Category: Europa Cup

Europa Cup reflections

Last weekend saw ECKC enter the qualification round for the Europa Cup, korfball’s most prodigious club competition.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of players to go with, the spirit within the playing squad was fantastic and I was delighted that Graham Robertson had agreed to come along as part of the coaching team. His input was invaluable and meant that I could focus mainly on playing rather than coaching whilst on-court.

Our first match was against the French champions Bonson, this was a crucial one as the other teams in our group were viewed as overwhelming favourites to qualify before the tournament started.

Unfortunately for us we made a few too many errors during the game and despite a strong fight towards the end of the match it wasn’t enough to close the gap with the final score 15-12 in favour of the French side.

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The next match was against the Hungarian side Szentendrei and on paper was going to be the biggest challenge of the weekend.  But the fight and determination shown by ECKC was incredible, it was great to see the team going toe to toe with Szentendrei and the 7-14 scoreline did not reflect just how closely contested the match was.

With results going our way, qualification was still in our hands as long as we could beat Kocaeli by 4 or more goals in the final group match. The game plan for this match was to keep the tempo high throughout the match in the hope that the Turkish champions would tire in the latter stages.

By half time, the tactics seemed to be working. We were almost level with Kocaeli and they had begun to show signs of frustration. Everyone played their heart out and I really couldn’t have asked for any more from the players but towards the end of the match the goals just stopped flowing for both sides and it finished 12-15 to Kocaeli.

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The final match was to play for 7/8th place and there was little difference between the two positions, but with the new Scottish season getting underway it would be a great opportunity to take some momentum back home. The match also had some British pride at stake with the opposition being Welsh champions Cardiff Raptors.

The first half was comfortable for ECKC, controlling in attack and exerting real pressure in defence but conceding a very fortuitous goal just on the stroke at half time left the score at 7-4 going into the break. With substitutes coming on, ECKC lost a little bit of fluidity and allowed Cardiff to come back into the match but the lessons learned during the earlier matches meant that there was no panic. We soon were back into a commanding lead and closed the game out well to secure a morale boosting win to finish the tournament on a high.

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The team has improved so much since the process started just over a year ago, I’m hoping that in another year’s time I’ll be saying exactly the same again!

Fund-raising plea

From Edinburgh Evening News 03 September 2016:

The players of Edinburgh City Korfball Club are hoping some funding can help them fulfil their dream of playing in the IFK Europa Cup finals in Dordrecht, Holland, early next year, The current Scottish champions are hoping to book their trip to the Continent for the tournament that runs from January 12-14 when they face three qualification matches in Cardiff later this month.

However, the Stockbridge-based club were only recently informed they must pay £640 if they are to take their place on the court in Wales in three weeks. Korfball has similarities to both basketball and netball with eight players making up a team at any one time. The squads are also of mixed gender. Player/coach Dan Pratt, who is also vice-captain of the Scottish national team, is hopeful this is an opportunity the club doesn’t let slip by.
“We’ve confirmed our place for Cardiff but the entrance fee is around £640. Taking into account the cost of accommodation, food and drink, it is quite a lot,” Pratt explained.
“We’re always looking for funding and sponsorship as a club but the entrance fee is what we’re fundraising for at the moment.
“The qualification rounds are a little bit like the group stages of the Champions League. There are two groups of four and the top two from each group will qualify for the finals and join the six other teams in Holland who have already qualified. It’s a tough group as we’ve been drawn with the champions of both France and Turkey but we’ve got a strong squad going so we’re quite hopeful.

“The latest rankings have just been published and Scotland are 17th in the world so we’ll be hoping to break into the top ten in the next few years. The club is going to be playing some of our matches at the Oriam Centre at Heriot-Watt University as well so that’s great news for us.”

Anyone willing to help reach the club’s target of £640 can do so at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/edinburgh-city-korfball