OKA Play-offs – The Results!

2015 05 Division 2 winners

The reporting hand is weak, the quill nib is worn down and the ink well is nearly empty. Reporting on the korfball fun, blood, sweat and tears of the 2014/2015 season has taken its toll. All league matches are done and dusted. Except for this final and very special outing… time to crack open the 2015/2016 quill and ink well early, because this season aint done yet!

Yes Abingdon 2 were today taking part in the the OKA play-offs in order to gain promotion to Division 1. For the benefit of those who are new to the club, the format is like so: the bottom team of Division 1 (Oxford Isis 1) is automatically relegated. The second bottom team (Didcot 1) play in a triangular play-off with the winners of Division 2 South (Southampton City 1) and the winners of Division 2 North (Abingdon Atoms 2). So each team plays 2 matches, and the top two teams of that lot are promoted.

On arriving at St. Greg’s at 3:50pm, Southampton City 1 vs Didcot 1 was well under way. After inquiring in my generic posh southern accent “how the devil are they both doing?”, Her Geordiness replied in her usual dulcet tones “Sou’ampton ‘ave scored shed-loads man, Didcot ‘aint”. Class as always Chrissie… in fact, the final result was 26-10 to Southampton City 1. Pay attention to that scoreline…

So next up, Abingdon 2 would take on Southampton City 1. And well tasty they looked too, we always knew they would be a very tough nut to crack. Sporting some excellent players all round the park. But so do we! Team news and a full dollop of Abingdon 2 served with a side of Abingdon 3 and a last minute appearance by Crafty-Caroline Scott meant a squad of Twinkle-Toes, Ginger-Ninja, Timotei-Express, Golden-arm-McGowan, Lazy-Laurence, Cracker-Jack-Juan-Mi, Tayeebz, Bingers-the-Scamperer, Anna-Arms-Gemi, Boxy-van-Boxy-Boxel, Her Geordiness and Crafty-Caroline.

So then, off we went and alas this match was never destined to be a close one, plenty of Southampton goals were flying in, alas far fewer at the Abingdon end. But we knew this might happen, so rolling subs a plenty to save legs and stamina all round the team. Twinkle-Toes John, you can never keep him down, not 1 not 2 but 3 goals for him, the shining beacon in Abingdon 2 scoring, with just Tremendous-Tayebeh netting in a lovely runner, and Crafty-Caroline performing her usual wizardry to confuse her defender and net a goal. Ginger-Ninja got a bit hot under the collar at times, up against the excellent Andy Nye and a fine ding-dong they were both having all around the pitch. But in the end, a 20-5 loss to Southampton City 1. Pay attention to that scoreline too…

So then, two wins out of two and Southampton City 1 were promoted, jolly well done to them! So who would join them in Division 1 next season? The mighty Dragons of Didcot or the incredible Atoms of Abingdon? Fasten your seat belts, this was a tense one…

Whistle blown and we were off! Stalemate at first, even-stevens all round… deadlock broken, long shot from Twinkle-Toes, BOOM! 1-0. Alas, Didcot goal, 1-1, switcheroo… heart rates of spectators: steady and comfortable.

More passing, more intercepting, more chances, more misses. Tension in the air. Great move, foul, penalty. Cool as you like, Ginger-Ninja slotted home. Curses, another pesky Didcot goal, despite the best defensive efforts of Toes, the excellent Dave Ewing was always going to be hard to contain. 2-2, switch of ends… heart rates of spectators: steady with a gentle murmur of excitement.

Oh John, those toes went and did it again. 3-2 to Abingdon. AND AGAIN! 4-2 to Abingdon, switch again… heart rates of spectators: steady to steady-moderate, traces of adrenaline detected.

Could Abingdon 2 now pull away from Didcot? Alas no, Didcot goal, that pesky Dave Ewing yet again, 4-3. And another defensive lapse, penalty… netted… 4-4… switch…. heart rate of spectators: moderately pacey, traces of adrenaline still detectable.

