By Ramzi Barbir 

The journey up to Manchester on a Friday night was interesting to say the least. After an hour in the back of two small cars, we stopped at one of Max’s recommended Italian restaurants for a quick meal… Two hours later and after having devoured a fantastic meal accompanied by luscious starters and bottles of wine not even on the menu, we emerged from The Olive Tree. After a quick group pose doing the Chinese V sign in front of the restaurant and in fact in front of a Chinese family sitting outside the nearby café, we all hurried back to squeezing in the cars – how embarrassing!

The Saturday in Manchester was broken down into 15 minute morning pool matches and 20 minute afternoon knock-out matches. We were drawn in the same pool as Snakebite, SDO, Manchester Uni 2, Leeds City and Nottingham.
The first match of the day was slightly frustrating; a 2-2 draw against Snakebite should have been an easy win as most City players managed to run past their defenders but failed to convert opportunities into goals. However, as the hours ticked by, the morning kept progressively getting better; beating Manchester Uni 2, Leeds City and Nottingham. Unfortunately, the well rehearsed Dutch tactics of SDO proved too much for us, scoring from many of their running in shots and subsequently we lost 5-1.
After a good morning performance, Cardiff City finished in the top two of their pool and won the opportunity to battle it out for the trophy.

Cardiff City vs Snakebite
Cardiff City vs Snakebite

The afternoon matches came round and the temperature soared as the sun kept shining, Cardiff City found a new warming up technique… standing by the sideline and soaking up the sun. Actually this didn’t prove successful, the first match of the afternoon was a disappointing loss against the Manchester Warriors.
In all honesty, the positive point from this match was that the Nottingham referee now knows that we do actually play korfball in Wales, and no, there is no need to explain the free pass rule, we do know it! 

Eventually the unavoidable unavoidably happened… we were drawn against Cardiff Dragons… or rather a selection of Dragons players, supplemented by Cardiff Uni, Bristol Uni, Bristol City and Horfield players. City started off the better team, with a few shots from Ramzi flirting with the basket. But when the shots from both teams started dropping, they were pouring in! Indeed a quick succession of long shots from Ramzi and James (Dragons) saw both Kevin’s (Dragons) and Ceri’s respective jaws drop to the grass in disbelief.
The closely fought game ended up tied at 4-all after 20 minutes and was to be decided on penalties. City’s flawless penalty taking saw them winning the match and progress to the next level.

Unfortunately, staying out in the sun all day didn’t do my brain any good as I can’t remember much from the day’s last match against Edinburgh… I do know however that we ended up loosing and finished the day 6th out of 24 teams. Overall a good day’s performance Cardiff!

The evening BBQ was filled with laughter; not only from the funny tan lines, but also from the sausage in Kate’s pint, the soldier statue being chatted up by both women and men, the fantastic karaoke performance by Ian and by the completely out of tune singing from the day’s captain Ramzi. The day should have finished with Max and Kate swimming across the Mersey, but however drunk they were, they eventually decided against it… boohoo!!

Yes girls, he's actually single
Yes girls, he’s actually single…

Cardiff City took a strong team to Manchester comprising mostly of first team players Ceri, Ramzi, Ian, Aidan, Max, Zoe, Kat, Midge, Susan, and Kate Brewer.
Thanks to Midge for organising the trip and to both Midge and Kate for driving us up there.

Cardiff City @ Manchester
Cardiff City @ Manchester tournament