Abingdon Atoms (1) 20 – 15 Southampton City (1) and Abingdon Atoms (2) 8 – 22 Southampton Uni (1)

Road trip to Southampton! And for the first time ever, this was a double A1 and A2 trip down south. Much fun was had – but just exactly what happened?

Up first, Abingdon 1 were struggling to find a school sports hall for their match. Eventually it was located, as was the Southampton City 1 team contained within, and so after a quick puff around the perimeter and a few limb-loosening shots executed, A1 were raring to go!

Team news – boy wise an absent French man was replaced by a Ninja man, as Andrew was elevated to A1. Girl wise it was busy times for our lovely mums this weekend, so no Baerbel and Susie meant upgrades for the basketbally Tayebeh, and the scampery Bingers. Otherwise it was the usual suspects, a double scoop of Alexes served with a sizzling mouth-tingling portion of spicy-Catalan and finished with a tall slice of ice-cool-temper Buckley.

BOOM! Abingdon 1’s season was underway, and a tight start it was, 2-2, then 3-3, we knew Southampton City would be a keen test of our korfball skills. Gorka was tasked with keeping Andy Nye quiet, and quite excellent he was too, those two enjoying quite a tussle over the 60 minutes, and our Catalan managing to sink not one but two fine goals against him. Boy Wonder, well you can never keep him quiet, there he was sneaking into all sorts of exciting positions, he was soon off the mark. Abingdon 1, a touch rusty at first. Cobwebs were being blown away, and it always takes time to adjust to new personnel, however things suddenly started to operate far more smoothly. Both Ginger-Ninja and Tremendous-Tayebeh are noticing the difference between Division 2 and Division 1 korfball, their sneaky basketball-like tricks not as effective against sterner opposition, yet both were still classy enough to sink a fine effort each, one to each of them. In particular, Ninja was up against quite a physical opponent yet kept his cool remarkably well throughout the afternoon despite plenty of excuses to lose it had he so desired.

In fact, lots of Abingdon players wanted to get on the score sheet this afternoon, the elegant Bhairavi is determined to be in “positive-shooting-mindset” this season, and so it showed, several efforts were finally rewarded with a tremendous long shot, one to her. Yours truly was doing his best to find the middle of the korf too, and after several annoying “korf-top-ping-awayers”, finally sunk a long shot, one to me too. Meanwhile Boy Wonder is still a class act even at the age of 183, and a penalty or two along with some cheeky efforts around the basket meant 4 goals to kick start the boy’s season. Bingers was scampering around well too this afternoon, her cat-on-hot-tin-roof patter of feet were helping the flow of korfball nicely, alas no successful conversions for The Scamperer this afternoon.

Now then – one lady you may have noticed has not been mentioned so far. That would be Girl Wonder 🙂 She started last season very slowly, goals few and far between. This season? Out of the starting blocks quicker than Usain Bolt in the 100 metres, “on fire” does Girlie a dis-service, she was more like “molten rock” she was that hot! A couple of long shots to start with, one two. Some nice post movement from Andrew and I caused much contact-during-shot-execution, a couple of resulting penalties finding the centre of the korf. A couple of cheeky post efforts taking the tally to six, some more penalty-inducing contact caused by me lurking under the post and Andrew getting their boy defenders into a bit of a pickle allowed Girlie to sink two more penalties. And just to finish off, Andrew and I manned the post between us to let Girlie finish off two more long shots with finesse, her final total a staggering TEN GOALS! THAT’s RIGHT, TEN, AS IN ONE-ZERO! Incroyable Girlie 🙂

Abingdon 1 scoring 20 in total… Southampton City? 15 from then, and so an excellent 20-15 winning start to Abingdon 1’s season.

