After the successes at the end of last term at BUCS Prelims, the club were excited to host the next round as the 1s, 2s and 3s pushed for high seedings at their respective national championships in March. 10 teams in total were present; UoB 1s,2s and 3s; Sheffield 1s and 2s; Sheffield Hallam 1s and 2s; Oxford 1s; Liverpool 1s and Keele 1s.
Initially the teams were split into two groups of five. UoB 1s were top seed in their group and, despite a small scare against Hallam 1s, won all four of their games and topped their group, meaning they went straight into the semi final. UoB 2s were on the other side of the draw and in their first match faced reigning BUCS national Champions, Sheffield 1s. Despite going two goals down the team rallied and managed to secure a very impressive 5-5 draw. After comfortable victories against Sheffield 2s, UoB 3s and Liverpool 1s, they also managed to top their group on goal difference meaning a top four finish was guaranteed. UoB 3s had the toughest job of all the Birmingham sides, they were 4th seed in their group meaning they’d need to cause an upset to reach the quarter finals. The battled hard to comfortably beat Sheffield 2s, despite being 3-0 down, and they performed well against UoB 2s and Sheffield 1s but were eventually beaten by the better sides. The battle for 3rd in the group all came down to the match against Liverpool 1s. UoB started well and were causing their opponents issues, but they were unable to convert their pressure into goals. Liverpool called a tactical time out and this was the turning point. After the break, Liverpool resorted back to basics and scored three quick goals. UoB were unable to recover and, despite a late consolation, they lost 3-1 in a match where their play deserved so much more. They had to settle for a play off game against Sheffield Hallam 2s to try and make it to BUCS Trophy.
The lunch break gave everyone a chance to reset following the group games, and prepare for the crucial afternoon games where qualifying and seeding for the final BUCS tournaments were still up for grabs. The quarter finals had seen Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam 1s triumph over Oxford and Liverpool 1s respectively, meaning UoB 1s would face Sheffield 1s while UoB 2s would meet Hallam 1s in the semi finals. The club were confident the 1s could beat Sheffield, but were more hesitant about the outcome for the 2s against a very experienced Hallam side. They needn’t have been. The 2s came out of the blocks fast and looked far more up for the game than their rivals. Their physicality and variation in attack, combined with their claustrophobic defence allowed Hallam very little chance to express themselves and they became noticeably frustrated. The 2s remained ruthless and even scored a buzzer beater to win 11-4, in what has to be their best performance of the season so far. Simultaneously, the 1s were playing their semi against Sheffield 1s, this was also a dominant performance as they got revenge for last season as they ran out 13-5 victors and ensured another all Birmingham final.”
All eyes then turned to UoB 3s, a win against Hallam 2s would see them advance to BUCS Trophy, while a loss would see them go to BUCS Plate. Hallam started well but UoB slowly clawed them back in. With five minutes to play it was truly anyone’s game, but Hallam’s experience against a fairly fresh faced UoB 3s eventually told as they scrapped the win 6-7. This meant the 3s had one final game against Sheffield 2s, to try and secure the highest possible seeding. After putting so much into their game against Hallam this was always going to be a tough match and despite the victory earlier in the day they were unable to achieve this again.
“I’m incredibly proud of our club and everyone involved today. It’s the first time in years Korfball have hosted a BUCS event and the day couldn’t have gone much better! The 1s were brilliant all day, I can’t remember the last time a 2s team made the final of any regionals and despite the 3s being disappointed now, their standard of play will put them in a good place come March. With a team at each of the 3 BUCS tournaments then hopefully we could be coming home with multiple medals!” – Xander Chevallier, Korfball Co-President
The day culminated in an all Birmingham final. The 1s were clinical and proved why they were deserving of the title ‘the best team in the region’, as they won comfortably, 16-4. They had played excellently all day and the club are very excited for what they could achieve at the end of March. Although the 2s had hoped to run the 1s closer in the final, the fact they even got that far is an immense achievement and they will advance to BUCS Trophy as the top seed.
1st University of Birmingham 1s
2nd University of Birmingham 2s
3rd Sheffield Hallam 1s
4th University of Sheffield 1s
5th University of Oxford 1s
6th University of Liverpool 1s
7th University of Keele 1s
8th Sheffield Hallam 2s
9th University of Sheffield 2s
10th University of Birmingham 3s
The 1s now advance to BUCS Championships as top seeds, the 2s go to BUCS Trophy also as top seeds while the 3s go to BUCS Plate as second seeds. The 3s will hope to be joined by the 4s as they fight for a place at BUCS Plate in the Southern qualifiers next month. The club are also hosting their first ever Varsity in mid February against Nottingham which everyone is very excited about