Bearstead end Highbury Korfball Club’s promotion hopes

Mirelle Geervliet (left) in action for Highbury Korfball Club. Pic: Richard Hayward

Mirelle Geervliet (left) in action for Highbury Korfball Club. Pic: Richard Hayward - Credit: Archant

Highbury Korfball Club threw away a commanding half-time lead and slipped to an 18-15 defeat at home against Bearstead, which ends the Swiss Cottage-based side’s hopes of promotion this season.

The England Korfball Division clash looked to be heading the way of the hosts for much of the game after they worked their way into a four-goal lead - but former national league side Bearstead found another gear to score nine of the final 10 and snatch victory.

Highbury could not have got off to a better start, taking the lead with just 15 seconds on the clock through Leonie Ansems De Vries.

Bearstead equalised from the penalty spot, following that a few minutes later with an outstanding long-range effort and Niccola Hyslop’s missed penalty for Highbury was punished as the visitors extended their lead to 3-1.

Rennan Fonseca pulled one back for Highbury, Mirelle Geervliet equalised and Hyslop made amends for her earlier penalty miss with the shot that gave Highbury the lead once again – but Bearstead rattled off three goals to take a 6-4 lead.

However, Highbury replied with three goals of their own through Matthew Dodds, Hyslop and Ansems De Vries – and captain Moses Hutchinson-Pascal, Ana Rocha and Hyslop cemented Highbury’s dominance as the Reds ran into a four-goal lead.

Bearstead, who were clearly reeling, got one back but they then allowed Hutchinson-Pascal to restore the four-goal margin. Bearstead scored the next goal but Highbury saw out the first half in style through Rocha and took a 12-8 lead into the break.

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The second half started in much the same fashion. This time in was Bearstead who got an early goal, but Highbury calmed themselves and Fonseca restored the four-goal lead after good play with Hutchinson-Pascal under the basket.

The game was getting frantic, with tempers running high on both sides. Bearstead pulled one back but Rocha completed her hat-trick to keep Highbury on course for victory.

The game was to take a drastic turn though. Bearstead turned up the heat with four unanswered goals – three of which were from long range - to pull the game level at 14-14.

The match was now on a knife edge and could have gone either way. Fonseca put Highbury back in front but that would be their last goal of the game with Bearstead hitting the final four goals to go top of the four-team league.

Highbury are bottom and are out of contention of the top-two finish which is required for a place in the end-of-season play-offs. They will now be concentrating on the London Regional League and will hope to return to winning ways on Sunday at home against Croydon II.