Monday, 21 October 2013

Newbie Blog: City's New Number 12

I put on my Oxford City number 12 shirt yesterday afternoon with a mix of pride and apprehension, and with good reason. I was about to play my first full korfball match.

In fact, it goes deeper than that. During school sport lessons I languished among the dregs. My weekly exercise was against the kids with glasses and breathing problems, who would rather pick daisies than get muddy. It was fair enough: I was one of them.
This means that for 30 years I’ve never represented a team, I’ve never been in a team talk, and I’ve never felt the pressure of wanting to do well for my teammates. Sporty people may not understand this, but City 2 versus Didcot Dragons 2 was a big deal to me.
So that’s the apprehension but what about the pride? Well, the two are linked. I’ve never pulled on a team shirt before so it means a lot to me that I can. I feel proud that I can wear the number 12, which I chose because my daughter was born in 2012. That pride is the reason I drove through Friday afternoon traffic on a mercy mission to pick up the shirts for the whole team. I wanted my own, and getting everyone else’s was a bonus.
But it’s one thing to buy a shirt, it’s quite another to earn it. So how was the match?
Well, we lost but I was pretty happy with how I did. I felt I froze in attack and struggled to put into practise what we’d done in training; but I still managed to score a good long-range goal – a carbon copy of the one I mentioned in my first blog post – and nearly punched the wall in celebration. I then apologised for over-celebrating. It was most ungentlemanly.
In defence I made some good blocks, a few interceptions, and made sure to keep eye contact with my attacker. I also followed him everywhere, including when he went to get water and talk to their coach. If there wasn't a final whistle then I'd have probably jumped on the bus and followed him home. In the end he probably thought I was stalking him, but I don't care. I'd rather look stupid for following than not following.
So there were some positives but also plenty of room for improvement. I can’t wait to get back into training on Thursday.
Rich Heap

Match Report - City 1 vs Oxford Uni 1

City 1 vs Oxford Uni 1
Playing Uni this early on in the season is always a bit of a mystery and I think it’s fair to say that this year offered up a fairly inexperienced Uni 1. However they were (as ever) tall, young and well drilled by Martin. We had what could be generously described as a ‘slow’ start, failing to open the scoring for about 15 minutes – but on the plus side we didn’t let in any goals either. However once we got started the shots began dropping, and we went into half time a deserved 5-0 up – it could have been double that.
From then on the match was never really in doubt, even though Uni bought on a few more experienced players for the second half. We kept our discipline well in the face of the “enthusiastic”  fouls coming our way (even the girls were beating on Dave W!) but we didn’t give away a penalty all match. It’s easy to let things slide when you are a long way ahead but we kept our concentration and continued to score well in the second half, only allowing in one goal all match and ending on an extremely respectable 11-1, with a hat-trick from Becca leading the scorers (ahem).
Well played everyone, no match next week but most of the first team are off to Cardiff for a regional double header – wish us luck!!
Becca Brennan
1st Team Vice-Captain

Match Reports - City 1 vs Abingdon 1 & City 2 vs Isis 2

City 2 4-3 Isis 2
City 2 gave league debuts to 2 new boys ( well done Alex and Brendan who both supported well in attack and were solid as a rock in defence). We won 4-3 which probably doesn't really quite sum up the enormous effort we put in, both ourselves and Isis were clearly feeling the lack of full match practice towards the end. Charlotte put in another sterling display, following on from great performances last season, as did Maddy, who was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. Credit also to Taissa and Gemma - I didn't see a misplaced pass or a lost collect all day. Thanks also to Dan, Dave and Gaz for their role in our win. Catherine's emphasis at the beginning of the match was to do the basics well, which we did. This team will get better and can accomplish even more than last year.
2nd Team Vice-Captain
Abingdon I 11-7 City 1
City 1 went into the first match of the season pumped up having just seen City 2 secure an excellent victory against Isis. Unfortunately all the preseason excitement lead to a rush of blood to the head, and for the first twenty minutes we attempted to break world records for the fastest (and potentially scrappiest) korfball ever played. As a result we went into a much needed time out 3-1 down, and needed some stern words from the bench (thanks Jim and Ev!) to cool us down. The last 10 minutes of the first half were much better, showing that yes, we have been training over the summer and yes, we’ve been listening to Graham and Frank! However Abingdon continued their very physical assault (and sneaky free passes) and we went in 6-2 down at halftime.
The second half saw the glorious return of Steve Bray to the korfball pitch, and he put a quick goal on the board to show Abingdon we meant business. Overall we played much better in the second half, recycling the ball well and running many successful blocks which resulted in my goal of the game, a brilliant long shot from Dave W. The second half was a much better representation of City 1’s talents, and this half ended a very respectable 5-5, though sadly meant we didn’t overturn the deficit from the first half and so ended up 11-7 to Abingdon at full time.
I suggest some quiet meditation before KO this Sunday...
Becca Brennan
1st Team Vice-Captain

