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Highbury Korfball Club suffer late defeat after valiant effort against Trojans

15:29 04 March 2014

Hans van Andel scored a hat-trick in his first appearance for Highbury

Hans van Andel scored a hat-trick in his first appearance for Highbury's first team

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Swiss Cottage-based Highbury Korfball Club came within minutes of a famous victory over Trojans II in London Regional League One on Sunday - but they lost 17-15 to a side packed full of national league and international experience.

Highbury player-coach Andrew Speck called up new recruit Hans van Andel into the starting line-up - the Dutch player had impressed with 13 goals in his two matches for the second team – while Sophie Scott also earned her first start of the campaign.

The league’s top scorers, Highbury got off to a great start with an early goal from Martin Petrie, but Trojans hit back with a penalty and a long-range effort before Moses Hutchinson-Pascal replied with a fine strike to level.

Trojans were showing their ability in attack with two quick goals, but Highbury were not going to roll over, demonstrating great mental strength by hitting back with goals from Ana Rocha and Niccola Hyslop.

A Trojans penalty restored their lead, only for Petrie to capitalise on a rare defensive mistake to bring the away side level once more.

Trojans got the next two strikes to restore their cushion, but again Highbury fought back through goals from Petrie, who completed his hat-tick, and one from Van Andel.

The final exchanges of the first half went Trojans’ way as the home side netted four times, with Van Andel’s second goal of the game the only bright spot for the visitors, who trailed 11-8 at the interval.

However, Highbury scored the first four goals of the second half, with two each for Hutchinson-Pascal and Van Andel, to give the reds a slender one-goal advantage.

Clearly riled by Highbury’s second-half onslaught, Trojans hit back with three goals of their own to take back the lead, going 14-12 up.

But the never-say-die attitude that Highbury have shown all season was plain to see, and Hyslop fired them level once more with two strikes in this exhilarating contest.

Highbury looked tired but had the bit between their teeth as they sought a rare win over their hosts – and with around five minutes left on the clock, Scott fired Highbury into a 15-14 lead.

The cheers reverberated around the court, but they were silenced shortly after as Trojans showed their big-match experience to equalise.

Both teams were pushing hard for the win, and it was Trojans who got the crucial goal before striking again at the death.

Highbury slip to fourth place in the table, and their final two matches of the season are both against league leaders Bec II on March 16 and 23.

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