Interview with Trojans’ captain Dave Brooks
He has scored winning goals, won European titles and has nine England Korfball League crowns to his name, but Dave Brooks doesn’t get carried away and is as focused as ever on bringing Trojans their tenth successive championship on 6th-7th May.
“I don’t personally, read too much into the build up. I just enjoy playing and the whole team do not really allow the occasion to affect them. It’s just another game of korfball that we must win.”
It is that kind of focus, and a great deal of hard work, that has brought Trojans so much success. That coupled with a core group of players who have stuck together since under-16 level.
Dave started playing korfball around the age of eight for the now defunct Warlingham KC.
Drawn into the sport via his family, he played and trained alongside his brothers and cousins back then. When the club was winding down, Trojans offered a lifeline and many of the Warlingham youngsters joined Trojans (when Dave was around 13).
The first big success came at under-16 level, when Trojans won the BKA Cup. Which Dave recalls: “The cup was a big deal back then. The same ‘core group’ of players have continued to stick together and are still playing now. We went on to win the under-23s for a few years which led into quite a few of our players being selected for England. A lot of hard work went into those years.
“We kept training and playing together and the more we trained and played, the better we got. My brother, Matt and I did a lot of our own practice with a post in the garden. It’s that training all the time that has really helped us improve.”
“There was lot of pressure to stay up”
Dave broke into the Trojans first team when he was around 16. However despite having some of the best female players in the country, the club wasn’t the force it is now and they were struggling to keep their place in the England Korfball League. The season went down to a relegation playoff with Nottingham, after Trojans finished second bottom.
Dave recalled the importance of the game: “There was lot of pressure to stay up, more pressure than we have now! However we won the game and that gave us a lot of confidence, and because we were young we carried on getting better as a team.”
The following couple of years saw Trojans in the middle of the table, but Dave broke into the international set-up, and was selected for the Great Britain team at the 2005 World Games in Germany.
Dave recalls: “Going away and training with the international set-up and being exposed to different coaching and different levels really helped our players to get better, and that really did show in the domestic league with our results improving.”
The improved results were clear to see, which culminated in Trojans winning the Europa Shield in the 2006/07 season – this would be the start of a winning run for the club.
“We enjoyed that feeling of being the best team in the league”
The 2007/08 season would be a memorable one for Trojans – clinching their first ever England Korfball title at the final match of the season against Mitcham.
Although it was a frustrating year for Dave as he spent much of it injured, he did though make it back onto the pitch in time for the end of the season.
Dave said: “We had a lot of energy and hunger to win. We enjoyed that feeling of being the best team in the league. The idea of getting into the Europa Cup and playing against the best players was a real motivation for us.”
“We play for each other”
Dave says the motivation to keep playing and keep winning is simple. “We play for each other, we train hard and motivate each other at training. You get out of training what you put in.”
“It is that understanding that pushes the team to raise the bar. The standard of the league is improving, which also pushes us; we know everyone wants to win as badly as we do.”
“Our extra motivation this year is to go back to the Europa Cup and win the bronze again – doing a double would be great. But we’re not talking about that yet as we don’t want to get carried away. We always just take it one game at a time, our first game is against Kingfishers so we’ll be concentrating on that.”
Dave knows they will need to be at their best again. He said: “The four teams are all very strong and history has shown us that these teams can definitely beat each other. It’s one hour, on the day, if you play badly for that hour, you’ll lose.”
“There is going to be more atmosphere there this year so there could be more pressure on the players. But I’m looking forward to that.”
Watch Dave and Trojans defending their title at K2 in Crawley on 6th-7th May. Click here to buy your tickets.