It’s been quite a while between drinks, but the 2022 National Club Championships is now in the books, with a fantastic weekend of games being held in Werribee, Victoria. This did mark the first Nationals we’ve been able to conduct since 2019, and despite such a long break, it was really pleasing to see teams from three states represented, showing there’s positive signs as Korfball continues to restart and rebuild across the country.
A huge thanks to everyone who made this tournament possible, from the players to the coaches to the referees, the supporters and the sponsors, the fact we had such support after such a long layoff can only mean good things moving forwards.
And now, without any further ado, we move into the action.
Day 1 of the B Grade competition saw each team play three round-robin games, with a clear pecking order emerging after the first round of games. Sydney looked the clear favourite, not dropping a match for the day, and playing with a level of skill and composure a step ahead of their opponents. Flinders emerged from Day 1 on second place, picking up two wins, while Scaldis were a further game back with one win. Melbourne were sitting in fourth at the end of the days graded play, only narrowly dropping some of their games against far more seasoned opposition.
Day 1 of the A Grade competition also saw each team play three round-robin games. Unfortunately, the matches started off on a sour note, with some early injuries to Melbourne making their weekend that much tougher, as they stepped up to play in their first A Grade Nationals, after winning the B Grade in 2019. Day 1 of games saw a very even competition emerging, with some surprise results seeing Arista, Flinders and Scaldis all finish the day on 2 wins apiece. Melbourne remained winless on day 1, albeit with some tight margins in some competitive showings.
Day 1 of Nationals also saw each team play a single match against an opponent from the other grade. While these games weren’t for points, they were still played in great spirits, and were a good chance to play against players and teams you might not otherwise get a chance to. The A Grade teams won all 4 of these match-ups, but not for a lack of effort on the part of the B Grade sides. The games were a great way to wrap up the first day of action.
Day 2 again saw each team play three round robin matches, before the top two teams squared off for finals. The results of each match went the same way as on day 1, although Flinders were pushed much harder by both Scaldis and Melbourne in their matches. As a result of these outcomes, Sydney finished the minor round with 6 wins, Flinders with 4, Scaldis with 2, with Melbourne extremely unlucky not to pick up a win. This meant the final would be between Sydney and Flinders.
The final went much the same way as other matches had all weekend, with Sydney showing their class early, generating plenty of great opportunities, and converting at a pretty strong clip too. It wasn’t long before Sydney ran out 17-5 winners, capping off a dominant weekend, and relegating Flinders to the silver medal.
As with the B Grade, Day 2 saw three matches apiece for the A Grade sides, before the all important final. Arista managed to win all three of their round robin matches on the Sunday, moving them into a clear first spot. Flinders and Scaldis each picked up another win, while Melbourne threw a cat amongst the pigeons in the last match of the day, knocking off Flinders to pick up their first points of the weekend, and ensure Flinders and Scaldis remained locked on points at the conclusion of the round robin matches. However, Flinders (with a healthy contingent of Boomers filling the team) made it into the final by virtue of their better goal difference. This saw Arista and Flinders face each other for the third time this weekend, with the gold medal on the line.
The final match of the weekend was absolutely deserving of the decider, with both teams playing outstanding korfball all match. Towards the end of the 40 minutes was particularly hectic, as each team in turn threatened to build a winning margin, before the other team reeled them in. Despite a flurry of late goals, the teams could not be separated, with the clock expiring with the teams locked at 13 all. As everyone was having so much fun, the tournament was extended by 10 minutes, with extra time again being needed to find a winner in an A Grade Nationals final. Flinders scored the first two goals of extra time though, and never relinquished the lead, eventually running out 19-17 winners, to bring to a close a gruelling match and tournament. Flinders picking up the gold medal, while Arista took home the silver after winning the last two Nationals in succession.
As always, all results from the weekend can be found at the National Championships hub.
Once again, thanks to everyone who made this tournament the success it was. We look forward to seeing everyone once again in 2023, so stay tuned for details of the next National Club Championships