Monday, 27 October 2014

Match Report: Bristol Leave Us Blue (Da Ba Dee)

Oxford City vs Bristol City - 25.10.14
19 - 7 Loss

We played a blue match with a blue Bristol team.
Blue is the colour of all that we wore.
Blue was the floor and all wall was too.
Blue are the feelings when we look at that the score.
I'm blue da ba dee da ba die...

Now that's enough of that! The match didn't go quite as planned. My new crazy divisions are not going to be adopted in future and, on Thursday, Frank as threatened is going to run us ragged. 

But there were some positives. Easy ones to remember were our seven goals. Alice and Damien both got a runner and a long shot, showing their versatility as well as scoring skills. Dan and Pete intercepted several key passes brilliantly. Fi had at least one shot that should have been in but somehow didn't drop. Mike had a man mountain against him but was still strong under the post. Becca and Ruth were their usual quick and crafty selves. And it should have been one more but Alice scored a free pass that was bizarrely not counted due to opposition infringement. 

There were lots of moments we can be proud of from this game but we didn't quite come together as the confident and determined team we were against Gloucester. Even so, huge thanks to Frank for coaching and Damien for stepping in to play at short notice. Well done to Mike and Fi for fine regional débuts.

Scorers: Alice (2), Damien (2), Pete (1), Becca (1), Jo (1)

- Match report by Jo

Match Report: City 2 Start With A Win

Oxford City 2 v Oxford Uni 2 - 19.10.14
7-0 Win

Thanks to the whimsical League 2 schedule, the mighty City 2 had to wait until the depths of October to begin their 2014/15 campaign. They faced off on Sunday against a typical Uni 2 side: young, bouncy and enthusiastic, but inexperienced.

City 2 got off to a steady start, and goals from Jen, Charlotte and Simon saw City race into an early 3-0 lead. Arge should have scored several more, easily running past his defender on numerous occasions, but he sportingly chose to travel, drop the ball or forget to shoot, sparing the blushes of his opposite number. Things got a little hairy towards half time: a slight dip in concentration led to some loose City passing, and some Uni interceptions, but the students were unable to capitalise.

The second half saw a superlative defensive display from City 2, with Uni struggling to get shots up and never looking like scoring. Meanwhile, Charlotte got her shooting boots on and popped in a couple of lovely goals. Jim added a penalty, and Dan (coming on as emergency sub) selfishly scored too. The final score was a fine 7-0 victory to City 2. Whoop whoop!

MVP was Fi, who had a very strong game, consistently out-collecting her marker and setting up several goals. Also, big well done to Charlotte for her splendid hat-trick. And, in general, it was a great defensive display against a fast, intercept-y side who made things difficult for us.

MVP - Fi
Scorers - Charlotte (3), Dan (1), Jen (1), Jim (1), Simon (1)

- Match report by Alice

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Match Report: Awesomites Go Down Fighting

Oxford City 3 v Didcot 2 - 12.10.14
19-4 Loss

On Sunday a full squad of Awesomites faced off against an experienced Didcot team. I don't think they had a player on the pitch without a few years' local league experience under their belt so it was always going to be one of the team's toughest challenges this season. 

We went out there with a lot of energy, everyone gave it their all, and the team spirit was fantastic. We did concede a lot of goals, particularly running in shots, but Didcot were on shooting form and sometimes no matter how well you defend they just drop. I've a feeling a lot of lessons were learned the hard way this match, particularly in defence as our opposition pulled no punches and exploited every slight lapse in concentration. 

Didcot made us work hard for every pass and shot but work hard we did, and in return we created four goals (two from second half sub, Mr Rich H, continuing his long shooting form) and towards the end we were regularly putting some good moves together in attack and starting to find a rhythm. 

Becca 'Blaze' put in a great performance claiming the collect for her own, allowing her division to put up shots and also made some good moves herself toward the end, coming this close to scoring (also, great cookies). 

