World Games Korfball Finals Roundup
The final day has arrived in Wroclaw for the korfball tournament. Today, the medals are up for the taking for The Netherlands, Taiwan, Belgium and Germany. For the others, it’s their honor at stake for one last time during the World Games.
Great Britain – Poland
We start with Great Britain against hosts Poland for seventh and eighth place. Not the game Great Britain came for to play this day, but their losses against Germany and China brought them here. Two narrow losses which mean this tournament turned out to be a little bit disappointing for the Brits, even though they played rather well during some games. For Poland it is the last chance to get a win. For them, this tournament is rather successful, as they showed progress compared to the last European Championships in Dordrecht. Though still without a win, their game improved, which is good to see.
It turns out to start as a very nice game. Poland boldly takes the lead and they constantly give Great Britain a run for their money. It takes a dumb mistake of Krzysztof Rubinkowski to get Britain the lead, late in the first quarter at 7-6. Quarter two starts with four goals in three minutes, but then we have to wait until the last second for the fifth. Great Britain scores four eventually and is in control of this game. Poland scores only one, so this gives us a 11-7 half time score. For Britain, Neala Brennan scores three and with this she has the biggest contribution so far, together with Joseph Bedford.
In the second half, Poland simply can’t keep up with Great Britain. The Brittish men take over most of the scoring and after thirty minutes, Britain leads 22-13 with captain Joseph Bedford leading the pack. Poland has a strong finish of the tournament though, winning the final quarter 3-5, but all in all it is Great Britain securing a deserved 25-18 win over the hosts of this tournament. MVP for today is Blake Palfreyman. Not for his scoring today, even though he has three, but mainly for his pressing defending, resulting in three blocks.
China – Australia
This is a rematch of one of the most exciting games of last week. Earlier this tournament, Australia won over China with a 23-25 score after forty intense minutes. This was considered an upset, but Australia has spoken out they came here for fifth place and they are well on their way securing the best position in Australian korfball. For China this is a chance for revenge and after their win yesterday over Great Britain, it is possible that they will carry their good form over to today. And that is exactly what they do.
Even though Australia initially leads 0-2, China comes back and inspired by a very spirited performance by Jingyi Yin, China leads 6-4 after ten minutes. The second quarter shows no difference. Also ending in 6-4, China lead at half time with 12-8 and they have every right to lead.
The beginning of the second half, Australia looks to close the gap when Ashlee Othen scores two fast goals to get Australia back in the game. Jessica May scores as well and at 12-11, the game is fully open again, but China keeps their heads cool and after thirty minutes, the gap is four again at 16-12.
The final quarter was one to watch. Australia got completely back into the game, all the way back to 17-17. Just when you would expect them to take over the lead and win the match, Jungyi Yin and Yongbin Zhang determine the final score at 19-17, meaning Australia finishes sixth and China finishes fifth. After a slow start of the tournament, China really grew these past few days. MVP Jingyi Yin played a crucial role in this hard fought victory.
Belgium – Germany
Belgium for third place. That’s something we don’t see every day. They lost against Taiwan and are now facing a Germany side, for which the tournament must already be successful. Belgium needs to pick themselves up and if they can do that, Germany will have a difficult game on their hands. However, they proved to be a tough team to beat and they will play for every chance they will get. For Belgium, Korfball Hero Brent Struyf is not playing. He did not make the trip to the venue, as he is still ill.
In the first ten minutes it is Belgium controlling the game, With Jesse de Bremaeker scoring the same amount as the complete German side. Quickly after the break at 7-3, Yami Amorgaste receives a yellow card, but that doesn’t stop Belgium to keep dominating. When we reach half time at 15-6, Belgium can already smell the bronze and Jesse de Bremaeker is well on his way securing the tournaments top scorers title, scoring six in the first half.
Regarding the third quarter, we’ll just say that Belgium extended their lead to 19-7, as it was quite subpar from both sides. Our hopes are set on the last quarter to see some more action. Unfortunately, there is none. Belgium comfortably cruises to a 24-9 win. In the last minute, Jesse de Bremaeker and Nick Jannsens are substituted for applause as they will retire from international korfball with this bronze medal. MVP for this game is Jari Hardies, standing up in the second half, when some other players don’t and helping De Bremaeker to seven goals, while also scoring four himself.
The Netherlands – Taiwan
Even though The Netherlands has not showed their A game yet this tournament, their road to the final was one without any big problems. They are the best team, having the best players, but don’t underestimate Taiwan in this game. They showed great korfball this tournament and they deserve the spot next to the Dutch, fighting for gold.
What stands out in the first quarter is the excellent defending by both teams. Almost no shot is made without pressure and that’s where the technical capabilities of the Dutch come in. They lead 7-3 after ten minutes and also in the second quarter, The Netherlands is the better team. Against the well defending Taiwanese, the Dutch men are still able to score shots from distance, where for Taiwan the finishing is not that great. They have to work too hard to get just a little bit space and when they have it, they cannot convert enough. The gap at half time already seems too big at 13-7 for Taiwan to seriously get back into the game.
In the second half, The Netherlands create even more distance between them and Taiwan. With the 20-9 score after half an hour, the Dutch are already certain they will get the gold. Bring on the fireworks. With substitutions on both sides, the game still has some goals for us and even though the real spark wasn’t there anymore, especially in defense the Dutch played a good game. Taiwan did not really have a chance and will have to settle for silver, which is a great achievement in itself, seeing this was the first ever final they played. The game ends in a clear 26-14 win for the Dutch and with this, they prolong their title at the World Games.
With Richard Kunst, we have our final MVP. Good allround performance him, as well for some others, who could have easily taken his spot..