National School Championships: The Box That Rocks 🏆
Back in April [not that long ago!] Nomads Korfball Club hosted the Sutton & Cheam School Championships with teams from Cheam Common, Cheam Park Farm, Cheam Fields, Nonsuch, Stanley Park and Green Wrythe. With 10 teams participating, Cheam Fields Primary School won the competition qualifying for the National School Finals at the iconic Copper Box Arena.
This weekend saw Nomads' Cheam Fields represent Sutton & Cheam (@ Sutton Guardian) at those National School Finals with the whole event superbly organised by England Korfball.
The team were announced to the crowd and ran-out with Captain Libby and Vice-Captain JackT, with the excitement building [video].
The first game (quarter final) was against Delce Academy of Kent & Medway and the team settled their nerves with a 7-1 win (JackT 3, Megan 1, Libby 1, Millie 1, Freddie 1, JackW, Anja, Ronnie). The team did a great job building a strong lead, which also allowed our wonderful super-subs Anja and Ronnie to join the game, and to show what they will bring in future.
On to the semi-finals we went. We knew our friendly foes Hayes School, associated with Bromley Korfball Club, as we've had many a close game with them locally, with a great coaching rivalry. This game was notable not only for our second female referee of the day, but also three female coaches between the two teams. The aim was to get off the mark quickly, and Millie did just that, scoring from our first pass of the game. A 5-1 win (JackW 2, Millie 1, Libby 1, JackT 1, Megan, Freddie, Anja, Ronnie) and the team dared to dream of the title.
We have never come up against Bradwell Village before, but we knew they had beaten 17 school teams in the Milton Keynes Youth Korfball Trustqualifying tournament and that they had set aside some strong competitors on route to the final. A nervy start saw a 0-0 deadlock maintained for a period of time.
Then Cheam Field's youngest player, Year5 JackW, stepped up to cooly convert two consecutive shots into two goals and the team were off the mark. As time ticked on we scored more goals but Bradwell Village did start to come back at us .... however, at 7-3 (JackW 2, JackT 2, Libby 2, Millie 1), substitutes Megan, Freddie, Anja and Ronnie joined the Cheam Fields contingent in the crowd in counting down the final seconds ....10, 9 ...3, 2, 1 Wow.
We are super-proud of the children as they attended extra training sessions to prepare for these finals and they did not let the occasion stop them from showing what they are capable of. They also responded to starting line-ups and substitutes with a really great attitude.
Our Captain Libby showed leadership as she selflessly added to her often lead attacker role to show her rounded skills in assisting and rebounding (scoring from these positions too). Vice-Captain JackT looked shocked to have been our top goal-scorer, but was also a machine, intercepting passes up and down the pitch. Millie and Megan made it impossible for coaches to pick between them, as both their defense and attack was so strong and they're now taking long shots with ease. Freddie fought his way into the squad over the past few months with a dogged determination, and was rewarded with a goal at the Copperbox (could easily have been more!). Anja and Ronnie showed immense maturity in driving their team forward from the bench and playing with confidence when receiving a surprise call up to the pitch. And JackW .... strong, committed, tireless, scoring exactly when we needed him in the final ... he is our coaches' MVP.
The team scored 19 goals in 45 mins, playing 3 consecutive matches without fading.
After a short break (and a promotional play-off senior game), the team were loudly announced to the Copperbox ... Nomads' Cheam Fields Primary School are National Schools Korfball Champions!!! The children were presented with medals each and a trophy for the school cabinet.
Our thanks to the teachers at Cheam Fields for their support and to the Nomads volunteers and coaches - including our on the day coaching team of Claire Millett and Cara Allan (not to mention the indispensable year-round Brian Carswell).
Another extremely well done to England Korfball and to all the referees, desk jury, equipment shifters, and other volunteers.
We very much look forward to continuing to work with our local schools. With all but JackW moving up to U13s after the Summer, Nomads will be looking - as always - to get the building blocks in place with a Year 4/U9 program. If your child is interested in playing, we welcome beginners from School Years 3-7, please email firstname.lastname@example.org