Shout out to Theo whose sheer determination got him his well-earned goal and Steve who did well all match to find acres of space and make shots that paid off. Pip has a bloody lip to prove her sterling efforts in defence, and Andy had to deal with some very tricky play. However he rose to the occasion and, despite that, did everything right and had a good all round performance. Michelle, Jo, Rich M & Mike (who did well despite learning some hard lessons from the strongest player in the match in my opinion) all put in great efforts to round out the team performance.

Overall, though, my player of the match is Laura who, in only her second game, showed how quickly she has picked up some of the finer aspects and made hard work for a much more experienced player all game. I could see her netball origins coming through to good effect! Collect, feed, defence, movement, she made things happen for the team with a well-rounded performance and one that bodes well for the future.   

The scoreline doesn't matter here. Let's learn from our mistakes, take all those positives into training, and work hard for the next one. Great efforts everybody!

MVP - Laura
Scorers - Rich H (2), Laura (1), Theo (1)

- Match report by Gaz

Match Report: Tough Times in Basingstoke

Basingstoke 1 vs Oxford City 1 - 11.10.1421-4 Loss

On Saturday half a dozen City players travelled to Basingstoke in a match that would count for the regional league and Oxfordshire League 1. 

We had not so much put all our eggs in one basket but had to use all our available eggs. This match was about principle as much as korfball and heading out we decided the only way to win was pull together as a team in the face of this difficult situation.

Historically, we have not done well against Basingstoke. I can't find an occasion on record where we have won against their first team and in February, when Oxford United played them, we lost by 14 goals with an over-brimming squad of 12.

Oxford roadworks and a newer venue meant that, as well as doing without a full eight and subs, we also did without a warm-up. There was to be plenty of running in the game so we would all get a significant workout but a single injury and the game would be over.

First half it became apparent why playing with six is not advisable. Stolid defending kept the Basingstoke goals down to a determined trickle. Alice got our first goal with a well-crafted running in shot and Jo then got in a cheeky looping ball from feed. The half ended 9-2.

Second half the non-shooters seemed to be changing constantly as the fine pressure Gaz and Dave were applying led numerous shots to fall short or bounce off. Ev and Ruth both had several shots that were tantalisingly close in their division's long controlled attacks. Dave very frequently won the collect despite being outnumbered on pitch. Alice scored a second carbon-copy runner and Gaz scored a goal that could only be described as epic. Both boys chasing him down as he dropped off to a significant distance for the shot (he has clearly been practising the big step back!). 

The defensive pairs from all our girls were excellent but long shots for Basingstoke started to go in more towards the end of the game plus their repetitive crossing moves got very tiresome. Final score was 21-4, which is a little worse than we wanted but the way we had pulled together and played for every ball was more important.

Unofficial MVP - I think we all deserve this one. If we can do this with six against last year's league winners just imagine how great we can be with eight or even the luxurious ten! Well done to all six for being there, and resisting the draw of the National Ploughing Championships happening just down the road.
Scorers - Alice (2), Gaz (1), Jo (1)

- Match report by Jo

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Match Report: City Wins Point In Tough Abingdon Test

Abingdon 1 vs Oxford City 1 - 05.10.14
11-9 Loss

The second City 1 game of the season was up against last year's OKA League 1 runners-up Abingdon 1. In two matches against them last year we lost twice, both times by four goals or more, so this match was a good opportunity to see how we matched up now.
While Dave E, Niall and Ev were absent, Claire W came into the starting eight to make her Oxford City debut in the OKA league and, fresh from his regional league exploits, Rich H stepped up at short notice from the 2nd team to continue his tradition of representing every single City squad.
The match started off at a fast pace, and we quickly moved into a three goal lead that included another cracker from Ruth, and a long shot from Rich. This shocked a confident and strong Abingdon side, who increased their efforts, focusing mainly on running in attempts from their quick players and Alex B's typically trickery in and around the post.

