Slovakia 2018

Abingdon Atoms like to go on tour in the summer and as well as the local tournaments we try and find somewhere fun a bit further afield. The Atoms recently returned from a tournament in Nitra, Slovakia, where we managed to field not just one but two whole teams.  It was a double tournament with regular games played on grass on the Saturday followed by beach korfball games on the Sunday which, as Slovakia is landlocked, were played on beach volleyball courts at a lido.

Day 1 – Thunder & Lightning

Coordinating 17 Atoms turned out not to be too difficult due to the amount of preparatory planning done and we all made it to our student dormitory accommodation (even Frances) in time to get a few hours’ sleep before the korfball started.  Rich had even found his way down out of the mountains to arrive before us.  Some of the other teams that hadn’t been stuck on a plane as it repeatedly circled Bratislava in the lightning had been out enjoying themselves and did their best to keep us awake, but somehow we still managed to get just enough sleep.

Day 2 – Goulash

The tournament was attended by teams from the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Sweden, as well as three clubs from the UK.  We decided that organising divisions before the tournament would be too easy so the two Atoms teams were hurriedly thrown together seconds before the first matches, with each team having a range of experience levels.  The teams included a couple of guest appearances as Shirlaine persuaded Tom V to join us and Karl from Bearsted was sent out on loan.  A bit of cloud and the fact that it had been a billion degrees back home for the previous couple of weeks meant that the heat wasn’t quite as bad as we thought it might be.  Still, we took the precaution of taking over one of the dugouts for some shade so that we wouldn’t melt (apart from Nirosha who put on a second jumper).

There were games, goals, penalties and other korfball-related antics before lunchtime arrived and we were treated to some Slovakian goulash, sausages and cheese.  No sooner had we eaten we were back on the field trying to run around in the sun.  Having played various foreigners in the morning, our results unsurprisingly meant that we were matched up against a few of the other teams from the UK in the afternoon.  It also meant that, as had been the plan all along, we would finish in time to watch the England vs Sweden World Cup football match.  We asked if the Swedes were interested in watching it but it turned out that only one of them was actually Swedish (Dutch infiltrators everywhere…).

How did we do?  Let’s just say that we finished second and third out of the five teams from the UK.  GO ATOMS!

The football was watched and following the awards ceremony (the junior part of which had to be done in Slovak as the lazy local kids hadn’t yet learnt enough English to follow along), we headed back to our dorms and then off out for some nice Italian food.  Next was the aloha party but the lack of Euro-pop meant that after a few rounds of ping-pong-pang we followed Kate, the pied-piper of cocktails, to find some stronger drinks.


Day 3 – Legs on the Beach

Miraculously nobody appeared to be hung over the next day and we all headed over to the local lido for some beach korfball.  We quickly realised that after a full day’s tournament, running around on sand is hard work on the legs.  Luckily, even though Shirlaine had given everything the day before and was nursing an injury, we had loads of subs as beach korfball is only 4 a side.  Our kit for the day was tie-dye which lead to us being christened by one of the referees ‘Team LSD’.  To make things even brighter, Alex girl had brought along some face paints and, using her artistic talents, allowed Nirosha to channel her inner elephant and Frances her inner watermelon.

A particular highlight of the day was winning a game against one of the top Dutch teams from the day before (and this without having to deploy our new special move, the ‘love train’).  This was second only to seeing Alex boy’s explosive burst of pace which saw him outrun both boy defenders who then crashed into each other and Jess scoring her first goal with the look of someone who thought it would soon be overturned following a VAR referral.  Talking of disallowed goals, have some sympathy for Rich who saw three of his goals disallowed as the referee had blown his whistle just before the ball left his hands.

I’m not sure where we finished but I suspect it was just outside the top three as we didn’t get a medal.

Following the games we had a quick dip in the pool before heading off to Bratislava where we would be staying in a botel (boat hotel).  That evening, after some big plates of meat (where Kostas proved that he could eat more than Matt), we searched high and low for some Euro-pop before settling on Bratislava’s top nightclub (that was open on a Sunday night) where Chrissie taught several of the group how the korfball refereeing signals can be converted into a set of dance moves, which were then practised far too late into the night.


