On Saturday the 22nd November, Lancaster plays host to the BUCS North Preliminary round. This sees five teams from two universities, three from Manchester and two from Lancaster, compete to make it into the regional round of the competition. This event, the first of its kind in the North, is the start of a new look Korfball journey for both clubs as they hope to bring back those all-important BUCS points to the north-west.
Last year saw Manchester do well in the competition finishing an impressive 10th at Nationals. Their first team also saw success in the Central England Regional League 2 coming fourth overall. However, after the loss of a number of key players from their first team, Manchester have found the going tougher this year. Currently without a win in CERL2 they’ll be looking towards prelims as a chance to kick-start their season back to winning ways.
Aside from their first team, Manchester will also be entering both a second and third team into the competition. Both teams currently play in the North West League, with Manchester 2 competing in the top half of the league, whilst Manchester 3 (although without a win currently) continue to put in promising performances on a weekly basis.
Lancaster had a mixed bag of results last year. Whilst “team almost” ended up coming 15th at Nationals last year after missing out on the top 8 on goal difference, the first team saw success in the league. Winning every game in the North West League they then went on to secure their promotion to CERL2 with a good performance in the playoffs. This season, Lancaster 1 are currently holding their own in the big leagues, currently sitting third in CERL2.
Lancaster will also be sending their second team out to play on Saturday. Lancaster 2 impressed last year, winning the bottom half of the North West League and coming 8th in Club Championships. This year’s squad, whilst initially struggling for goals, seem to have found their shooting form putting 8 past Hawks 2 (but unfortunately also letting in 13).
The healthy rivalry between the two clubs will only be fuelled by recent results. Lancaster 1 recently demolished Manchester 1 23-6 in CERL 2 and Manchester will be looking to have their revenge. Conversely, a few weeks ago Manchester 2 came out 4-0 victors over Lancaster 2 and the Lancastrians will be hoping to rectify this, whilst Manchester 3 only lost by a single goal last time they played Lancaster 2.
In conclusion, Saturday’s event will showcase korfing talent from both Manchester and Lancaster Universities. Providing a competitive learning experience for all players, it’s important to stress that this is not all fun and games. Only four teams can progress to regional’s, with one having to settle for entry into the National Plate. It’s all to play for!