Despite some strong defence, Abingdon broke through our resistance to pull the score back to 4-4. Unfortunately, this led to a silly phase where we lost our way somewhat, giving away penalties to obvious tactics, and losing concentration occasionally.  We ended the half five goals behind after having a three-goal lead, which was massively disappointing.  
To be honest, this time last season that would be have been an insurmountable score difference to come back from, especially with the way we'd collapsed, but we genuinely felt (well, I did at least!) that we had a chance to pull it back in the second half, despite the strength of the opposition. Abingdon made it hard for us in the second half, and we were struggling to score -- but so were they. 

After trading a couple of goals each way (including another brilliant long shot from Rich) we then moved into the ascendancy, scoring three further goals un-answered to pull within two of Abingdon with 36 seconds left to play.  We then held on to secure a bonus point in defeat, which was well-deserved considering how we recovered from a very shaky period. It says a lot about the mental belief we've developed over last season and this summer.
One thing that was pleasing was the way we spread goals out throughout the team again, and Gaz continued to add provider to his existing mantle of goalscorer. I also thought Claire and Becca did well to keep the dangerous Alex F quiet.  

However, in this instance I really want to highlight the contribution that Rich in particular made. First, he sank two brilliant long shots that could grace any level of korfball, despite being marked by (and marking) a player of Alex B's 20 years' experience. Second, with a minute left of a long and tiring match, he sprinted after a shot and out-collected Alex in a collect he had no right to win, before setting Dan up with an easy goal straight from collect.  And third, ten seconds later he sprinted back and made a last-minute successful defence of an Alex B shot when the rest of us had switched off. Considering Alex's shot went in and was disallowed, those two interventions in the final minute of the game single-handedly won us a point, and you really can't ask any more of a player, especially when they are stepping up from the 2nd team. That's the difference that showing 100% commitment makes.  
Yes, it was a loss, but gaining that point felt like a mini victory. If we continue to play in this spirit then we'll we'll have a good chance.
Official MVP (these are named by the opposition BTW) - Rich
Scorers - Rich (2), Ruth (2), Dan (2), Alice (1), Gaz (1), Dave W (1)

- Match report by Dan.

Match Report: City Starts Regional Campaign With Win

Oxford City v Gloucester Lions - 04.10.14
16-6 Win

Last year, Oxford United was narrowly beaten by Gloucester at home. However, after the successes of Bristol tournament, Oxford City was looking to play hard and start this season's regional league campaign with a win. Frank had travelled even further than our opposition to coach this opening match -- and, due to traffic, arrived before them.

Posts were in place. The ref was ready. All that remained was to follow Frank's plan.

We started well, slowly we made our way to 3-0 up in tense first quarter. The rest of the half saw goals from Dan, Paul and Ruth. Gaz held his ground in feed and got pushed through to the ground at one point for his trouble. Despite the whiplash he got up and played on. Pete slotted away two penalties with ease and we ended the half 6-1 up.

At the start of the second half a Gloucester penalty had narrowed the gap to just four goals. Claire had come on and responded with Alice to get a quick two goals. Rich subbed on to his regional début and used his height to secure numerous collects. Becca used her pace as part of the excellent defence and we won the ball back several times as Gloucester tried to pass out of defence giving us extra time in attack. Gaz has some exceptionally near chances but his dancing behind the post, to pull his marker out the game, took priority.

Gloucester kept trying to attack, scoring the occasional goal, but Ruth's gravity-defying long shots dominated the end of the game. Full time saw City victorious by a massive 16-6. 

Thank you to Frank for the inspirational coaching. Special mention to Paul who had a great match against very difficult opposition but player of the match has to go to Ruth.

Scorers - Ruth (5), Alice (3), Claire (2), Dan (2), Pete (2), Paul (2)

- Match report by Jo

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Match Reports: City Prevails In Isis Double-Header

Oxford City 3 vs Isis 2 – 29.09.14
6-4 Win

“Team Awesome” got Oxford City off to a great start in the season with an excellent win against local rivals Isis, and featured club debuts from Theo and Laura that were great to see.  

The basis of the win was a great offensive display in the first half, followed by hard-working defensive shift in the second. Becca’s pre-match team talk and promise of team cake obviously did the trick! 