Now then, a man who had been kept quiet all afternoon… until NOW! Juan-Mi, springy and pesky as always finally rid his marker, one nice finish to him. 5-4 to Abingdon 2. But yep, you guessed it, the man you can’t keep down, a Didcot equalizer meant the curtain came down on the first half at 5-5. And this match to decide promotion to division 1?! Mamma-mia… heart rates of spectators, distinctly medium pace now, adrenaline quantities increasing…

Soothing Beavan words were said, and off we went, 30 minutes to decide Abingdon 2’s destiny for next season. Chrissie’s stupendously scrumptious looking cake glowed green and orange from the sidelines. Bhairavi was leading the cheer-leading from the sides… Gorka, Damien, me, Daddy-Rogers, all there willing Abingdon 2 onwards and upwards! Who would break the deadlock?!

Abingdon 2 started to motor now, and Tremendous-Tayebeh really does turn the style on when it matters most. With some lovely Abingdon passing helping to keep the Didcot defenders moving, space was created, and a lovely running in shot was netted. And before long, she bagged another! What a time to bag a double brace, 7-5 to Abingdon 2 now, and switcheroo… heart rates of spectators, medium to medium-fast now, adrenaline starting to pump…

Time for the boys to get in on the action, Abingdon 2 really opened up some daylight now, John and his twinkling toes netted a personal 4th of the afternoon (nice one!), and crackling Juan-Mi was motoring around everywhere, first to balls and doing a sterling job keeping the attack going. His reward was another lovely finish, a personall tally of 2 for him. 9-5 to Abingdon 2 now, and clear daylight created. Surely promotion was ours. Surely? Switch of ends… heart rates of spectators, medium-fast, adrenaline in full pump. Palms, sweaty.

Oh no, things started to unravel now… bang, Didcot goal… foul, bang, Didcot goal… 9-7, switch ends… Abingdon 2 got a bit flustered here, rushed passes, mis-communications, things were getting tense. Fortunately Didcot had some nerves too, but nevertheless a few careless moments, and another Didcot goal… 9-8… and fears were fast becoming a reality when another Didcot goal sunk in…. 9-9 :-S Heart rates of spectators, high, adrenaline, high, palms, distinctly sweaty. 10 minutes to go…

Time-out called by Alex. Anti-adrenaline shots were administered, calm was enforced… the game continued…

Laurence. Lazy-Laurence. Napping Laurence 😉 Puts up with me taking the Michael out of him all season, but he did a great job marking a pesky Didcot boy today. It was 9-9 for an eternity, the ball passing from end to end. And finally, a lovely long shot from Laurence sailed in, 10-9 and a chink of day light to Abingdon 2! 5 minutes to go… penalty to Dicot… SCORED! *sad face* 😦 10-10… heart rates of spectators: ultra-high, adrenaline coursing through veins, palms awash with sweat.

Switch of ends, penalty to Abingdon!! Taken… missed! Ball to the other end… penalty to Didcot! Taken… missed! Ball to the other end… penalty to Abingdon! Taken… missed! Ball to the other end… penalty to Didcot! Taken… missed! Honestly, you couldn’t script this… heart rates of spectators, cardiac arrest imminent, adrenaline at 110%, palms a pool of liquid on the sports hall floor. Bhairavi fainted in all the excitement, but the threat of the kiss of life from Damien soon revived her before that was necessary.

Could Abingdon 2 find a winner? Anna Arms-Gemi, those lovely arms, a long shot sailed high, and it looked excellent. I’d have bet good money on it sinking… agonizingly it rolled the rim and popped out. And there it was, 10-10 the final score, hand shakes all round.

But what did it mean? I said to remember those earlier scores, here’s why… overall goal difference is the first differentiator if two teams are tied in the play-offs. The 10-10 match cancels itself out, so it was all down to the Southampton matches from earlier. Didcot 1 lost 26-10, a goal difference of -16. Abingdon 2 lost 20-5, a goal difference of -15.

So by A SINGLE GOAL, Abingdon 2 breathed a sigh of relief, by the slenderest of margins but nevertheless a well earned PROMOTION TO DIVISION 1! Her Geordiness’s excellent cake tasted very very sweet indeed 🙂

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