So then, next across town and into the infamous “dungeon” sports hall buried deep in the lower complex of the Southampton Uni sports centre for Abingdon 2’s match against Southampton Uni. Now then, Alex Bell and that-awesome-girl have both left uni! So things will be easier against Southampton Uni this year right? WRONG! Three England under 19s and a host of other talent meant they would be as tough as ever. But A2 have morale, spirit and determination in herculean proportions ready to use against all super tricky Division 1 teams this year, and were determined to give a good account of themselves. The target for this match was 8 goals remember after scoring 7 in the last one…

Team news. Andrew/Laurence/Dave for the boys, Erica/Tayebeh for the girls. And disaster this weekend, with precisely no A3 boys available to fill Juan-Miguel’s absence 😦 A3 girls were sparse too, however the effervescent Lyndsey was well up for a tough match in her old student surroundings. So myself and Gorka played half each to fill in the boy gap, Lyndsey filled one girl spot and Bhairavi/Girlie were down to play half each to fill the final girl spot, with the team staying legal by the skin of their teeth.

Now then, as you might expect, the Southampton Uni goals were bound to fly in with regularity with all that talent right? Well, sort of… they were certainly steady, but unlike the torrential downpour of Farnborough goals last week, this was light-to-moderate showers with the odd heavy rain cloud passing by on occasions. Abingdon 2 not starting well, but getting much better as the match progressed. How were our own rain droplets of goals going? Light showers as you might expect, but definitely raining. Play downs opened the scoring, with Bhairavi netting herself a nice effort, and then thanks to a lovely feed at just the right time, I polished off a running in shot to take the team tally to 2. Down the other end, Bingers and Tayebers were up against some tough little nuggets of ladies, super young and super nippy, life was tough. And then disaster! Tayebeh took a tumble, and her ankle said “game over”, so precaution was the common sense action, off she came and on came Girlie as her replacement – no second half rest for you Bhairavi unfortunately! And continuing her purple patch from earlier, Alex Girl was soon on the scoresheet, making it look irritatingly easy. Finishing the scoring for the half was Delightful-Dave Plummer. Closely guarded by an athletic Southampton boy, an excellent veer via the feed gave him a yard of space, and a lovely long shot sailed in, with Abingdon 2 finishing the half on 4 goals. Half way to 8 in fact, the challenge was still on! Oh Southampton were on, err, 12, something like that.

Second half, and again Abingdon 2 were having a mixture of good moments and off moments. We were starting to defend much better, cutting out what Southampton were looking for – in particular Andrew kept good tabs on his player, and Lyndsey, who let’s not forget appears to be gaining all of her korfball experience by us throwing her into mega-hard matches in Division 1, was manfully battling against her girl and managing to keep her pretty quiet, top stuff from our effervescent Atkins! Honestly Lyndsey, we’ll let you gain some experience in the calmer surroundings of Division 2 at some point, promise!

Now then, Gorka had replaced me at half time, and he couldn’t resist a cheeky move half way through the second half, one to him 😉 The team tally now on 5… NINJA! Even in Division 1 you can never keep him off the scoresheet, one to his good self. Final mention to Laurence, certainly the top Abingdon 2 player in terms of finding the korf this season, not one but top scoring on two goals this afternoon, both long range efforts. Or maybe one was a penalty? Or was that Andrew’s goal? I forget…

Anyway, 5 + Ninja + Laurence x 2 =…… 8 GOALS!!! 😀 Yes! Mission accomplished. Southampton Uni? Unfortunately a couple of heavy rain clouds full of goals at one point, but otherwise light drizzle with occasional showers the rest of the time, they finished on 22 goals, the scoreline 8-22 in the end.

So well battled Abingdon 2. But of course you know what this means… the challenge for your next match? 9 goals 🙂

Thank you to all players who travelled down to Southampton. In particular two special mentions need singling out. First Lyndsey Atkins, busy on Sunday morning and early afternoon training for her half marathon next weekend, but was still good enough to drive down on her own for the A2 match and have more exercise in order for us to field a legal team, THANK YOU! Even more of a special mention, Laurence was away in Manchester this weekend, but travelled the length of the country on his own to be there for the A2 match, also helping to ensure that we stayed legal. THANK YOU to you too!

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