Friday, 27 June 2014

City on Tour 2014: Leicester and Bristol

We aren’t due to fire up the City tour bus again until our next summer tournament,  in Milton Keynes on 12th July. But, if you’re feeling starved of tourno action, fear not. Here are Dan’s round-ups (lightly edited!) of the first two legs of City’s summer tour:
Saturday 31st May: Leicester tournament
Our trip to Leicester was a great success. We had a number of players making their tournament debuts and our pre-season fitness coach Karl Sieber playing alongside us, highlighting in person the benefits of being able to leap like a salmon.  
The highlight was a 9-1 victory against Milton Keynes Lakers, probably one of our highest ever scorelines in a 20-minute game. Our next game was an 8-2 loss against a very strong national league team with three England internationals. A result that at first felt disappointing was put into perspective when they went on to win the tournament extremely convincingly, and beat a fellow national side in the semi finals 10-0. And Mike certainly left an impression on them!
We were scoring for fun at times, with Dan bagging five in one match and, if you counted the goals she scored while playing for Abingdon, Ruth probably did too. Special mention to Andy for scoring two great long shots during the tournament.
After our morning results, we entered the ‘middle eight’ section of the draw in the afternoon, and went on to achieve a very respectable 12th position. The Australian party in the evening was good fun, though Jo may have regretted her vegemite sandwich costume when she heard the lyric: “Give me a vegemite sandwich."
Saturday 14th July: Bristol tournament
City 1
A City 1 side with a mix of the very experienced (Karl) and very inexperienced (Niall), started the day with a flyer, winning 6-0 against Exeter. Next up were Horfield 2, and we came away with a 2-1 win in a tight match where our shots didn’t seem to quite drop. Next up were Cardiff Raptors, and another tight match was in store. The end score was 3-3, and a draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play.
A quick tactical switch later, with Niall and Dan pairing up, and Dave W switching into the other division with Karl, paid dividends, with a great 4-3 win against the hosts, Bristol City.  And our final match in the morning was against super-team Mauritians, which was made up of ex-Nottingham, England and Wales players. They were very talented, and we were cruelly denied in the last minute. The 3-4 loss left us second in our group, and put us through to the Top 8 for the afternoon.
The quarter final was against Manchester Warriors, who topped their group. Inspired by the poor refereeing in the previous game, we ran our socks off and defended well, with Niall in particular standing out with excellent interceptions.  Indeed, from what I could see in my division, as the tournament went on Niall and Fi in particular were getting stronger and stronger in both attack and defence, against quality opposition.
The semi-final was against our old foes Mauritians. Having run them so close in the group stage we were feeling confident, and put simply, we were awesome. In a game that summed up our all-action defence and rapidly improving attack, we ran out 5-1 winners thanks to a cheeky double from Niall, and goals from Dan (2) and Karl (1).
OXFORD CITY FINALISTS!!!!! We went on to lose to a truly excellent Bristol Thunder side, with all of their first team playing and a number of current internationals on show.  Yes, it was one-sided, but we didn’t care as we’d got to the final — and we got the biggest cheer of the day when we scored! City 1 player of the day was Niall, who had so many stand-out moments in defence, and it was awesome seeing him on the scoresheet so often.
City 2
City 2 found things tough going in the morning, losing all five of their matches despite playing well at times. The main problem was shots not quite dropping and coming up against high quality opposition in the shape of Bristol Thunder, Horfield 1 and hosts Bristol City. This meant we ended up in the bottom eight division in the afternoon.  
After a close 1-0 loss to start the afternoon, the result of the day was a close fought 3-2 win against Exeter Uni, a match that featured a great debut competitive goal for Becca (despite her head injury!). Despite finishing with a defeat to Horsham, the win against Exeter meant City 2 finished 18th out of 22 teams. City 2 player of the day was Mike, with his four goals in all competitions, and all-round enthusiasm. Though he did lose kudos for coming off worse (bleeding knee) in a one-on-one situation with a lady half his size.
Dan Hibbs, chairman

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Rich’s Blog: City Storms to Silver Against Thunder

The Oxford City summer roadshow continued on Saturday as we sent a couple of teams to the Bristol City tournament — and City 1 finished as runners up.

