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Heartbreak as Highbury Korfball Club fall short in promotion play-offs

Highbury Korfball Club's Ana Rocha (right) in action in the Champions Trophy. Pic: Richard Hayward Highbury Korfball Club's Ana Rocha (right) in action in the Champions Trophy. Pic: Richard Hayward

By Richard Hayward
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
1:55 PM

Swiss Cottage-based Highbury Korfball Club suffered a disappointing end to their season, losing all four of their games at the promotion play-offs.

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The Highbury korball squadThe Highbury korball squad

Highbury spent their regular season bidding to qualify from the London Regional League and earn a spot at the Champions Trophy – which they did.

But, when they finally arrived at Whitgift School in Croydon at the weekend to battle for a place in the top tier of the national pyramid, things did not go as they had hoped.

Highbury were placed in a five-team group, with the top side securing a spot in the England Korfball League, but they finished bottom, without a point, after losing against Manchester Warriors, Bristol Thunder, Cambridge Tigers and eventual winners Birmingham City.

Highbury made a promising start against Manchester, trading goals for the majority of the first half, but a few slips before the half-time whistle gave Warriors the edge going into the break.

Highbury never got into their rhythm, allowing Manchester to extend their lead to 12-5 by the end.

It was a similar story against Bristol Thunder. Highbury were not able to find the same urgency and tempo that they had shown throughout the regular season, suffering a 12-8 defeat.

The scoreline was close for much of the game but Highbury didn’t have enough in the tank to get their noses in front.

Knowing that promotion now wasn’t possible, the Reds entered the final two matches with just pride at stake.

There was a better tempo about Highbury’s play against Cambridge and they were very much in it at half-time with the score 7-5, but they ended the match 11-6 down.

The final game was against already-promoted Birmingham City, providing Highbury with their toughest test – but it was ultimately their best performance.

Right in the game until the final few minutes, Highbury set about the game with pace and verve and, with a bit more luck, they could have secured the win they craved.

Ultimately, City’s experience saw them through to a slightly flattering 9-4 win.

Topping the goalscoring charts for Highbury were Ana Rocha, Martin Petrie and Moses Hutchinson-Pascal with four goals each.

Highbury will now look to regroup over the summer before the next season starts in October.

Sunday also saw the England Korfball League grand final - won by reigning champions Trojans in an exhilarating match against Bec.

A golden extra-time goal from England international Dave Brooks saw them through despite trailing for much of the game.

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