Day 4 – Communism 101

No korfball on Monday, instead it was a lie-in followed by a post-communist tour of Bratislava in a trio of vintage vehicles where we saw some classic communist architecture and learnt some of the history of the country.  Our guides dropped us off at a restaurant once we’d decided on what level of authentic Slovakian peasant food we wanted (we settled on ‘medium’ after being told that the truly authentic restaurant might be full of drunks).  It was soon time to head home and once again we somehow managed to get everyone on the planes and trains they needed to be on (even Frances).


I think it was unanimous that everyone really enjoyed themselves so it looks like Europe had better watch out next summer as the Atoms will most likely be jetting off again to show them how korfball is done in the UK.

Posted in Club News, Match Reports | Leave a comment

Snowy Atoms

Meet the latest member of Abingdon Atoms Korfball Club – Snowman!  You’ll find him hanging around under the post bossing the collect.

Atoms Snowman

Posted in Club News | Leave a comment

Social Atoms

What do Atoms get up to when they’re not playing korfball?

Our social committee have recently organised trips to the German beer festival in Oxford…


and to laser tag!


Posted in Club News | Leave a comment

Abingdon Atoms (1) 27 – 4 Abingdon Atoms (2), Abingdon Atoms (3) 8 – 15 Oxford City (3), Abingdon Atoms (1) 11 – 25 Southampton Uni (1) and Abingdon Atoms (3) 4 – 12 Oxford Isis (3)

Quick round up of recent Atomic action! What’s been happening in the world of bright-orange korf?

Last weekend saw the Abingdon local derby! 16 atoms on court at any one time is a joy to behold, and splendid we all looked. Well apart from Abingdon 1, we had to wear the Bolivia kit that visibly showed me for the sweaty little boy that I am within minutes of korf action. BOOOOOOO!!! Anyway, with my little sulk over, it was time to korf some ball! With the match day selectors wishing to keep people in their usual teams as much as possible, Lyndsey Atkins was parachuted all the way up to A1 to join Caroline, Alex F, Alex B, Bhairavi, Gorka, Andrew and myself. Donning the actual orange shirts for A2 were Chrissie, Rich, Frances, Jordan, Jelle, Tayebeh, Gary and Karina.

As you may expect it was a teeny bit one-sided, plenty of goals for Abingdon 1 all round the park. Abingdon 2 visibly improved over the 60 minutes though, and a number of shots went agonisingly close for them. Alas a scoreline of 27-4 to Abingdon 1 was the final result. Tallies for Abingdon 1 were Alex F 6, Caroline 5, Matt 5, Andrew 5, Alex B 3, Gorka 2 and Bhairavi 1. Abingdon 2: Karina 1, Rich 1, Frances 1 and Jordan 1. However there is one special mention from this match, and that is for Jelle Metsers (who Abingdon 1 gave MVP to on the match form). When presented with the choice of defending either Andrew “Giant Step” Rogers or Alex “Sneaky Shots” Beavan, which do you choose? Gees, rock and a hard place really… nevertheless he battled manfully against each of them for periods of the match, even switching defender at the right time when we haven’t even taught him that yet (how cool is that!), and did amazingly well generally given his korfball experience to date, well done Jelle!

After a sexy cheesy smiley club photo between matches, it was time for Abingdon 3 to take on Oxford City 3. A team of Tayebeh, Karina, Jelle, Gary, Damian T, Frances Pope, Lyndsey, Nigel and Kiri battled against both City 3, and a few “interesting” (yeah, let’s stick with that word) refereeing decisions throughout the match. A final scoreline 8 – 15 was the result. Special mention for the steely-eyed Karina Lang! Playing against her old club always seems to get the old competitive juices going just that little bit more, a two-goal haul for her. And a second special mention for Nigel Scott, finally able to return from elbow injury, it was good to see him on court again 🙂 Final goals: Tayebeh 3, Karina 2, Jelle 1, Frances 1 and Nigel 1.

