Guildford Thunder Korfball Club's first team has clinched promotion to the Western Regional League for the 2023/24 season, joining fellow OKA teams Farnborough Jets 1 and Oxford City 1.
Thunder succeeded in winning their first 2 playoff games at City Academy Bristol to secure their promotion place, before going toe to toe with Exeter City in the final match. This was sufficient in putting them up at the expense of Gloucester Lions.
First up, Thunder beat Cardiff Raptors 2 by 11 to 7, followed up by a 13 to 10 win against Gloucester Lions. The final game saw a 12 to 10 loss to Exeter City 1 meaning Thunder and Exeter City were promoted.
The 2 victories and the closeness of the defeat suggest some optimism for the coming WRL season for what will be the league's easternmost club.
Western Regional League
The WRL consists of teams from Exeter, Cardiff, Bristol, Oxford and Farnborough.
After finishing the season in 2 nd place in the North/West Promo League, we had qualified for the
Copper Box. Confidence was high. The team had won their (WRL) Regional League, ending 5 years of
finishing 2nd to Bristol Thunder. They had also won the OKA Chris Carter Cup, overcoming a high-
quality Farnborough side in the final (not looking forward to playing them next season!).
Could this be a treble winning year?
10 members of the Spartans party met up on the Friday at their hotel, The Real Dreams Hotel. Could
this be good sign? Nervous excitement was in the air. Nothing that a pre-weekend Nando’s wouldn’t
Arriving at the venue was a great experience, following in the footsteps of those 2012 Olympic
athletes. The England Korfball Association have done so well to get the best venue for indoor sports
in the country.
First game vs Bearsted. They had won their Promo league, just ahead of Highbury on head-to-head
goal difference. We knew we’d be in for a tough game. We just wanted to make sure that we went
out and gave a good account of ourselves.
First attack: Lucy, Emma, Tom, Osian (C)
First Defence: Kat, Carensa, Dan, Ste
From the beginning of the game, we were ahead. I think they only levelled up briefly, but the
Spartans were ahead the whole game. The team showed great composure throughout. Sticking to
the game plan. Emma started the game brilliantly, scoring from some way out early on, definitely
helped settle the nerves in the team. Penalties were a feature of the game, Dan and Tom scoring 7
between them. These were mainly as a result of the driving in from the girls. Lucy, Carensa and
Emma all scored runners, with Bearsted making a concerted effort to not foul. Dinny came on for Ste
10 minutes before half time. The plan here was just to take advantage of a tiring defence. This
change was reversed 10 minutes after half time. Dinny had scored 4, mission completed! Ste showed
what we had been missing out on from him, scoring his first attempt after coming back on.
Going into the last 10 minutes, we just had to hold on! Dinny came back on for Captain Osian, again
to take advantage of tiring legs. Tom continued to keep the score ticking over, finishing the game
The game finished 22-21 to Spartans! A brilliant performance from the whole team. We really had
gone out there, shown what we could do. Defeating a quality Bearsted side who had been in the
National League only a few years ago.
Player of the Match: Has to go to Tom. Brilliant throughout. Worried he might start attracting the
attention of some of the National League sides watching!
Thank you to the whole squad. Especially Grace who had come along at late notice but wasn’t able
to stay from Day 2. Both Charlottes who were both struggling to be injury free. Owain who had
plenty to offer, but wasn’t used as a result of how good the other boys’ performances had been. Nev
was doing a great job as Assistant Coach/sub!
We were then able to sit back and relax. Many ventured into the shopping centre for food. Five Guys
was the best celebration meal for most. Tomorrow we would be facing Highbury who had beaten
Manchester Warriors earlier in the day. We had been beaten comfortably by Warriors twice in the
normal season, so anyone able to beat them, must be a good side!
We stayed to watch Trojans vs Tornadoes. Mostly supporting Tornadoes because of the Lucy
connection. They gave them a good game, not as close as last year though, and 11-time Champions
Trojans progressed to the final ready to try make it 12 in a row.
Most of us then left as we had a Champions League final to watch. Less said about this, the better!
Some had some late nights, watching some Highbury videos, seeing where the slightest advantage
could be had.
We knew they had quality at both ends. Their captain was suspended though following a yellow card
on the day 1.
Ste was given the job of marking Ally. We had come up against him many times before during his
days at Oxford University. Osian/Tom were given the job of marking Dennis.
First Attack: Carensa, Kat, Dan, Owain
First Defence: Charlotte W, Lucy, Tom, Osian (c)
Owain started the game well, almost scoring several times. He was up against Ally, so Ste was going
to come on for him when they went into defence.
The game started with Highbury getting an early lead, which they kept for most of the game.
Spartans did well and showed great resilience to stay with them.
Emma came on for Charlotte W to show her driving abilities that were so important on Day 1.
Penalties were again a feature, with Dan and Tom scoring 6 between them again. In contrast,
Highbury only had 2. Just shows the high-quality defence on show in the Spartans team.
Dinny came on for Ste again, hoping for a repeat of yesterday.
Half time and the score had Highbury 3 ahead. We knew that this was only a small margin. If we
could get momentum behind us, then we could wipe that out in a few minutes.
Carensa was having a very good game, scoring a brilliant free-pass to add to her tally, which would
eventually be 3.
Spartans stayed with Highbury though, with contributions from all over the team. Emma 1, Lucy 1,
Osian 2, Tom 2.
But they were still 3 ahead. We had to go for it. We waited for Lucy to get into defence before bring
her off with the intention of getting her straight back on into attack again. Good plan in theory?
But Dinny went over on his ankle and hobbled off, Ste back on. Still not able to get Lucy back onto
the pitch! But Spartans scored 2 without a reply without her anyway! Phew!
