The Eastern Preliminary encompasses London, Kent and Norwich, traditional powerhouse areas of korfball in the UK, boasting 7 of 8 premier league teams. But how will the University teams in the area fare this season….
the 1st November 2014 sees the new BUCS korfball season kick off in Scotland and the East as the first two Preliminary competitions get underway. This season, the Eastern preliminary will be contested by The University of East Anglia, The University of Kent and the University of Essex.
Essex are relative newcomers to the korfball scene, being set up by Helen Gilmore, who will be featuring for the University of Edinburgh in this season’s BUCS campaign following a decision to take University Korfball to a masters degree level. How Essex will fair in Gilmore’s absence, after she led the club with last year’s captain Jason Williams to compete in their first ever Korfball Southerns Competition last season is yet to be seen, but the building blocks are certainly there. Key to success for the blades will be a trio of returning male players. Big man Vaidas Globis will be taking to the court in a leadership role, looking to use his basketball background to dominate under the post. Club Captain Harry Phillips adds a big physical element to back up Globis in giving Essex the edge in physical battles. The blades don’t just have brawn and and will find goals through high scoring Joel Leung.
The University of Kent is a something of a mystery each year. The potential is huge given the number of local students with a propensity to know what korfball is! Known for a strong korfball heritage and traditionally strong on set pieces, Essex and UEA will need to be wary in the contact area. With a faithful following, this proud club is sure to be going for the win. Both Kent 1 and Kent 2 will gunning for top four places to progress to the next stage, with Kent 1 looking to challenge UEA 1 for the top spot.
UEA korfball come into BUCS 2014 with a truly stellar history. Undeniably a student korfball powerhouse, UEA have been crowned national champions four times since the year 2000, and have featured in a staggering 7 finals in the last fifteen years. Perhaps more importantly for this season, UEA’s second team claimed the last ever Club Championships final in March 2014, showing strength in depth is there for the club looking to get all three teams they have entered through to the second round of BUCS 2014.
UEA’s 1st team retains several players, including Nationals Top Scorer and Northerns MVP Joe Skeet, who started last year’s national championship final and they will no doubt be eager to make up for the agonizing one goal loss in the 2014 final. UEA’s second team will be led by returning captain Callum Harney, looking to build on his team’s successes from last year in the first round. UEA 3 will be full of the new talent emerging at UEA, supported by a number of experienced returning players, and looking to build a core of players for the future of UEAKC. Others will rule UEA 3 out at their peril however as league results have shown a number of players to be free scoring and brimming with confidence, Salman Saleh leading this charge.
Looking at the numbers UEA’s first team are the standout favourites for the win this weekend, but every team, UEA 2 and 3 included will be gunning to take the title of Eastern Champions 2014 from UEA’s finest. The weekend is set to be one of huge individual battles and plenty of upsets are possible!