On the weekend of the 25th of January, Northern Storm headed up to Scotland for the 2014 Edinburgh International Korfball Tournament. With 26 top level teams from 4 different countries playing, it was set up to be a baptism of fire for the 6-month-old club, but optimism was high and we were looking forward to creating a few upsets!
Saturday morning we arrived early to check out the opposition and get fired up for our first match against the University of East Anglia. The match got off to a flying start as 2 quick Kyle Crombie goals caught UEA off guard and allowed Storm to surge into the lead. This unfortunately shocked the strong UEA team into a response. They stepped up their intensity and punished a few errors to eventually run out 5-2 winners. Edinburgh City were next in line, and they got off to a quick start taking an early 2-0 lead. Storm then locked the defence down, but were unable to build on this in attack with the score remaining the same until full time. The next opposition was Edinburgh Uni 2nds (Bbz), and Storm were out for revenge following last month’s matches. Kyle Crombie scored a lovely long shot to get things started, but then Bbz scored a penalty and a long shot of their own to take the lead. Everyone could sense that the next goal would be crucial and a period of intense pressure followed with strong attacks coming from both teams. Unfortunately Bbz made the breakthrough to pull clear. A last minute penalty from Ben Smith wasn’t enough to bring Storm back into it and the final whistle went at 3-2. Despite the slow start, Storm’s performances had been growing in both quality and confidence, so the day’s final match against Manchester Warriors 2 was eagerly anticipated. The defence was high pressure throughout, giving Warriors no room to work in and conceding only once. In attack Mary Clarke showed lightning pace to leave her defender and score a running-in shot, and Kyle Crombie hit form to rain in 3 more goals of his own to give Storm a commanding 4-1 victory and get their first win of the weekend!
Sunday morning was accompanied by an air of excitement, as Storm looked to carry their performance into the next round of matches. The first match was against St Andrews University. The two teams were very tightly matched throughout. Saints scored first, but Kyle Crombie quickly stepped in to level the match. Storm continued to press till the very end, but despite many well worked chances from Mary Clarke and Anthony Mannall, neither team was able to find a winner. In the next match Storm showed how much they’ve developed through the tournament as they held out a strong Nottingham University team. The defence were focused and high energy and the attack was fluid and created a lot of shooting opportunities. In the end only one goal from Kyle Crombie was needed, as Storm took a 1-0 win. Storm’s defence continued to impress in the next match against Dundee where they again completely locked the opposition out, refusing to concede anything. The attack was incredibly well organised, to a level expected of a fully developed team, rather than a fledging club in its first year! And after multiple chances to take the lead, Anthony Mannall stepped up to score a long shot and give Storm another 1-0 victory. The final group game saw Storm take on Glasgow for a place in the 17th/18th positional match. Despite having lots of shots and excellent movement in attack, they were unable to find the korf and slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat. Storms positional match to round off the weekend was against Oxford City. Clearly tired from a long weekend, Storm’s defence was weary and Oxford punished them to take a 4-1 victory, with only a Ben Smith running-in shot rewarding a still highly driven attack.
Despite finishing 22nd, Northern Storm’s passion, energy and sportsmanship clearly had an impact on the other teams as they voted to award Storm the Team Spirit Award for 2014. A great way to announce our arrival on the international stage! And we’re already looking forward to next year.
EIKT Team Spirit Trophy Winners 2014
Finishing position – 22nd out of 26
Won – 3, Drew – 1, Lost – 5
Kyle Crombie x 8
Ben Smith x 2
Mary Clarke x 1
Anthony Mannall x 1