So then onto this weekend just gone, and Abingdon 1 had the thankless task of trekking down to the south cost to take on Southampton Uni 1, division 1 destroyers from last year by a country mile, and looking like doing so again this year! On arrival it was depressing to see how many of dem pesky buggers hadn’t graduated, but after our cheeky pre-match outing to the Winchester Christmas market, we turned up at the sports hall in peak sporting condition with cold muscles and bellies full of burger, chocolate and mulled wine. You can’t say we don’t prepare well for matches… anyway, how much of a kicking did they dish out to the team of Alex F, Alex B, Gorka, Bhairavi, Jordan, Frances, Chrissie and myself do? Final score was a 11-25 loss, but we did pretty well all things considered, and managed to carve ourselves out plenty of shooting opportunities throughout the match, despite the dogged students pursuing us everywhere on court. With the half-time score 2-11, the second half of 9-14 was certainly not too shabby at all. Goals: Matt 3, Alex B 3, Gorka 2, Bhairavi 1, Jordan 1, Alex F 1. A BIG thank you to everyone who travelled to the south coast!

But double action for Abingdon it was yesterday, the rare occurrence of playing overlapping matches in different locations. With Damien’s calf not quite ready for A1 korf action yet, he kindly reffed our St. Greg’s commitment and then coached Abingdon 3 up against Isis 3 immediately afterwards. And quite a fresh team it was too with a full mix of experience throughout. The Clare and Steve newbie-duo were joined by Nirosha, Lyndsey, Jelle, Kiri, Nigel and Gary.

Judging by the match form, Nirosha, the naughty little minx turned up.. oh how can we put this… “fashionably late”! AHEM!!! With 10 minutes on the clock, she must have eventually made it onto court. Fortunately she made up for her tardiness by scoring a goal! As did Gary! As did Kiri! As did Nigel! Yay 🙂 But how many did Isis 3 score? 12. Booo 😦 But they were 8 vs 7 for 10 minutes, so maybe they scored a lot then. Anyway, a 4-12 loss was the final result, but most importantly another vital 60 minutes of korf experience for many players, well played all!

Posted in Match Reports | Leave a comment

Abingdon Atoms (1) 20 – 16 Oxford City (1) and Abingdon Atoms (3) 7 – 15 Didcot Dragons (2)

And so, onto the Sunday just gone, and what a juicy encounter this first match promised to be! Yes A1 were up against the powerhouse that is City 1 these days, what with their Birmingham imports and other regional league experience, this is always a juicy little goal-littered encounter that goes to the wire, and it would prove no different this time round! After a high paced and dynamic first half, we were enjoying the 10-9 half time scoreline (or something like that, it was jolly close one way or the other…)

With half time water downed, the epic team of Alex F, Bhairavi, Chrissie, Frances, Alex B, Andrew, Gorka and Matt soldiered on. Bhairavi had been wonderful up to this point, turning up despite feeling under the weather and kept her City girl under wraps excellently. But with her runny nose having drained her battery down to zero, Shirlaine was deployed for the final 20 minutes to try and help us secure what would be an excellent win! Suddenly it was 15-15… then 16-15… then 16-16! Arse-cheeks on the sidelines were clenching even tighter, and Bhairavi was chewing nervously on the match form as the final minutes played out.

Fortunately a bit of Abingdon experience kept us calm, passing was good and accurate, and a penalty plus two lovely long shots put good daylight between us and City, and a final goal just before the end meant we had earned a fabulous 20-16 win (Gorka 5, Andrew 5, Alex F 4, Alex B 4, Matt 2), which is by far Abingdon’s best result of the season so far! 😀 Special mentions to Bhairavi for toughing it out for us, and also Frances, playing 60 minutes at a much higher pace than she is used to, she did very well indeed, well played Popey! Also thanks to Shirlaine’s last minute availability, we could replace Bhairavi and keep up the intensity on the City attack, all of which contributed to our overall win 🙂

So then, if you’ve made it this far through my ramblings, well done! You are rewarded with the details of the final match of last weekend, which was Abingdon 3 up against Didcot 2. And quite a fresh faced Abingdon 3 this was, with a number of new players mixing in with more seasoned campaigners, a team of Gary, Frances, Shirlaine, Steven VB, Kiri, Jelle, Steve R and Nirosha were our on-court representatives. And with Didcot 2 came a number of experienced players, so after a fine start where the scoreline was fairly even, Didcot 2 eventually eased into the comfort zone, themselves scoring 15 goals in total in the match.

