Another afternoon of korfball at St. Greg’s, and up first today was the much anticipated local club derby – A1 vs A2! This would be fiercely competitive from start to end, right?
Erm – not quite. Unfortunately this was the weekend where everyone was injured/on holiday/ill/doing something else, and numbers were very low – big sad face 😦 After filling up A1 with 8 players, A2 were left with just 6 people (the gender balance meant it was impossible to do 7 vs 7), and so there had to be a non-shooting A1 boy at one end and a non-shooting A1 girl at the other end. With Her Geordiness and His VanBoxyness both required for the A3 match later, they were given the honour and allowed to rest their limbs and play provider for their other team mates – Bhairavi/Baerbel/Helen/Gorka/Matt/Rich. Representing A2 were Juan-Miguel, Tayebeh, Dave, Frances, Kiri and debutant Gary – what a situation to find yourself in for your first ever league match!
So we were off, and it would be rather rude to focus too much on the plethora of Abingdon 1 goals throughout the sixty minutes, with Abingdon 2 players doing a fantastic job coping as well as they could. So let’s just go with the A1 highlights. And first the big fella! Gorka, a whopping 8 goals to his name, despite Dave Plummer trying his best to keep him under wraps. It could have been more, but some shonky finishing from The Catalan express several times under the post was a nice touch, reminding all of us that he is human after all 🙂 Also at the same end, Bhairavi Patel was having a splendid afternoon too, at least two ice cool penalties finished nicely, and a few other lovely efforts to finish on 5 for the afternoon. Meanwhile at the other end, I had a pesky spring-loaded Juan-Mi to contend with. Two penalties, a close one under the post and two long shots meant I finished also on 5 for the afternoon. The other boy at my end was Rich who was also showing his experience, a long shot or two and some cleverly timed runs with good support from non-shooting Chrissie meant 5 goals also to Rich. Baerbel sneaked onto the score sheet with a couple too. Meanwhile back at the other end, Mrs. Van Boxel was using non-shooting Mr. Van Boxel’s Mr. Tickle arms under the post very nicely indeed to skin her marker and create several running in shots. Unfortunately Mrs. V-B had left her shooting hands at home this afternoon, no finishing touch today but a solid effort none the less.
So then, what could our A2 soldiers manfully create in sixty minutes? Let’s review the action… Juan-Mi! Right pain-in-the-arse he is to mark, I was certainly wishing that having 20 years on him counted for at least something, but the man is well nippy! Or I’m well slow… maybe both… anyway, he was popping up everywhere – several chances and several free passes went close, but no cigar unfortunately. Dave Plummer, played well given the restrictions, and as always managed to sneak onto the score sheet, a nice finish to him. Pope Frances! Developing quite a nice shooting arm is our aubern haired lady, several lovely arcing efforts went close, alas couldn’t notch up a mark on the score sheet today. Tayebeh! Top scoring for A2 with 2 goals to her name today, like a whack-a-mole game, you just can’t keep her down all of the time. But to finish, a couple of special mentions:
1) Piri-Piri-Kiri! Always getting a bit down about her shooting, and yet here she was with an absolute peach, high it sailed before landing majestically smack bang in the centre of the korf to register her first ever league goal for Abingdon! And in Division 1 too, tasty… you could say “too hot to handle”… Anyway, special mention number two goes to:
2) Gary “Gazelle” Bethel! Gazelle is certainly a suitable adjective, the man has pace and skills, and here he was putting them to good use in his first ever league match for Abingdon – what a time to make your debut! Despite the tough conditions, a lovely arcing shot as peachy as Kiri’s was unleashed from his hands, it too gracefully plopping down inside the rim of the korf. Gary’s first league goal in his first every league match. Well played, and this was enough to earn him MVP, so well played again 🙂
The final scoreline 25-5 to Abingdon 1, with special thanks to all the A2 players for playing their part under tough circumstances with smiles on their faces 🙂
So then, on to A3, and a tough encounter against an Isis 1 side, tipped to win the league before the start of the season, having come down from Division 1 and sporting a number of very experienced players. With player a plenty left over after the A2 match, we could field a team with no play downs: Steven VB, Helen, Rich, Frances, Gary, Chrissie, Kiri, and… welcome back from honeymoon to Shirlaine, and… welcome back after what feels like an eternity to Chris Drew!
Off went A3, and of course life was going to be tough, Isis are little tinkers and canny operators. After receiving the rough end of a few referring decisions, finding the basket was proving tough. In went a few Isis goals, before finally Steven Van Boxel broke the Abingdon deadlock, those Mr. Tickle arms smoothing propelling the ball upwards on a suitable trajectory, one fine goal to him despite having the experienced Pete Sage closely guarding him.
A couple of lucky Isis shots fell in, a 5-1 scoreline to them slightly flattering but mostly truthful. A time-out, some Catalan words of wisdom, back out again, and Abingdon maintained their solid defending, but attack started to go much better, more movement and better passing always helps to create more opportunities. Alas the killer touch was lacking today, Isis goals continued to fall in. No reply from Abingdon… until Rich “Golden Arm” McGowan suddenly sprang up from nowhere. Having a very good match was Rich, especially in defence, right-place-right-time kind of performance, and then in attack he suddenly unleashed a lovely long shot, one to him.
Alas that was where the Abingdon 3 scoring finished. Several nice performances, in particular Chris Drew was very sharp given that he last played korfball in what feels like 1959, and Shirlaine made several lovely nippy moves round her defender towards the post on many occasions. Final mention goes to Steven van Boxel, he was excellent against his old club, and I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t get MVP from Isis (despite the irony 😉 ) The final scoreline 11-2 to Isis 1, well played to them.
EVERYONE IS PLAYING NEXT WEEKEND! A1: 15:00, A2: 16:15, A3: 17:30