Travelling to their very first tournament, the Sydney City Redbacks upset the odds to claim a hard-fought 2nd Place at the ‘Adelaide Summer Classic’.
As newcomers to the Australian Korfball scene, SCRKC were viewed by many as underdogs to the experienced and established Adelaide clubs. However on the back of an impressive victory in the ‘Battle-of-NSW’ against Kellyville, the team was full of belief that they could make an impression. Under the guiding influence of Captain Clinton, the optimism was proven not to be misplaced as The Redbacks put in a string of tremendous performances in a run that led all the way to the final.
Guys: Rob Allen, Clinton Bryan-Mathieson (C), Neil Hayes, Graham Morris
Girls: Zoe Bennett, Sarah Higginson, Hannah North, Gemma Pratt, Meena Subramanyam, Genevieve Ward
Chief Supporter / Notetaker: Swa Mistry
Group Match 1: Sydney City Redbacks 5-1 North Adelaide
Scorers: Clinton (2), Zoe, Gemma, Sarah
The first match for the Redbacks saw them take on a North Adelaide side under the blazing morning sun. Eager to get off to a good start, the Redbacks made the better start with Neil, Hannah, Clinton and Zoe going close early on. With Rob dominating the collect at the defensive end it was only a matter of time before Sydney took the lead as Zoe scored a running-in shot from Clinton’s pass. The lead was doubled soon after as the roles reversed and Clinton finished it off nicely. Gemma came on in the second half and instantly made an impact making it 3-0 with a beautiful runner before a sharp give-and-go between Sarah and Graham gave Sarah the opportunity to slot home for the fourth. Clinton then gave the Redbacks a 5-0 lead before the clean sheet was marred late on. Nonetheless, the 5-1 victory was a terrific to start the day.
Group Match 2: Sydney City Redbacks 10-4 Arista A
Scorers: Gemma (3), Neil (2), Clinton (2), Zoe, Gen, Graham
Keen to follow up the first win with another success, the Redbacks made a solid start as they traded goals with Arista A. Neil and Gemma twice levelled it up in the early stages with a nice swivel under the korf and a short range shot respectively. Zoe then gave Sydney the lead with a great runner, although unfortunately got injured in the act of scoring, spraining her ankle in the follow through. Lying on the ground, Zoe was initially more concerned with whether she had scored than if she could walk! However, despite Zoe being forced off the pitch the Redbacks continued to increase their lead. A second goal from Neil, in addition to goals from Gen and Graham put them in a commanding position with spectacular shooting from Gemma moving the score to 8-3. Clinton rounded off the Redbacks scoring with a quickfire double as match finished 10-4 to move Sydney to the top of the table.
Group Match 3: Sydney City Redbacks 5 -5 Glenelg
Scorers: Graham (2), Sarah, Gen
After two superb performances, the first signs of fatigue appeared for the Redbacks as they played their second match in succession. A superb running in shot by Sarah (whilst being fouled) was the only highlight in a lacklustre first half performance against Glenelg as Sydney slipped to a 4-1 deficit. Just when required, an inspirational half time team talk by Captain Clinton seemed to reinvigorate the Redbacks with Clinton himself leading by example as he pulled one back from the penalty spot. Some outstanding interceptions from Neil kept it tight in defence as two drop off shots from Graham then drew the Redbacks level. A speedy attack by Glenelg saw them retake the lead as the match entered the final minutes. With seconds remaining on the clock however, Gen kept her cool to slot in the equalising goal which sparked wild celebrations in the Redbacks ranks. The late goal by Gen epitomising the fighting spirit of the Redbacks and securing a 5-5 draw that their second half performance deserved.
Group Match 4: Sydney City Redbacks 7-6 Arista B
Scorers: Gen (2), Graham (2), Gemma, Neil, Clinton
After a one match rest, the Redbacks were feeling good going into the match against Arista B. Playing some outstanding korfball, the Redbacks saw a number of shots bounce off the basket in the first half. Fortunately, goals from the reliable Gen and Gemma in addition to a runner from Graham saw Sydney go into the half time break level at 3-3. In the second half, the scores remained close as a short range shot by Graham, a swift running-in shot by Neil and another fantastic shot by Gen saw the Redbacks into a narrow lead. As time was running out Clinton kept his cool, and his 100% record from the penalty spot, as he slotted home what would be the winning goal.
Group Match 5: Sydney City Redbacks 4-9 Boomers
Scorers: Graham (3), Clinton
In the fifth game of the day, the top two in the Table put their unbeaten record on the line as the Redbacks took on the Boomers. Despite the searing heat and the worn bodies, the game started at a frenetic pace with 10 goals in the first half. Unfortunately tired minds and momentary lapses in concentration saw the Redbacks concede 7, whilst only scoring 3 in reply as Graham and Clinton finished some nice team moves to keep them in the game. After the half-time break, the minds were sharp but the bodies no longer able as sharp-shooter Gen became the second casualty of the day. The game finished 9-4 to the Boomers, but with a touch more discipline and less penalties conceded, it could have been a whole lot closer.
Final Sydney City Redbacks 4-8 Boomers
Scorers: Graham (2), Meena, Hannah
With the loss in the fifth group match, the Redbacks ended up in a tie for second and a place in the final. Although an inferior goal difference to Glenelg meant that Sydney should have missed out, a controversial decision saw Glenelg omitted for fielding an ineligible team and the reluctant Redbacks take to the field.
Hoping to make amends for the previous defeat in a rematch against the Boomers, the Redbacks set their sights on the cherished trophy displayed pitch-side. The team started well with some good attacks as Hannah and Neil went close. However it was the Boomers who struck first, taking a 2-0 lead with successive attacks. A superb attack from Sydney involving Rob, Sarah and Graham culminated with Meena converting a nice shot from the back to get the Redbacks on the scoreboard. A drop-off from Graham made it 2 for Sydney but it wasn’t enough and the half time score of 5-2 meant some more second half heroics were required. With weariness showing heavily due to having no subs and players searching for shade in the corner of the court, the play slowed in the second half. A nifty move and shot from Hannah saw her grab a well-deserved goal before Graham added a fourth for the Redbacks. It wasn’t enough though as the Boomers demonstrated their superiority as they powered to an 8-4 victory to lift the cup.
The Redbacks were not disheartened though – celebrating an amazing 2nd place with a beer straight after the final whistle. It was a great team performance throughout the day with some exceptional play and left the team eagerly awaiting their next fixture. With more training, more experience and more subs, the Redbacks will surely be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming National Championships in June.
Thanks for a fantastic tournament and see you all in June!