How many could Abingdon muster? 7 in total. But what a fine 7 they were! In particular, 2 from Gary-Guinness, or Gary-Gazelle as he will now be known, bursting past his player with speed never seen before! We all looked on with amazement from the sidelines… Also starting with a bang was Frances, showing her class with 2 goals in about 5 minutes, she was off and running in no time at all!

But even better than all of this so far…. Nirosha Sithirapathy! It normally takes me most of the first half to write out her name on the match form, but once you’ve done that and recovered from writer’s cramp, it gave me great pleasure to write down not 1 but 2 GOALS next to her name, cheeky little short shots by the post when her defender wasn’t playing attention, lovely first goals for the club! 🙂 Also in this category, Steve Roberts! A lovely shot that sailed in, also notching up his first ever goal for the club, well played to you too, and everyone else, especially those playing down to ensure that the fixture went ahead with 8 players for maximum fun all round (Shirlaine, Frances, Steven VB), thank you! Final scoreline a 7-15 loss to Didcot 2.

Posted in Match Reports | Leave a comment

Abingdon Atoms (3) 0 – 15 Buckingham Royals 1 (forfeit), Abingdon Atoms (1) 26 – 12 Oxford Uni (1), Abingdon Atoms (1) 15 – 9 Oxford City (2) and Abingdon Atoms (2) 8 – 24 Oxford Isis (1)

We start the round up with a rather dull 15-0 walkover for Abingdon 3 against Bucks Royals 1, as we were unable to field a legal team. Booooo! But with Alex B, Chrissie and Rich naughtily playing down, we could turn it into a fun 8 vs 8 friendly match. Although Bucks Royals are very handy, the final score was 21-6 to them. But of our 6, rumour has it that our very own Chrissie scored LOADS of goals! Like literally 5 out of our 6! One can only assume that the aroma of gravy wafting through from the school cafeteria next door had filled her nostrils with extra ions of northern energy, top scoring Geordie!

Anyway onto other league matches, and Abingdon 1 were next in action, and after a tough losing start to the season were in desperate need of a win. Up against them were an Oxford Uni 1 side depleted of a few stars from previous years (they got old or something, apparently students have to grow up eventually), so this would be a great chance to register a first win of the season.

Well rather emphatically, that’s exactly what happened! A squad of Bhairavi, Baerbel, Caroline, Alex F, Alex B, Matt, Gorka and Andrew ran riot for the first 30 minutes with all sorts of goaly-goodness sinking into the korf at regular intervals, Oxford Uni looking rather dazed. And with subs-a-plenty and a healthy half time lead, lots of rolling happened in the second half so that we could exercise the legs of Chrissie, Shirlaine, Frances and Gary (what luxury it was to have so many eager and willing subs on the sidelines!) A final bruising scoreline of 26-12 was registered (Andrew 7, Alex Girl 6, Gorka 5, Matt 3, Alex Boy 2, Caroline 2, Baerbel 1), although special mention goes to Uni’s young Elliot, a nippy young man who did well to bag 6 of their 12 goals. Anyway, congratulations Abingdon 1!

So then on to two weekends ago. First up were Abingdon 1 against Oxford City 2, not a side to be taken lightly these days, some rather useful skills littered through the opposition ranks. A slow start, and we were actually 2-1 down for a good chunk of the first half, passes and movement not quite clicking early for Abingdon 1, comprising of Alex B, Matt, Rich, Andrew, Alex F, Chrissie, Caroline and Baerbel. Fortunately things got better and goals started to drop, the scoreline quickly improving. Although City 2 were certainly on our coat tails at half time. What to do? Deploy the super-subs of Jordan and Shirlaine, that’s what! With Chrissie and Rich taking a well earned breather, on we soldiered, in the end carving out a reasonably comfortable 15-9 win (Alex B 4, Matt 3, Andrew 2, Baerbel 2, Caroline 2, Alex F 2). Well played all!

Next up were Abingdon 2 against a rather handy looking Isis 1, looking resplendent in their bright green kit (or radioactive kit, whichever adjective you prefer)… anyway, a starting line-up of Gary, Chrissie, Shirlaine, Karina, Rich, Kiri, Jordan and Steven blasted out of the starting blocks, and…. ah, conceded a number of goals, Isis do seem to have found some nippy talent these days. Goals were popping in regularly for them, but on soldiered Abingdon 2, carving out what opportunities they could against the tough opposition. The final scoreline of 8-24 was harsher than the reality of the match, so let’s just celebrate the goals scored instead (Shirlaine 3, Steven 2, Karina 1, Chrissie 1, Jordan 1). Good effort all!

