Highbury finish first and second as clubmates go head to head in final showdown

Highbury's first and second teams gather together after facing each other in the final of a tourname

Highbury's first and second teams gather together after facing each other in the final of a tournament in Leeds. Pic: Rob Wakerell - Credit: Archant

Highbury’s teams faced each other in the final of a tournament in Leeds at the weekend as the Swiss Cottage-based outfit finished first and second out of 16 entrants.

Highbury II's Ellie Simes (right) and first-team player Amy Redston in action in the final. Pic: Bra

Highbury II's Ellie Simes (right) and first-team player Amy Redston in action in the final. Pic: Brad Kaye - Credit: Archant

The first team ultimately triumphed 6-4 in a close showdown over their clubmates in the second string to defend their title.

The road to the final involved eight matches – four apiece – with Highbury II starting their campain with a convincing 5-1 victory over Lancaster University II.

That gave them confidence going into a tough second game against the University of Birmingham – the current national student champions – but two early goals set them on their way to a 3-1 win.

Meanwhile, in Group D, Highbury I were making waves of their own with an impressive 12-1 win over the University of Sheffield – Tamika Zilm top-scoring with four goals. Their second match was much closer and they had to dig deep to beat Leeds Old Boys 7-5.

Going into the final group clashes, Highbury II had to beat Leeds City to top the group and reach the final four, while Highbury I just needed to avoid a heavy defeat against Lancaster University to finish first in their pool.

In the end both sides won, with Highbury II triumphing 2-1 and Highbury I emerging victorious 6-2 to complete the perfect morning.

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Both sides also came from behind to win their semi-final ties 5-4 – Highbury I against a strong Selly Oak outfit, and Highbury II against a spirited University of Birmingham team, who twice led the match before Ellie Simes popped up with two goals to send her side through.

The final was the first competitive meeting between Highbury’s first and second teams for a number of years, and it was a close encounter.

Highbury I raced into a two-goal lead through Moses Hutchinson-Pascal and Matthew Dodds and, although Highbury II got back into the game with a well-worked goal, their opponents restored a two-goal lead.

The match continued to be played at a high tempo and the teams, used to facing each other in training, were cancelling each other out.

The defences were eventually breached though, and the score stood at 4-4 going into the final few minutes – but with the spectre of penalties looming large, Inge Carrington popped up with a double to secure the win for the first team.

Highbury II player Grace Munro said: “This really highlighted the progress Highbury has made this year with a new coaching team.

“Some of the matches were hard -fought, really putting us through our paces and testing our ability as players.

“In the end getting both teams into the final was an amazing achievement and you could really feel the pride in the group as we waited to play that match.”

Highbury I player Darryl Light added: “It was a tough final played in the right spirit and guaranteed to end in a Highbury victory. It’s the first tournament I’ve won as a player and I’m really happy to do it with this group of players.”

It was a successful weekend all-round for Highbury’s first team, as they went on to secure their first win of the season in the England Korfball Promotion Division on Sunday, triumphing 19-10 away against Cambridge Tigers.

Niccola Hyslop scored six goals while Hutchinson-Pascal struck four times and there were two goals apiece for Leonie Ansems De Vries, Dodds and Jean Silva. Inge Carrington, Mirelle Geervliet and Rennan Fonseca were also on target.