With a mixed squad of experience, inexperience and complete beginners, the Redbacks put in some great performances in the B grade competition of the Australian National Championships. The improvement, both individually and as a team, from the first match to the last was astonishing and the future looks bright for Korfball in Sydney.
With many players looking forward to their first ever korfball matches, combined with some good experience in the ranks, the Redbacks travelled to Melbourne unsure of what the tournament had in store. An incredible performance in their first match got SCRKC off to a flying start but the strength in depth of the Adelaide and Melbourne based teams shone through as, despite some more strong showings, the Redbacks lost out in the remainder of the games.
Guys: Blake Alexander, Gary Barth, Ben Gibbs, Steve Gilchrist, Tom Newton
Girls: Illa Coene, Sarah Higginson, Hannah North, Lucy McGrath, Meena Subramanyam, Genevieve Ward
Sydney City Redbacks 6 – 5 Arista
Scorers: Gen (2), Lucy, Sarah, Ben, Illa
With the warm-up complete and team talk out the way, and the players pumped and ready to go, the Redbacks wasted no time in taking the fight to Arista. After a couple of pacy attacks, Gen made the break-through with a short range shot to get SCRKC up and running for the tournament. The scores were soon level at 1-1 before the division of Lucy, Sarah, Ben and Tom got in their stride, going close with a number of shots and running-in opportunities before Lucy scored a nice shot and Sarah executed a textbook veer shot to make it 3-1. Arista pulled a goal back before Gen got her second of the game with an opportune goal from under the basket. Into the second half, Ben kept the momentum with the Redbacks as he nailed a medium range shot. The three goal lead was short-lived however as Arista got back into the match with two quickfire goals. Illa calmed the nerves though with a solid 4m shot to make it 6-4. That turned out to be the crucial goal as the Arista scored the last goal of the game but Sydney managed to hang on for the win.
Sydney City Redbacks 1 – 8 Glenelg
Confidence from the first match was high, especially given Arista’s strong showing in the opening A-grade match. Unfortunately, the Redbacks goal streak dried up as despite some great attacking moves and several shots going close, Glenelg seemed to have put a lid on the korf. The lack of experience was beginning to tell and it wasn’t until 7 down that Lucy finally got Sydney on the scoreboard with a lovely shot. Although Glenelg were worthy winners, the final score-line of 8-1 was harsh on Sydney who matched them in every aspect apart from getting the shots to sink.
Sydney City Redbacks 6 – 7 BMMKA
Scorers: Illa (3), Tom, Meena, Gen
After the disappointment from the previous match, SCRKC looked to bounce back with a win over BMMKA. Early on, Tom showed his strength in collect and reacted first to score a drop-off and put Sydney in the lead. Melbourne levelled before Meena scored a short range shot to regain the advantage which Illa then extended, smashing in a shot from the sideline. The lead didn’t last until half time however as some slack defence allowed Melbourne to draw level once more. Straight after half time, the Redbacks were again in the lead as Steve and Illa combined to get another. Sydney though, began to panic in possession and force the play as well as displaying some lapses of concentration in defence. This led to a streak of 4 goals in a row from Melbourne taking the score to 7-4. It wasn’t until the call of ‘1-minute left’ that the Redbacks got going again, Illa managing to get her third of the game and Gen scoring a running in shot to make it 7-6. The late surge was in vain though as the final whistle was blown and Sydney were left ruing their up and down performance. There were many positives to take into Sunday and build on though.
Sydney City Redbacks 1 – 8 Boomers
Knowing that both Boomers and North Adelaide were unbeaten in their first three matches, the Redbacks knew they had a tough task on Sunday – not made any easier by the Sambuca antics the previous evening. Sydney took the lead in the opening moments however as Illa scored her fifth of the tournament. It turned out the Redbacks only goal of the game as despite a hard fought performance with great rebounding from Blake and Tom, superb defence from Hannah and persistent hustling and interceptions from Ben, the shots refused to drop and the Redbacks succumbed to an 8-1 defeat.
Sydney City Redbacks 3 – 13 North Adelaide
Scorers: Steve (2), Gary
In the Redbacks last match of the tournament, the opening stages were a tight affair as Steve nailed a veer shot in reply to a couple of North Adelaide goals. North Adelaide edged ahead further before Gary scored with a quick catch and shot. A horrible looking injury to one of the opposition players then forced North Adelaide to play with 7 for the remainder of the match – something that the inexperienced Redbacks took time to adapt to. In the second half, Tom and Gary mastered the art of defending the single boy and Steve scored Sydney’s third of the game.
The final score of 13-3 belied Sydney’s overall performance as an excellent all round showing in the match capped off what was a fantastic first nationals for SCRKC. The rate of improvement of all the players over the weekend was phenomenal with many lessons learned from the hard gameplay. Having had a taste of victory in the first match, the team will feel a little disappointed not to have maintained the winning touch throughout the tournament. However with the massive improvement and a year to the next nationals, 2014 might just be Sydney’s year!