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Sports Editor Matthew Ferriday talks about the Dutch sport Korfball and why you should take notice!

There are certain sports that the average person tends to know a little about, such as rugby, football or cricket. Such sports as these have huge international followings and a well-established culture. But a great thing about humans, they never seem satisfied with what they have, therefore amazingly there are more sports that exist outside of the mainstream. As anybody who understands the stupidity of what made people popular in school, popularity isn’t always the sole indication of quality, not to say football, rugby or cricket are lacking quality, just that there is quality in sports that you may have missed out on.


As a lover of sport in general, there is a sense of duty I feel in spreading the word of these lesser-known sports, to make sure that none our fine readers miss out. For my search, I have decided to start close to home, and a friend of mine (alumni of this fine institution) once told me of Korfball, a sport he enjoyed very much in his time here. Therefore, I believe I will shine the light of the SCAN sports section on this noble pursuit.


Korfball is a sport set up to be similar to netball and basketball but is a mixed-gender sport. Teams comprise of eight players, four girls and four boys. Its origins lie in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. Specifically, it was created in 1901 by a Dutch schoolmaster named Nico Broekhuysen and came into practice in 1902. Since then it has grown in popularity, spreading through Europe and eventually to non-European countries. A reason we don’t see Korfball WAG’s in the magazines just yet is most likely the lack of Olympic status. Although it has been displayed at the Olympics, it is not yet an official sport. Being a part of the Olympic program would most likely increase skill level, awareness, and funding of Korfball.


I had the pleasure of first watching it in my first year when my previously mentioned friend returned to play a tournament being held by the university. My impression was it is definitely a sport that doesn’t disappoint; it matches the intensity of both netball and basketball, yet stands out as its own sort of competition and fun. It is a non-contact sport as many sports claim to be, but those who would suggest basketball is actually non-contact may want a different colour other than rose for their glasses. I would say it is closer to netball’s idea of “non-contact” but slightly more intense. In terms of scoring, Korfball has ample enough range to get the heart pumping; some of the shots that go in really do drop the jaw. A unique dynamic to the game is the placement of the basket (known as the “korf”) on the court. It is a few metres off the perimeter of the court, allowing space for movement behind the basket. This gives the game its own unique form of strategic movements, passing and shooting.


Overall I think it’s a very enjoyable and accessible sport. It provides a diversity of roles for those who may want to play and plenty of excitement for those who may like to watch. I think the sport would benefit well from investment and deserves a bit more attention. As a lover of sport, it is always a good day for me when I discover a new game, and this was one worth discovering. You could discover it too, just search Lancaster Korfball or find it in the society’s page on the SU’s site.

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