I travelled across to Drachten in the Netherlands on Wednesday 27th June. I left Norwich at 6am and travelled by coach and ferry, arriving at 10pm. We camped outside the sportshall in tents and slept on army beds which I found reasonably comfortable!
Thursday consisted of the official opening ceremony where teams were in two minds whether to run onto the pitch or walk when their names were announced. England walked on whereas Catalonia ran on. Afterwards, all the countries took part in a joint training session which was led by an experienced Netherlands coach who taught us some important skills needed to play Korfball.
After dinner it was the shooting competition where our coaches paired us up (one girl and one boy) and we had to take turns shooting into opposite posts against another pair. We played 5 games before waiting to see if we’d made it into the next stage. A Cambridge girl and I got to the quarter finals before being narrowly knocked out by two Dutch girls who went on to be the runners up.
On Friday we had a second joint training session which was led by another Netherlands coach who didn’t speak quite as good English as the first coach; we did a few more practice 4 on 4 games that let us see how people played. However, as it was only a training session you could never be sure if people were giving it their all, but it still gave you a reasonably good idea. After that we went on a city trip which gave us a chance to socialise with the other teams while trying to find certain buildings. We returned and had dinner, then competed in a mixed tournament, where there were two of each country in each team. Our team won the C pool, so we got a chocolate medal!
Saturday was the official tournament and I was in England’s B team in pool B, in which we played all the other B teams of the other countries: Hungary 2, Portugal 2, Catalonia 2, Germany 2 and Netherlands club team KV Drachten.
The tournament was played as “Korfball 4” (only four players on each team with no halfway line on a 20m x 12m pitch), inside in a sportshall specific to Korfball and with two halves, of ten minutes each.
The first match we played was against Hungary in which we won 9-3 and I scored 1 goal and 1 penalty.
The second game was against Catalonia, Spain where we won 13-2 and I scored 1 penalty.
In the third game we had to play against KV Drachten. We fought well but lost 7-9, the Dutch long shots proving superior.
The fourth game was against Germany, where we won 6-3 and I scored 1 penalty. The final game was against Portugal, who were very physical, and we were unlucky to lose 8-9, but I did score a long shot.
Overall, England A and England B came 3rd. I think it was very successful, even if there were some dodgy refereeing decisions and some bad sportsmanship from Portugal (throwing the ball away with a few seconds left)!
Before we left Drachten on Sunday we played an 8v8 match against Hungary (and a few Dutch) which we won convincingly. I finally returned home at 3am on Monday 2nd July.
I was glad to get home, after having to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch for 4 days (sandwiches with sprinkles, salami, cheese and the occasional apple and breakfast bar)! It was a wonderful experience and I think my gameplay skills have improved as well as my game awareness.
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