1 behind now. Lucy on for Kat.
Emma equals up with a lovely mid-range shot after a nice pass to the back. Time out called by
Highbury. 6 minutes to go!
2 cutting calls on Highbury keep the scores level.
Carensa scores a runner to go 1 ahead, could this our year?! 2 minutes left! 16-17 to Spartans.
Highbury level 17-17 1 minute to go…
23 seconds on the clock and Highbury do it and score the winner. Heartbreak for Spartans.
Congratulations Highbury, much deserved.
We went into the weekend, happy to be there. As it went on, we realised this is where we belong.
We are now hungry for more of it and determined to be back next year. It will be harder with
Birmingham coming down to join the Promo League. Determination, drive and belief in our abilities
have got us to within 2 minutes of the National League. We will back next year…. hopefully!
Again, thank you to the whole squad. Owain has had a brilliant season, definitely the most improved
member of the squad. Top scorer the Chris Carter Cup. Can feel hard-done by to not get more game
time over the weekend! Charlotte C, injury just came at the wrong time for you. Look forward to
seeing you fit and healthy next season.
Thank you to Nev for being an excellent Assistant! Cool head always welcome when it got tense!
Meant we could split the team talks between divisions. Sorry you couldn’t get on!
Thank you to our 2 mascots! Nev’s son Alex and David’s niece Ella were amazing and were the good
luck charms for the team.
Thank you to our supporters! You all looked amazing in your supporter t-shirts, and showed that
Southampton Korfball really is a big deal on the korfball map!
David was then presented with the Graham Crafter Award for services to Korfball. Thank you Kat for
organising the nomination and getting so many of my former team-mates to contribute. The shield is
huge, and it’ll have pride of place on my mantel piece until I have to give it back! It means a lot to
get recognised for my work, but seeing everyone enjoying their time on and off the court, makes it
Apologies for switching between 1 st and 3 rd person, there’s probably some 2 nd in there too?
We’ll be back next year, stronger, fitter!
Well done to Trojans for making it 12 in a row in a thoroughly entertaining final. The comeback really
is a great example to everyone in staying calm, believing in your abilites.
Southampton Spartans have had an exciting 2018/2019 season with lots of fresh faces and a finals
on the horizon.
The season has also been filled with lots of none korf excitement for the Spartans like weddings,
engagements and babies!!
BACK TO THE KORF!
The first have had a fantastic season sitting first in the regional league and 2nd in the promo. They
are eagerly awaiting the promo league finals at the copper box in June. The first Top scorer in the
regional league is Tom Kelly with a gobsmacking 105 goals.
Southampton 2nd are competing in OKA league 1 and are currently sitting at 5th in the table. The
season has had wins losses and draws almost in equal measures. With three games left in the
season they are hoping to add a few more tallies in the W column. However finishing mid table in
league 1 is a great improvement for the seconds who were fighting relegation this time last year.
This is no doubt partly thanks to reinforcements joining the club and bolstering the team. 2nds Top
goal scorer is Owain Larcombe who’s racked up 28 goals this season. The 2nds most improved
players are Amy Archer and new recruit Grace Jansen.
The 3rds play in OKA League 3 South and are 5th in the table which is an improvement from last
year where we came 6th. 3rds this season had a handful of new players not only to spartans but
new to Korfball as well. Every one of them has come a long way from the beginning, with everyone
scoring at least 1 goal each. Our games have all been enjoyable with the mixture of loses, draws
and wins. 3rds best match of the season would have to be the match against Reading Uni 2, with
us winning 16-5. With no doubts with next season will be fast approaching, I am positive that 3rds
will improve and yet again will gain more new players over the summer. The thirds top goal scorer
is Idy Cheung with 10 goals. Most improved players are Catherine Thompson and Matt James.
Looking ahead the spartans are hoping to gain some new recruits over the summer months. Storm
the summer tournaments and be fighting fit for the new season in September.
Written by David Creed
I rejoined the Bulls as coach in September 2017. My first training session had about 7 players attend. We met at the end of October to determine whether the club could afford to keep running. We had a couple of new starters and decided to keep going for another couple of months. We played games, won some, lost others. It was frustrating for me as a coach as there was never a consistent line up.
Then January 2018 happened. A super-aggressive recruitment campaign saw a huge influx of new players. By the end of the season I had an established first team and a brand-new second team.
This season saw the hard work of the previous year pay off massively. The first team won all their games in the first half of the season including a record-breaking victory over reigning champions Southampton Uni. A very tense game against eventual runners-up Farnborough finished with a last second winner from top scorer Adam Gillies, after conceding an equalizer with 10 seconds left of the game!
The second team lost their first ever game against a very strong Guildford team but gained a confidence boosting win against Southampton Uni the week after. A hard-fought draw against Guildford in the return fixture and victories against Farnborough and Reading left the Bulls top at Christmas in both leagues
We finished 2018 with the news that Chairperson and all-round korfball God Viktor was leaving us to join local rivals Farnborough.
The club again rallied around and kicked off 2019 the way we left off – with wins. However the first team clearly decided that winning was boring so all decided to go on holiday! This left the second team stepping up against Oxford and Abingdon and, although they fought hard, succumbed to the first defeats of the season.
The fixtures God (AKA Matt Buckley) had set the season finale up beautifully with the season ending with both Bulls teams facing off against both Jets teams with both the titles on the line for the winners – presuming they won by more than 3 goals. Two close games ensued with the Bulls coming out on top and taking their first title since Southampton Uni’s dominance.
Getting to the top of both leagues was hard – staying there next year will be even harder. Bring it on!