Sunday, 22 March 2015

Match Report: A Regional Rumble With Thunder

Oxford City vs Bristol Thunder - 14.03.15
19-10 Loss

On Saturday we played Bristol Thunder and lost. The final score was 10-19 but that's not really the full story. We are absolutely right to count this as a victory, even though it wasn't!

To put things in context Thunder regularly score 20+ goals in a game, are strong favourites to win the Western Regional League this season, and have only lost one game this season across several leagues. Also when we last played them we were beaten by a margin of 25 goals. They are a high-scoring and difficult team to play, and I think it's fair to say we were expecting to be badly beaten. However Frank had given us new tactics on Thursday and as usual we were all there ready to play our best.

As it happened we played better than our best. The first third of the match was like a whirlwind. We claimed the first goal and, although Thunder repeatedly drew level, we kept creating more chances and sinking more goal. It was 6-5 at 20 minutes in. What a difference a training session makes! Our fast-paced attack wasn't perfect but it was working. Becca was doing an amazing job with Thunder's Ruth, a Welsh international, and stayed focused.

At half time we were losing 9-6 but still elated about how well we had started this match -- perhaps even shocked -- and determined to keep working as hard as possible.

Second half and our whirling dervish attack was taking its toil. Some passes went astray, the patience to wait for the right shot was not always used and there were points where if we had communicated better Thunder would not have scored. It was my turn to roll my ankle and I strongly felt the error in not having a girl sub. Meanwhile, the tall boys Thunder had brought with them made multi-shot attacks very difficult to come by. 

But we kept working and getting goals but not quite as quickly as the opponents. Dan made all of his penalties count and Gaz 'n' Dave (Ewing) formed the scoring duo from the first half. Our Ruth had some lovely shots but gravity was not on her side on this occasion!

By the end of the game you could have told me any scoreline and I would have believed it. Everybody played with everything they had and it was great to be a part of. Things might not have been perfect but we were pulling together, chasing down any loose ball and with a little more practice even beating the top team in our region doesn't seem out of the question.

Thanks to Frank as always - we always play better when you are there to straighten us out. Thanks to Nicola for fitting in beautifully on his City debut, and Theo for the injection of pace in the second half.

Scorers: Alice (3), Dan (3), Dave (2), Gaz, Jo

MVP: Very tricky decision. We all raised our game and played furiously -- so we all deserve special mentions! And it was very tempting to give player of the match to Frank for supreme coaching. In the end Alice with a penalty-free hat trick and playing flawlessly in defence is my player of the match. 

- Match report by Jo

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Match Reports: City 2 and 3 Do Well Despite Double Defeat

City 2 vs Oxford Uni 2 - 08.03.015
12-10 Loss

City 2 went down to a resurgent Oxford Uni 2 on Sunday afternoon at St Greg's. It needs to be said that Uni 2 are a stronger proposition this season than they have been for some time, as the fact that they won three out of three on Sunday testifies (including a rout of an uncharacteristically lacklustre Abingdon 3 side in their final match). The fact they had four Uni 1 players in the team also helped!

In this context, we can take a degree of satisfaction from keeping pace with them for much of the match (we won the second half 3-2!). At one point we were four behind, so to go into the last quarter of the game still with a prospect of victory is definitely something to be happy with. Uni's boys were big, strong and quick (a real handful in other words) and the better opportunities came with our girls at the posts, Hannah, Charlotte and Fi doing particularly well in winning collects.

Scorers: Simon (3), Niall (2), Jim (2), Charlotte, Fi, Rich

MVP: Niall: Having already played for the firsts, he bagged two goals and defended well against the wiles of Dave Sinclair.

- Match report by Simon

City 3 vs Oxford Uni 2 - 08.03.015
12-5 Loss

Next up to bat for City were 'Team Awesome', and this they were also up against a strong Uni line-up that had previously beaten City 2. But that doesn’t matter to Team Awesome!

I suspect people came off the court feeling disappointed to lose, but no one should have done. It was by far the best performance I’ve seen from Team Awesome this season. Yes, it’s great to beat teams like Isis 2 (it’s always nice to win!), but to put in a performance like I saw on Sunday (against very strong opposition) is the real testament to Team Awesome’s progress as individuals and as a team.

The biggest difference versus a few weeks ago was the speed of movement and passing in attack.  We created opportunities, scored some great goals, and looked a threat throughout.  Michelle showed nerves of steel to score a penalty as well (no celebration though!). We were also a lot more solid in defence, and didn’t give away many cheap goals. Uni had to work hard for their win.  

To give further context, five of the Uni players also played in  the Uni 1 team that drew 9-9 with Farnborough in Division 1, so restricting them to 12 is good. Let’s build on this and go out and get a win against Abingdon 3 next week. Special mention to Theo by the way for getting up and dusting himself off after being knocked to the ground not once, but twice, by aerial uni players while trying to take a free pass. It’s a bold way to win penalties!

Goals: Michelle (1), Becca (1), Rich M (1), Ian B (1), Laura (1)

MVP: Laura

- Match report by Gaz

Match Report: City Slays The Dragons

City 1 vs Didcot 1 - 08.03.15
19-2 Win

It’s a sign of City’s progress this season that we utterly dominated a pretty experienced Didcot side, but were actually a bit disappointed in some ways when we came off.  

There were definitely areas of improvement to work on: we failed to score for the first 15 minutes, and a lot of our shots were going very long initially. Definitely something to work on in training. However, once Dave Everett kicked us off with an inch perfect long shot, Ruth got her range and quickly followed with another one and the floodgates opened. In the end the mythical 20-goal barrier was tantalising close, but for the second time this season we fell one goal short, with a similar story of shots rolling around the rim only to fall off. Ultimately we were left rueing the slow start, but it’s hard to be too critical of such a heavy victory!

Korfball is a team game, but individual battles are also important, and special mention goes to Gaz, who finished in credit against Dave “5 goals a game” Ewing, scoring two and restricting Dave to one. After getting his eye in it was our Dave E who scored five instead. Alice and Ev combined excellently to demonstrate dynamic defence and great speed in attack as well. Both divisions were excellent in defence, actually - Didcot rarely looked like scoring.

Scorers: Dave E (5), Ev (3), Dan (3), Gaz (2), Niall (2), Ruth (2), Alice (1), Claire (1)

MVP: Dave E was definitely in the running with his excellent five goals, and it was great to see Ev stamping her superiority on her opponent. However, I’m going to give it to Gaz: he didn’t have a particularly flashy game (despite scoring an awesome long shot), but he did the dirty stuff in defense really well, and nullified a massively danger player.

- Match report by Dan