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21 Feb 19: Part 2 – Catching Fire

You wait weeks for one update and two show up at once. Typical.

It was a busy old Sunday, with games for every single team. Cue a number of multiple appearances over many distant venues by a few heavily-flogged-but-secretly-loving-it club members, as well a key encounter or two and a few debuts to report! This was the full roast lunch complete with all the trimmings and pudding.

A vortex of korfing action twisted into life with the NL team travelling up the A14/M6 to Birmingham. Promoted the same time as us, tied on points with us last season and already a victory over us at the Perse in the first game of this campaign, it was time to show those Brummies how we erm, ‘Cantabrigians’ play Korf (not that there are many Brummies or Cambridge folk playing for either team, mind you – she ain’t called ‘Dutchie’ for nothing.) Last season’s must-win fixture saw the team come good and it was good news again as the feat was repeated – our NL team winning 15-10 and grabbing a nice Balti curry to boot. Goals for Toby, Francis, Matt, Josh, Lia and Andy but a formidable defensive showing from all. In particular, we should give a shout out to wee Andy Hall, restricting to one goal the opposition’s captain and star goal-scorer (with 40% of their side’s goals last season, according to Stat Man West – the Notepad Nerd of Newnham.) He did such a thorough job that frustration boiled over into a yellow card near the end (I would possibly consider the same course of action if Andy Hall was looming over for me for an hour of Korfball, I must admit….which is a compliment, of course.) We had an outing too for ex-Cambridge, now-Derby-located Jenny Adamson, who lulled the opponents with a warm smile before butchering her way through flailing opponents for some running-in shots. Ruthless. That gives us a bit of breathing space to bottom club, Bristol Thunder, but we still have to play them away. We will need a few more victories to be sure of survival. Bring on the baked treats.

One of the youngest SERL teams ever travelled away to Norwich City at the weekend. It was like a camping trip for the scouts and brownies, under the watchful eyes of Driver Jess (complete with cap, driving gloves and strident opinions about the state of the roads,) Scoutmaster Haggart (shirt and shorts cleanly pressed) and Gaming Guru Luuk Bolander, who came with his trusted Tupperware full of Strupwaffels for the journey home. More Llewellyns, the Rodgers Connection and ‘The Potter’ completed the line-up. Sources say that it was one of the best performances to date against a very tall and experienced team. The 28-17 losing scoreline does not reflect how hard the players fought and how close the game play actually was – the younger players doing very well indeed, including Martha, who has recently turned 14. What did she want for her birthday? A game for the SERL team, that’s what. Now there’s a young woman with her priorities right. Oldies Joseph and Molly were very impressed!

How did many of these players react to that defeat? They got into Jess’s car and travelled straight back down the A11 to Hills Road Sports Centre to turn out for T1 against City 1 is what they did….. and Reuters news agency report that the team put up a valiant effort against a well-equipped City team. There was some great attacking activity – just not enough as City had the ball more and we had to defend, which got a bit harder as the legs grew leggier. The wheelchair was waiting for Jess on the sidelines but she soldiered on (playing for T2 later, no less) while the Rodgers Connection once more led the way, with further goals too from Betsy, Jess, Jonny and a Cliftastic score from Tom.  Ultimately we lost 21-10 and the Division 1 race now seems to be between C1 and V1.

T4 were also playing at Hills Road on Sunday – against a strong City 5, mixing it up with youth and experience. We have a few debuts and debut goals to shout about.  Ewan Power (now THERE’S a name) was to the manner born as he put on a show in his first game and scored two. Joanna Cooper experienced the first tingles of excitement of high-octane Cambridge Korfball League action too and put on a good showing. Ella held her own against her England opponent while we had hat-tricks for Frances (not a Burden at all, chuckle) and a hat-trick (give or take) for the Godfather of T4 himself, Nicolo Armitaggi. We can’t forget Leo’s 2 and some good work from Phoebe, who sees all and learns much with each match.

Nearly there. Just T2 and T3 left. Bear with. A somewhat tired T2, made up of a couple of players from the Sponsored Korfathon event that was taking place in Norwich and Hills Road were also playing against Lions 2 on Sunday evening at the Perse. Luuk was down to his last few slices of Gouda but Jess had mysteriously had a second wind (or a stiff drink, not sure which – she had conquered the wall and could see the finish line, I think.) The ranks were bolstered by the movers and shakers of Division 2: McGuinness, Carswell, Roberts, Oldham, Watts, Francis and Coach Rhodes on the sideline, threatening to sub on if the need arose (he did have his shorts this time, I am relieved to admit.) T2 are nearly there now, a number of points ahead of the second-placed team and the pace against L2 was a bit more pedestrian than usual. Start of the show was Sam, with five, giving his sweat-drenched and frequently substituted defenders a torrid time. We gave Luuk a few goals too to reward him for his efforts on Sunday and we allowed him out from the post for a run-around. Always keep your headliners happy and they will repay you. 13-9 the score and a good showing from Lions, to boot.

T3 did not need Jess or Luuk against V3, much to their relief, but they did use Sarah and Nick F to help Steve, Jenny, Laura, Leo, Max, Martha and Ella win 15-5. Leapin’ Leo was everywhere – on the floor once or twice but also on the scoreboard with three lovely goals. Jenny put down  her ledgers and scored 2; Martha was back to terra firma after the highs of SERL earlier and scored 2; Maximus McArthurus scored two, as did Biggus Nickus and half-time substitute and chip off the old block Ella. Sarah pocketed another and a T3 match would not be a proper T3 match without some Latin flair from Laura. Only wee Stevie C didn’t get on the score sheet but that’s only cause he was too busy deafening everyone with his defensive calls, restricting the opposition to 5 goals and setting everyone else up in the rebound – the parent star around which orbit the Tiger planets, the giant whale shark around which all the smaller fish feed and preen, etc etc.

Believe it or not, there were further matches last night (Wednesday) but this is getting too long now and I have a life. Save to say that T1 beat U1 21-6, with Bretell, Potter and Rodgers tormenting the students. This was preceded by T3 winning handsomely against U2, led by goal-machine Martha and the Conductor of the show, Adrian. Doubtless there will be more to report from those matches in the next update after this coming weekend.

Back to work everyone!