This was a really encouraging start by our third team, and what was especially impressive was the amount of movement and variety of attacks on display. All the things we’ve been practising in training were demonstrated in the match. Well done everyone – there was a very proud coach on the sidelines (aka Gaz)!

A special shout out goes to Theo, who not only made his debut for Oxford City, but also scored a great long shot in the first half, and then put on a sterling defensive effort in the second half when Isis brought on last year’s OKA player of the season against him. Considering Dan conceded five goals to him in the later City 1 team match, for Theo to only concede one was brilliant. I was also impressed with Becca’s captaincy and her nerves of steel when converting her penalty.

Official MVP – Becca “The Blaze” Bleeze
Scorers – Dan (2), Becca (1), Theo (1), Alice (1), Niall (1)
Oxford City 1 vs Isis 1 – 29.09.14
12-6 Win

With a large proportion of the squad still recovering from playing a lot of korfball at Bristol the day before, it was always going to be important to get off to a strong start before legs became tired later on. And we did, racing into a four goal lead quickly after Becca kicked off the scoring.  

The match continued in this vein, with City reaching the break seven goals ahead after a great variety of attacks. Gaz’s tactics were paying off, utilising the strengths of our squad versus the opposition. 

Things changed after the break, with sore legs tiring, Alice disappearing to be sick (well done Blaze for stepping in!) and we also perhaps relaxed too much after dominating the first half. That, coupled with increased energy & pressure from Isis, resulted in a number of sloppy passes and rushed attacks, and this is something we need to cut out in future matches.  

However, we continued to create chances and score at key times, and the final score was much more comfortable than it felt at times.  

Personal highlights were the way we had a goal threat throughout the team, and also the way Niall slotted in seamlessly when making his full first team debut when he replaced Dave W in the second half.

Official MVP – Niall
Scorers – Gaz (3), Alice (2), Becca (2), Dan (2), Dave W (1), Dave E (1), Jo (1)

- Match reports by Dan

City on Tour 2014: Bristol Thunder Indoor Tournament

Ten of us (plus one Abingdon loanee, thanks Matt!) headed off to the Bristol Thunder indoor tournament to face off against a number of high level teams, including national league teams.  

All clubs sent out strong squads for what was billed as a future high profile tournament, and it was a good challenge for us. We weren’t one of the seeded sides, but in short, we were awesome, coming 7th out of 13 after 6 30min games. Indeed, we were extremely unlucky to lose a match that would have put us into the play off for 5th/6th. 

Full results were:

10-2 Win vs Bristol Uni (great long shot by Rich!)
16-3 Win vs Bristol City  (featuring two long shots from Charlotte, and everyone chipping in)
7-6 Win vs Scratch (who had two international players)


Quarter-Finals - The morning’s brilliant results put us into a very tough quarter final against Bristol Thunder, who came out convincing winners, but we scored twice as many goals against them as we did in the final of the Bristol City tournament!

Play-Off 1 – 4-5 Loss vs Cardiff Celts.  After playing well in a tight game, and leading all the way through, we conceded two goals right at the end in what was the most gutting result of the day.  Still, it was a very promising display against a team that were seeded in the competition, and whom we will be matching up against in the regional league.

Play-Off 2 – 7-6 Win vs Cardiff Uni.  It was important to finish with a win and this was a great way to finish the day.  Cardiff Uni are another team we will be facing in the regional league, and we played really well, with Taissa scoring at towards the end to make victory safe.

To finish off the day (8 hours after our first match!), Alice played for Bearsted in the final of the competition, scoring an awesome long shot and setting up other goals in their tournament winning victory.  Well done Alice! 

All in all, a very successful day for Oxford City, with every single member of the squad scoring. Thanks to everyone that travelled down. 

Final scorers – Dan (13), Gaz (9), Becca (5), Claire (5), Jo (5), Alice (3), Charlotte (2), Matt (2), Taissa (1), Rich (1) 

- Dan Hibbs, chairman