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The end of the Lent Term witnesses the climax of the season for the Korfball club as national university standings and the North West regional Korfball league are settled. The graduation of 80% of last year’s league winning squad has brought about a period of regeneration for the club with a new group of players brought together this academic year to push for successes over the next two seasons. Inevitably the results of matches have varied significantly since the autumn, as the new management of Jonathon Parton and Jay Patel have sought to develop new players and existing members of the squad. Individually, these efforts have proven fruitful.
Freshers, such as Becca McKenny and Lucy Wooldridge, have quickly developed fundamental defensive and attacking skills. The likes of Alex Whittam and Mary Lee, both in their second year, have become accomplished players and, in recent weeks, have put in impressive performances against more senior players from other clubs.
On top of this, final year students such as Kate Skellern and James Whitehead – who had limited opportunities last year – have quickly adapted as important senior members of the first team.
A team of mixed experience won two, drew one and lost three at a recent tournament for teams from across Britain hosted at Leeds University. Emily Hancox, a final year student, was voted the team’s player of the tournament during a tough day in which the squad faced players capped at England U21 level. The next day, a similarly experienced team was unfortunate to go down 6-2 to Manchester Hawks (a team of graduates from Leeds and Manchester) in the North West league, George Lincoln and Patel picking up Lancaster’s goals either side of half time.
Most recently, this past weekend saw Lancaster triumph over a Manchester University 2 side 7-3, with goals from Hancox, Patel, Whitehead and a first of the season for Alice Marshall.
The club are currently placed fifth, mid-table, in the North West league and will be seeking to consolidate a place in the top half with five fixtures remaining. On the March 26 the club shall feature amongst 20 teams in the final inter-university tournament of the season at Bristol University for the Second Team Nationals. Here, the club hope to finish the season strongly and signal the regeneration of the team with a view to success in the next academic year.
Prior to this, the club will be sending members to trial for the British student squad as well as a British freshers development team; a recognition of the improved performances of individuals within the squad throughout this season.