With 12 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in the Oxford, Wales and West 2012-13 regional league season, Cardiff City qualified for the Champions Trophy or ‘CT’. This two-day tournament caps off the indoor season for korfball in the UK and sees other regional league winners and national league bottom team Croydon battle it out for two places in next season’s England Korfball National League.
The weekend started against a strong Cambridge team who were tipped to finish second at the CT. City held their own for the first half, but after a couple of missed penalties Cambridge managed to pull a lead which City could not recover. Cambridge ended the game with a 15-8 lead and their first two points of the competition.
The following match saw Highbury and Birmingham battle it out. Although Birmingham City were the stronger team, they could not capitalise on their chances whereas Highbury did, to come out on top 12-7.
So when Cardiff City played Highbury later that afternoon, Highbury went into the match over-confident whereas the Welsh side wanted to bounce back from their morning defeat. Indeed City played with determination, accuracy and were better organised. Ramzi Barbir, Ruth Campbell and Dave Thomas all scored 3 or more goals, helped by their team mates in feed and collect. Highbury made a determined girl substitution at half time, but City tactically brought on Julie Prosser to mark her which proved to be an important sub. The game ended 13-6 in City’s favour and a great way to end the first day of matches.
Cardiff City kicked off day 2 against Birmingham City. Although a close affair in the first few minutes, Birmingham slowly but surely pulled a bigger lead mainly thanks to their tall and quick boys who scored all of their 13 goals. The end result was 13-7 to Birmingham.
The last match for Cardiff was against Croydon who had so far beaten both Cambridge and Birmingham. City’s chances were slim but the Welsh side had youth on their side against an experienced but ageing Croydon team. However, Croydon’s experience of playing as a unit proved too much for Cardiff to contain and City unfortunately lost their discipline and ability to recycle the ball. Hampered by an injury to Ramzi Barbir who was carried off the pitch and Croydon influencing the referee’s decisions, City ended their CT games with a frustrating 6-11 loss.
City players who took part thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Partly because of a great Saturday night social but also because they were able to experience a higher level of korfball than normally played in the Welsh or Regional leagues. All will have benefited from playing on larger pitches with high standard referees, alongside a professional set up including assistant refs, jury and shot clocks.
Cardiff City’s only previous experience of the playing with a shot clock came through the squad’s trip to Lyon in France for the Europa Cup first round last September. However, the team adapted well and were rarely buzzed out.
The matches were played at Whitgift School in Croydon which provided excellent facilities for the Champions Trophy weekend and is regularly used as a multi-game venue in the EKA national league.