December 7, 2021, by brzbs1
Club in Focus: Korfball
Recently the University of Nottingham Korfball club took part in the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Prelims Tournament which was the first round of competition for the #GreenandGold this season. On the day (28 November) the university had four teams competing whilst the University of Manchester had two, and Nottingham Trent University entered one. The top five teams after the day’s action have now progressed to the BUCS Regional Tournament in February, and these included our 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams, with the 1st team topping the table after some brilliant wins which included a 12-0 and 10-win over Nottingham Trent and the University of Manchester second team respectively. Congratulations to all of our korfball players on this success.
Earlier in the month we spent time with our korfball team and coach to understand how the game is played, as well as meet some of our promising athletes. If you haven’t come across the sport before, korfball is a non-contact sport that can be seen as a mix of both netball and basketball, with points scored by throwing a ball into a net-less basket that is mounted on a 3.5m high pole. Much like netball, players cannot move once they have the ball and are restricted from entering certain areas of the playing field dependent on the position they are playing. The 20m x 40m court is split in two zones (half), and of the 8 players on a team at a time, four players are in one zone with the other four in the other. Different to many other sports, teams are made up of four male and four female players. A match typically consists of two halves or four periods, with the length varying depending on the competition.
At the University of Nottingham, it is clear from the amount of teams entered at the weekend alongside the attendance, energy and commitment noted at training sessions, that we have a thriving korfball programme. Speaking with the club’s coach Alister Davis, he noted that “our teams train twice a week with matches on Sundays (in the EMKA & Midlands Regional league), whilst our first team has two strength and conditioning sessions per week too. Our BUCS games are split into 3 weekend tournaments in November, February and April.” When asked about the aforementioned first of those tournaments, Alister said “we’re looking forward to a weekend full of games against all the other top universities in the country” and that “after nearly 2 years of not playing competitive korfball, the players have really thrown themselves into the programme. We’ve hit training hard, and I hope this will give us the edge in competitions throughout the year.”
As well as success on the court for the #GreenandGold, some of the university’s players are also involved in the England Korfball programme, including Daisy Llewellyn, Georgia Howitt-Sutton and Meera Khalil. When asked what they enjoy about the sport, Daisy stated that “I love the social aspect of the sport and the fact that it is mixed gender, so you can meet a range of different people! I also love that korfball doesn’t limit you to playing either an attacking or defending position. Every two goals you switch roles, so you are able to develop both your attacking and defending skills.” Georgia added, “korfball is fast-paced and dynamic and everyone in the korfball community is super friendly.” Meera echoed these sentiments when asked how she feels representing the University of Nottingham saying “representing the University of Nottingham has been amazing so far and I am absolutely certain that it will continue this way as the community is so welcoming and I can really see the passion for the sport here!” Being the club’s captain, Georgia emphasised the role she plays in continuing this feeling, remarking “as Club Captain I’d like to make sure everyone feels welcome and supported by the club as well as pushing that performance aspect of the club with the first and second team. This includes organising workshops with external coaches as well as running in-club workshops to help individual skill development. We’d also like to carry out some outreach this year in the hopes of bringing new young talent to the club and ensuring long term success for UoN Korfball.”
Alongside fostering a great spirit amongst the club, it’s also clear that the team are excited by the rest of the season ahead, especially after being unable to play during the Coronavirus lock-down. Daisy remarked that “I am very excited to be back representing UoN, especially as we didn’t get to play much last year. It’s always a great feeling putting on your kit before a match, knowing that you’ll be representing the uni with your teammates!” Georgia agreed that “this year is set to be a great one for us. We’ll finally get to play at the BUCS National Championships after it’s cancellation in the last few years,” and Meera has her sights focused on BUCS success saying “as part of the team my aim is to improve how well we play together and be successful when it comes to BUCS!”
It was also clear in our discussion though that the club is about a lot more that high-level competition. Georgia pointed out that students who want to get involved in korfball and the club don’t need to worry if they haven’t even heard of korfball before because “starting a sport from scratch gives you plenty of opportunities to develop and work your way up to a BUCS team. Equally, if you don’t want to play as competitively there is a social team you can join, so there is something for everyone regardless of ability!” When asked why students should give korfball a try, all three players were in agreement that the sport is a unique, fun, competitive sport that helps to improve endurance and co-ordination, and that being a part of the club has a brilliant social aspect. Daisy put it best by saying that playing korfball “has been the highlight of my university experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough!”
With JustPlay sessions that happen on Monday evenings at David Ross Sports Village, getting involved in korfball couldn’t be easier with Alister stating that “our Just Play sessions are the best gateway to get involved with a taste for the sport! Korfball at the University of Nottingham is one of the biggest student korfball clubs in the country and we have such a wide array of opportunities for students to get involved in within the club. If students are looking for a friendly, inclusive, team environment, korfball should not be missed.”
We wish Alister, Meera, Georgia, Daisy and all of the University of Nottingham Korfball team all the best for the rest of their season and thank them for letting us learn more about korfball! If you’d like to get involved with korfball whilst at university, you can try one of our Just Play sessions or follow and message the club on social media for more information.
Left to Right – Alister Davis, Meera Khalil, Georgia Howitt-Sutton & Daisy Llewellyn
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