England Korfball Grand Finals 2023
Sunday saw the culmination of the 2022/23 National League season, with our top 4 teams battling it out to secure their placings, and teams vying for promotion. A fantastic display of top level Korfball was witnessed by over 400 spectators at UEA SportsPark.
The semi finals had left Tornadoes and Norwich Knights fighting for third place, after their defeats to Trojans and Bec respectively. Before the match, we caught up with Tornadoes captain, Owen Bailey about the season and what his team were looking to get out of the 3rd/4th playoff.
After a tight first half, Tornadoes held a 3 goal advantage, which they cemented into a 27-16 victory with a dominant second half display. Post match, Dan Brown talked to us about Tornadoes’ aspirations for next year, while Josh Rowe of Norwich Knights, paid complements to the aggression and energy Tornadoes had shown in closing out the victory.
Promo Division Final
Semi Final victories over Harrow and Nottingham saw the fight for promotion take place between Cardiff and Highbury. Pre Match, we spoke to Kris Banham, player-coach of Cardiff City, on what he expected from the highly anticipated encounter. Tom Holland, assistant coach of Highbury, offered his thoughts on what Highbury needed to do to get over the line and back to the top flight of English korfball.
Highbury led by 1 at the break after a tight first half, and after an even closer second period, hung on to take the match 17-16. Cardiff fought admirable, as player coach Kris Banham referred to in his emotional post match interview. It is the first time Cardiff had got to the Promo final and Kris highlighted how proud he was of his team’s season to get this far. Highbury ,however, had been here before and have found themselves on the losing side. This was redemption for Steph Watson’s side, and she spoke to us on how the team push forward for next year. 10 goal hero Fabian Mastenbroek was whisked away from celebrations to tell us how he produced the goods to seal Highbury’s victory.
The Grand Final
The Big One. Trojans vying for their 14th consecutive national title. Bec, so many times the silver medallists, searching for their 1st victory. Before the game, Neala Brennan, Trojans and England legend, spoke to us about the tough road to the final and how, maybe, they had hit form at the right time. John Denton, Bec coach, commented on his confidence in his side’s ability to deliver and take that final step.
The first half saw a dominant Bec display, where they pulled out a 5 goal lead. However, they had been ahead by more in previous finals and knew the fight that Trojans still possessed. And fight Trojans did. A clinical second half from the 13-time national champions saw the score tied 24-24 at the end of normal time.
Golden goal followed, with Trojans in possession. But a great rebound from Bec and a long range shot from Rachel Turner ended the reign of Trojans and gave Bec their first title.
Our post match interviews showed the great level of respect between the two sides. The Brooks’ brothers paid huge homage to Bec’s stalwart players. Davesh Patel and Rachel Turner labelled the Trojans’ players as the ‘professionals’, referring to their winning mentality. Celebrations for Bec ran on, with many travelling supporters seeing the side win their first National League title.