Abingdon Atoms (1) 21 – 11 Oxford Uni (1), Abingdon Atoms (2) 8 – 9 Oxford Uni (1) and Abingdon Atoms (3) 7 – 6 Oxford Uni (2)

This weekend saw a student onslaught! Not one, not two but three matches against the latest batch of Oxford University’s finest whipper-snappers, looking surprisingly spritely despite what they must have had to cram in over the weekend. Honestly, just how are you supposed to fit in seventeen beers on a Saturday night, umpteen shots and 3 curries all rounded off with a lamb kebab at 5am and still have time for a solid hangover-kip ready in time for a 3pm korfball match on a Sunday?

Taking on the Uni 1st team at this ungodly hour were our experienced band of A1 players, probably all tucked up in bed with slippers and cocoa by 10pm the night before, and most of us over double the age of the student we were marking (except youthful me of course, 32 years young and maybe just a mere decade and a half older than my marker…)

I’m waffling, cut to the chase for once Buckley – BANG, we were off said referee Mr. Sage! And right tight it was too, 3-3 at one point me thinks, it always takes us a few moments to adapt to the nimbleness of the uni attack and the enthusiastic defence breathing down our collars at all times.

Alas for Oxford Uni 1, youth and keenness is temporary but creaking and aged Abingdon legs are permanent and have the experience to be where it counts when it matters the most, both divisions starting to play nicely and get away some nice shots. Girl Wonder is still on fire from the start of the season, and I got the best view in the house as a couple of lovely long efforts popped effortlessly through the korf. Meanwhile at the other end, whilst Gorka was having his usual (well-behaved I might add) scrap with the equally athletic young Mr. Glennie, Boy-Beavanshire was up to his dastardly ways as usual, mixing up the long shots and some cheekiness under the post – in particular a lovely “fake-shoot-actually-no-fake-pass-ha-ha-he’s-looking-away-shoot-score-super-thank-you” moment was fun to watch. But despite The Two Alex Wonders of the Abingdon Korfball World doing their usual business, plenty of others were getting in on the action today. Susie and Baerbel were unavailable, so Tremendous-Tayebeh was parachuted upwards, and so was Caroline “Flash” Scott! And flash is certainly the adjective one could use to describe her trainers, stylish-yet-deafening, you really had to be there… anyway, Tayebeh bagged herself a trademark runner, and Flash did… erm can’t remember, but surely two super clever things to out fox her girl. Half time 11-4 to A1.

A quick chat from the ref to both teams at half time, something along the lines of “now now children, cut out the naughty elbowey stuff and play nicely” and we were off again. Bhairavi! Sporting a new streamlined haircut, this gave 5% extra speed to Abingdon’s most delicate feather of a player, but with the wind just right she used these percentages well to blow into just the right place not once, but twice, two fine goals to her name. Moving on to less light players… Damien! Monsieur was back en-ville, and even in his forties he still found a couple of moments to drop the shoulder and get round his young defender, not un but DEUX goals pour Monsieur. Which just leaves our favourite and most southerly continental, honourable mention despite having a pesky defender stuck to him like glue, Catalonia’s finest export found the korf FOUR times in total, a marvellous effort. In fact well done to everyone on the team for scoring APART FROM ME. Sad face 😦 But what a team effort overall, a solid final scoreline of 21-11.

So then, Abingdon 2 up next against the same OU1 team and what a humdinger this was. BANG, and for once we didn’t have to wake Laurence up from a crafy pre-match kip under the post, here he was early doors venturing out to long shot territory. Despite being exhausted once reaching his destination, with the skill of a basketballer he irritated Caroline by sinking a lovely one-handed long shot effort, nice work from our bearded wonder. Dave Plummer, also sporting shortish-medium hair today seemed to find a couple of nice bursts of pace, two lovely finished for our most dastardly korfballer. Not so easy for our ladies this match, up against some nippy young things in the uni ranks. Bingers was scampering the best that her little toes would manage, unfortunately the experienced Alice from Uni was even scamperier than our Bingers. Mrs. Van Boxyness herself was also doing her best against her defender, despite some excellent moves couldn’t quite find the finishing touch. Even Crafty-Caroline was struggling in this match, despite her sexy shoes giving her opponent a touch of retina burn, alas she couldn’t craft out any killer finishes.

