’m really happy with how we performed and kept our cool despite going several goals down in multiple matches. I’m really excited for regionals and hopeful this team can bring home a trophy come March” – Dani Workman, 2s Captain
With a good mix of BUCS oldies and newbies, the 3s were optimistic of their chances heading into BUCS Prelims. As anticipated, they started against a strong Oxford 1s side and lost 8-1, but there were still plenty of to take from the game. They overcame a potential banana skin against UoB 4s holding on for a 6-5 win, which put them in an optimistic mood for the last group game. Birmingham 3s then needed to beat Keele 2s to claim 2nd in the group and qualify for regionals. They comfortably achieved this and kept a clean sheet with a 10-0 win! Going into the afternoon UoB 3s had nothing to lose as they played against some harder competition and saw it as a great way to learn and develop as a team. They didn’t even have their coaches supporting us in the semi final against UoB 1s game as they were the opposition! A 8-2 loss showed how much the team had improved even throughout the day. The final match was the 3rd/4th play-off against Oxford 1s, again! It was another tough game and Oxford 1s were clearly frustrated from losing their semi as they finished dominant winners and UoB 3s had to settle for 4th.
“I’m so proud of how well everyone stepped up and played together. As a team we improved so much in one day and I cannot wait to head to regionals with this side and see how well we can do!” – Hannah Bashford, 3s Captain
Being the most inexperienced team, and losing their captain the day before due to illness the 4s were unsure of what to expect going into Prelims. They started off the day extremely well with a huge win beating Keele 2s 7-1. They then went on to face Birmingham 3s, narrowly losing 5-6 in a highly contested match, and unfortunately also lost the final match of the group stage against Oxford 1s. This left them placing 3rd in their group, and had to face a strong Keele 1s side in the semi-finals to fight for a spot in the 5th/6th play-offs to try and win the coveted 5th Regional qualifying spot. Despite everyone playing their best, the experience from Keele 1s showed, and it wasn’t to be for the 4s as they lost a closely fought game. Their final game was the 7th/ 8th where as they faced Keele 2s again. They pulled out another big win, finishing a long day of korfball on a high.
“I was very proud of how we played today, we all played our hardest and, despite having a few setbacks in the run up to the competition. Given our performance and how much we should progress as a side, I’m very optimistic about our chances at Southern Qualifiers and hopefully beyond!” – Rebecca Rouse, 4s Vice-Captain
1st. University of Birmingham 1s
2nd. University of Birmingham 2s
3rd. University of Oxford 1s
4th. University of Birmingham 3s
5th. University of Keele 1s
6th. University of Oxford 2s
7th. University of Birmingham 4s
8th. University of Keele 2s
The 1s, 2s and 3s now advance to Regionals, where the 1s should qualify for BUCS Championships and the others to BUCS Trophy. The 4s also have a strong chance at Southern Qualifiers, where they will hope to advance to BUCS Plate. The club would like to thank Hannah Bashford for all her organisation for the event, head coach; Adam Waide and student coaches; Sam Wells, Emma Portno, Jack Glaznieks and Dani Workman for their help and time with all the teams.