Match Report - Oxford City 2 vs Isis 2

Oxford City 2 vs Isis 2

Our 2nd team are riding high at the top of division 2 with a comprehensive 8-2 victory against Isis II.  Just to re-iterate, our 2nd team, with lots of new players, have beaten their closest rivals home and away already :-) Steve made his competitive debut for City, and had a great game, especially when up against a very experienced player in the form of Nick. 

A very tight first half ended with very little between the teams, despite a number of shots going very close, especially from Charlotte.  However, the floodgates opened in the second half, with Charlotte scoring the hatrick that her overall play deserved.  Despite the loss of Steve B, who had been playing majestically, halfway through the second half through injury, the goals continued to come, with Dave E not even needing to fully warm up! 

Great game from the second team, with Jen working her socks off (and scoring!) and great performances across the court.  One thing I noted was that our recycling of the ball was excellent, and much better than last week.

Dan Hibbs
OCKC Chairman

Match Report - Oxford City 1 vs Didcot 1

City 1 vs Didcot 1 13.10.13
We took an early 2-0 lead then contrived to give it straight back, evening the score up at 2-2. We went back and forth until 4-4, after which we sorted our defence out and began to dominate. We mixed up the attacks nicely, doing the new things we’ve been learning without relying on them, including things like some lovely drop off shots (Dave W) and punishing Didcot’s lack of discipline.
In the second half it was never really in doubt and we turned possession into a commanding lead, only allowing them to score once in the entire half. The final score was 13-5, which I think reflects our hard work and domination of the game. The scoring was spread nicely with everyone on the pitch scoring at least once, but extra kudos to Mr Everett who scored 5 times.
Well done all, and let’s try and carry through the discipline and calm we showed through to what is likely to be a fast paced game against Uni this Sunday.
Becca Brennan
1st Team Vice-Captain

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Newbie Blog: On The Korfball Terraces

My Dad first took me to watch korfball when I was five. We cheered from the terraces and, at the end of the game, I turned to him and said: “Dad, I want to be a korfballer.”

Okay, that never happened. I never saw a korfball match as a child. In fact, I went through my first three decades without watching a korfball match or even looking at one of those stupidly tall posts. So why bother mentioning this? Because if you haven’t seen a sport played then it makes it a lot more difficult to play it yourself.
Take football. Even if you’ve got no interest in football, you’ve probably still got a basic idea of how a football match works. Run around, kick the ball in the goal, and join your teammates for a loving embrace. It’s the same idea with cricket, rugby and basketball, where even a novice should have a basic idea of how they work.
But it isn’t like that with korfball. There’s no TV coverage – unless it’s one of those “here’s a quirky sport from mainland Europe” news reports – and that makes it a tough sport to pick up. How do you know how to play a sport unless you’ve seen it played?
That’s why I went along to my first korfball match on Sunday, to watch Abingdon 1 and Oxford City 1 play out a hard-fought 11-7. I was a bad crowd member – rarely clapping or cheering – but I watched intently and a few things started to sink in.
The idea of changing ends after two goals makes far more sense when you can see one team attacking each basket per half. I’ve got a bit more of an idea of some of the theory, like why we throw the ball one handed; why we need to move quickly to find space; and why we need to keep concentrating. I don’t claim that watching one match makes me an expert, but I think it at least makes me less of a novice.
The challenge now is watching more and learning more, and putting some of it into practise. I expect to start doing that in proper matches in the next couple of weeks.
And my Dad might even be there to watch.
Rich Heap