Fortunately Tremendous-Tayebeh was still in town, also playing in this match! Now Tayebeh usually likes a couple of “definitely defended” shots to go in, just to check that the ref is paying full attention to the action (and not distracted by Caroline’s shoes, for example), but on two occasions she chose the right moment, one cheeky close drop-off shot, and another that I can’t remember, TWO to her! Talking of shooting whilst being defended… ANDREW ROGERS! *Slap on wrist* Naughty Ninja this afternoon, several lost attacks from repeatedly turning and shooting whilst his defender was right there. But Naughty Ninja was soon redeeming himself by finding the net twice, one an ice cool penalty, nice finishes Sir! Laurence also thought the shooting-whilst-being-defended game seemed like jolly good fun, although took the hint after two unsuccessful attempts under the post with his defender also right there, and tried other things instead to get the ball into the korf.

By this moment half time had well and truly been and gone, with Her Geordiness and Steven “Mr. Tickle” Van Boxel joining the action, Coach Beavan running amok with some rolling subs throughout the match. Cos things were getting well tight in this game… Juan-Mi! Way older than his student marker – surely close to three times in fact?! But I’d still back Juan-Mi to out-run his man any day of the week! Those rocket feet were springing into action, and a fine finish from Abingdon’s…. “most experienced” player, nice one Juan-Mi! 🙂

Suddenly Abingdon 2 were on 8 goals. BUt just a minute, SO WERE UNI!!! Aaaah…. unbearable tension, and so it stayed at 8-8 for what felt like an eternity… lost attacks at both ends, oohs, aahs, close efforts… could Abingdon 2 get their first win of the season? Alas NO! 😦 A final uni goal sank all orange hearts inside the sports hall, the final score a 9-8 win to Oxford Uni 1, but what a battle from Abingdon 2, so close and picking up a first bonus point of the season for finishing within 3 goals of their opponents. Well fought everyone!

So then, finally Abingdon 3 got a turn against the young’uns! This time though Oxford Uni 2, and on came the ultra-newest batch of students. And right tricky it is to mark very new people, especially quick new people, they move unexpectedly and so with a whole team of them, Abingdon 3 were struggling a tad. Nevertheless a slender lead was maintained and slowly increased as the game wore on. Gerrrrrd! Young Irish was in a grump after Ireland’s fall from the Rugby world cup earlier in the afternoon, he was bombing around everywhere, almost like the students opposing him! But when the time comes for ice through the veins and utter calmness, there’s no finer bearded Irish Abingdon 3 penalty taker in the club. Plop, through the centre of the korf, one goal to him. Meanwhile at the other end, Mrs. Van Boxyness hasn’t had her share of luck in the last couple of matches for her efforts, but here she was polishing off a lovely effort, skinning her lady faster than you can say “Van-Boxy-Box”. Talking of skinning, it was a pleasure to see a full compliment of Scotts at St. Greg’s this afternoon, with Nimble-Nigel getting back into the korfy action and charging around at quite a lick! And a man like Nigel didn’t get to where he is today without picking up the odd korfball trick or too, the main one being shot well, shoot long, shoot straight. And he did, BANG! Meanwhile Her Geordiness had been surveying the scene, and her opponent seemed like a “well soft southerner man” (note: not actually a man), and finding herself in the right place at the right time, executed a medium-long effort par excellence. Maybe 4-3 at half time? Something arse-clenchingly close like that anyway…

Gary “Gazelle” Bethel was on by this point, and keeping tabs on his nippy young uni lad very well indeed, whilst in attack several shots but alas no polished finish today. Steven Van Boxel was his usual spritely self too, several shooting opportunities taken when presented, Coach Beavan looked pleased on the sidelines. Alas none dropped today. Light-footed Lyndsey! I reckon she’s attending evening classes at the “Bingers School of Scampering”, here she was, another herculean effort of defending against her also nippy girl, all of this Division 1 match practise from previous weeks clearly paying dividends! No scoring from these fine people today, but notable efforts none-the-less.

So then, how many more could a not-quite-on-song Abingdon 3 eek out? Pope Frances! The korfball gods were shining brightly on the auburn-haired one this afternoon, a lovely shooting technique she is rapidly developing, and a fine goal to her name to match. Two final mentions: Rich McGowan, a classy performance from him as we come to expect these days, always popping up in useful places, and those classic “Golden Arms” clicking smoothly into gear at the right time, one to him. And last but not least, Nimble-Nigel, huffing and puffing after his first 60 minutes of exercise since 1979, still found enough gas left in the tank to score his second of the afternoon, top scoring for Abingdon 3 with 2 goals to his name, well played Sir!

So then, 7 goals altogether, but what had the young pups in opposition managed to cobble together? Just the 6, and so by the finest of margins and despite not having their best afternoon, a 7-6 win to Abingdon 3 was the final result, well played all!

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