Personally, the day didn’t start well. I found a package of books that the postman had hidden on Friday, and so had stayed outside during the night's huge thunderstorm. Still, I packed a now-crinkly book and hit the road with Ruth and Dave W at 7.15am.

For City 2, things didn’t get much better during the morning as we spent the first half of the day losing. We were making space and getting into good positions, but our shooting was awry. We eventually finished 18th out of 22 after grinding out a 3-2 win against Exeter Uni in the middle of the afternoon.

Things were going much better for City 1, who made it to the final. We lost in the end to a tough Bristol Thunder side, but there’s no shame in coming second to a team that won the western regional league in 2013/14. Plus, it’s only polite to let a team win in their own city! But all in all it was a good day - helped by the balmy summer weather - and meant those of us in City 2 could join in the celebrations.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a tournament without a few unofficial awards...

The “How Many Fingers?” Award for Most Dramatic Head Injury: On most days, Dan’s collision with the post during the semi-final would have walked away with this award. In a suitable dazed fashion, of course. But even he couldn’t match the five-minute delay after Becca Bleeze not-so-gratefully received an elbow in the face.

The ‘Doctor, Doctor…’ Award for Services to Medicine: Becca had been on the floor for a few minutes but was now talking and sitting up. She was getting better. But this wasn’t enough for ‘Dr’ Mike, who gleefully unloaded half a bottle of water into her face. Medical benefit: none discernible.

The Cliff Richard Award for Summer Holiday Fashion: Dan has nominated me for next year’s fashion award for a ‘Brit abroad’ outfit that looked more summer holiday than sports tournament. You can copy this look with these items: floppy hat, sandals, loose-fitting linen shirt, not-rubbed-in suncream, Test Match on the radio, and a crinkly copy of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

If you’ve got any other award nominations then post them on our Facebook page. Thanks to everyone for a great tournament; and, personally, thanks to Gemma for lending me a sleeping bag and Ruth for driving me.

Next for the City tour bus: Milton Keynes. All together now: “We’re all going on a…”

Rich Heap, web editor

Monday, 2 June 2014

Rich's Blog: Sunshine, Shorts... And A Bit Of Sport

In the last week I’ve started inflicting my dazzlingly white legs on the unsuspecting public. That means two things: I have no fashion shame and… summer is here!

For us korfballers, the arrival of summer means tournament season. 

We kicked off our tour of the summer tournaments on Saturday in Leicester. I didn’t manage to get there as I’m on holiday in the Isle of Wight, where I’m resting up after our late-night friendly against Oxford Uni last week. Thanks to Uni for arranging, and helping me to reinforce my status as City’s most accident-prone player.

But anyway, summer tournaments…

Over the next few months we’ll be playing — and partying — in places including Bristol, Milton Keynes and Nottingham. We’ll also be hosting our own tournament on 2nd August, which will, of course, be the best!

Now, if you’re thinking of having a go at korfball then don’t let the phrase ‘tournament season’ put you off. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the most intense part of our year. It isn’t.

Our main competitive season runs from autumn until spring, and this is the time of year when we’re at our most relaxed. Yes, we’re getting ready for the 2014/15 season, but we’re also out enjoying the sunshine. Tournaments are a fun way for players new and old to learn a lot in a short time, and fit in some fun nights out.

So come along. There’s more info on our site, and a good intro to korfball went up a few days ago on the BBC Sport’s Get Inspired page. It says: “The sport is accessible to anyone, whether young or old, male or female, beginner or international athlete.”

On which note, if there are any international athletes who want to give korfball a try then City would love to see you. First four sessions free!

Just don’t think you’ll become our most accident-prone player. I won’t give that up without a fight. A fight in which I'll probably become concussed.

Rich Heap, web editor