Posted in Match Reports | Leave a comment

Abingdon Atoms (1) 9 – 22 Southampton Uni (1), Abingdon Atoms (2) 13 – 10 Oxford Uni (1), Abingdon Atoms (3) 11 – 3 Oxford Uni (2), Abingdon Atoms (1) 6 – 17 Southampton City (1) and Abingdon Atoms (2) 10 – 15 Southampton City (2)

Well now, these are busy times so it’s a fortnightly summing up of matches at present! The hour is late, so for once I will be brief – so what’s been cracking off recently in our korf-world then?

The other weekend saw Abingdon 1 have their turn at taking on the might of Southampton Uni 1. And after Abingdon 2’s drubbing the previous week, Abingdon 1 gave it their all but were also no match for those 18-21 year old korfball demigods. A final scoreline of 9-22 was the result, and in between Southampton Uni goals flying into the korf as regularly as a beating heart fitted with a pace-maker, Abingdon eeked out 3 goals from Gorka, 2 from Caroline, 2 from Andrew, 1 from Damien and 1 from yours truly. Honourable mentions to Baerbel, Bhairavi, and particularly Shirlaine for stepping up to A1 once again this season.

So then, onto Abingdon 2, and up against an Oxford Uni 1 side that has lost a few stars since last year. They would certainly be a stiff challenge, but a good performance could see a first club win of the season! Team new and with timing an issue for some players on this Sunday, our starting line-up was Chrissie, Shirlaine, Frances, Kiri and Jordan, Matt, Rich and Damien. And I’m delighted to say that we were looking rather good, solid in defence and finding ourselves plenty of scoring opportunities in attack. In particular, side-feeds were the order of the day, putting into practise the training we had done that Thursday. Shirlaine and Chrissie both bagging a lovely side-feed each, and Jordan’s long shooting was a joy to behold, along with some proper pace enabling him to nip round his player on a number of occasions. Rich is a classy boy these days, and naughty Damien took a couple of penalties that he probably shouldn’t have in an A2 match. Oops…

Half time, and suddenly in the second half we were 11-10 ahead! Squeaky bum time, and several A2 players who had been slapped 3-30 by Southampton Uni the previous week really really reeeeeeeeeeeally wanted to win. With gritted teeth we pressed on… I had scored a goal earlier, but had apparently lost all bodily coordination by this point and was shooting with less accuracy than an unattended garden hose, so decided to man the post and feed ladies for a while. It worked, Shirlaine with another and Chrissie coming close on several occasions. Meanwhile Jordan continued to impress, more goals dropped in and a final tally of 4 excellent goals for him, Leeds Uni’s finest export has been a might fine acquisition for us so far this season! And with a sigh of relief, the final whistle blew and Abingdon had their first win of the season! 13-10 the final result (Jordan 4, Damien 3, Rich 2, Shirlaine 2, Chrissie 1, Matt 1).

So then, onto Abingdon 3 to play against an rather inexperienced Oxford Uni 2, full of keen nimble chaps and chapesses but lacking the experience to put it to good effect. But could we capitalise and score a fistful? Team news, and it was time for my annual meeting with Damian Tyler! Hello Mr. T, untll 2017 when we meet again then… anyway, alongside him were Lyndsey, Gary, Tayebeh, Frances, Kiri, Jordan and, making his debut for the club in his first ever match… Jelle Metsers! Acquiring skills at an astonishing rate in training, he was keen to give them a solid road test this evening at St. G’s…

Off we went, and Mr. T was soon showing his class, a solid piece of skill against his wet-eared defender earned him an early runner, followed by a couple of penalties he was on a hat-trick before you could say “fresher’s week”. Meanwhile the lesser-spotted Tayebeh was in action at the other end, those deadly basketball skills bagging her a couple to her name. And what’s good for one is good for another, Gary has in recent times gone close to scoring without reward, but a fine pair of goals were bagged on this occasion. However, the highlights of this match must be shared equally between two players. Firstly Kiri Stevens. Yet to get off the mark in Abingdon matches, but with glinty eyes and a steely determination, she whazoomped in past her wide-eyed defender, received the ball from feed, arms lofted to the skies, and SCORED HER FIRST EVER GOAL FOR THE CLUB! To say she was pleased as punch is an understatement, her jumping up and down, arms aloft and high pitched screaming was shattering neighbourhood windows everywhere in a 2 miles radius, and the high-five she gave me on the sidelines nearly snapped my wrist off! So well done her. Even better though, in his first ever match for the club, JELLE METSERS SCORED HIS FIRST EVER GOAL FOR THE CLUB too! A lovely long shot sailed in, well, this korfball malarky is easy right? 🙂 Well, with such breathtaking news now recorded into Abingdon Atoms history forever, it only remains to give honourable mentions to Frances, Jordan, and Lyndsey, who with decorating paint all down her arms put what little energy she had left after extensive house renovations into the match, and lasted 45 minutes before she needed a Frances replacement. Oh, and Damian T scored 2 more goals to leave his defender quivering and reach an impressive tally of 5 goals. Final scoreline? 11-3! So that would be a 100% win record for Abingdon 3 so far 🙂

So then, onto this weekend just gone. A double away whammy to Southampton City, and up first were Abingdon 1 against Southampton City 1. With our Alex heavyweights still away sunning themselves in Greece and Ninja and Flash also unavailable, we patched up our team with our more than capable A2 talents, so a team of Matt, Chrissie, Baerbel, Gorka, Shirlaine, Damien, Frances and Rich battled valiantly for 60 minutes. Alas, it was just one of those days when goals wouldn’t drop for certain people, and some rather stiff individual opponents for some meant life was hard – Baerbel in particular having to take on a recent England Under 21 player was jolly knackered after 60 minutes, whilst Gorka did an excellent attempt at keeping the irrepressible Andy Nye quiet and limit the damage as much as he could. Even the northern pace of nippy Jordan coming on at half time for Rich could not change our fortunes. Final scoreline, 6 – 17. Goals: 2 for Gorka, 2 for Matt, 1 for Damien, and special mention to Frances, scoring her first ever goal for Abingdon 1.

Up next, Abingdon 2 against Southampton City 2. And City 2 looked jolly useful, a number of their players certainly new what they were doing, and whilst they had subs-a-plenty, a number of us were into our second consecutive match of the day. Team line-up: Jordan, Matt, Rich, Gary, Chrissie, Shirlaine, Kiri and Frances. And it wasn’t too bad at all, passing was starting to get better compared to the earlier A1 match, shots were going up, but particularly pleasing was the nice collecting by a number of players, good positions first of all and strong by the post meant attacks could last longer, and more shots were thus put up as a result. The star of this match though was Rich McGowan, who just seems to get better and better every time he plays. Not content with 4 fine goals to his name, he had an experienced and very tall boy to contend with, and kept him quiet marvellously, and deserved many more defended calls than the Southampton Uni ref actually gave him, well played sir. And as Gary’s parents had come all the way to see him play, he was under immense pressure to score a goal, which he cooly polished off within the first 10 minutes, ice-cool by Our Guinness, and clapped most enthusiastically on the sidelines by Mummy and Daddy Guinness! Talking of drink and booze… our Geordie was having a fine day too, shaking off her week of illness and looking razor sharp in the first A1 match, she carried it into this one and was rewarded with 2 lovely goals. Jordan meanwhile had been chuntering away all afternoon, things not quite falling nicely for him, however he finally got onto the scoresheet with a nice effort. 1 for me before I made way at half time for Damien, however 10 minutes into the second half spelt disaster for him, and he unfortunately hobbled off with “mal-au-calf-muscle”, so back on I went, and slotted home a second goal before the end. Alas we were always just behind Southampton City 2, the final scoreline a credible effort, but alas a 10-15 loss. Goals: Rich 4, Chrissie 2, Matt 2, Gary 1, Jordan 1. Honourable mentions for Shirlaine, Frances and Kiri.

I said I’d be brief didn’t I… LOL, did you actually believe me?… well done for getting this far, see you all on Thursday 🙂

Posted in Match Reports | Leave a comment