Newcastle’s newest AU club put on a display of dominance in the very first Stan Calvert korfball fixture, beating their more experienced hosts 8-7.
Wilbert den Hoed got the Newcastle Nighthawks off to a strong start with an early korf and played a decisive part in his team’s overall victory. Despite only forming in the autumn, the Nighthawks maintained pressure on Northumbria throughout the match and after taking the lead midway through the third quarter pushed on to claim the win.
Northumbria responded to den Hoed’s early korf with one of their own, and after ten minutes of end-to-end play the score stood at 3-3.
A Northumbria penalty took them into the lead, and another korf shortly after put the hosts 5-3 up 15 minutes into the game.
A time out allowed the Nighthawks to regroup, and after a Northumbria shot tipped off the edge of the korf Newcastle korfball president Hyun Gyu Ku gained possession, passing it to den Hoed who set up Rebekah Albiston for a clinical Newcastle korf.
After ten minutes of end-to-end play the score stood at 3-3
This gave the Nighthawks the momentum and although three more shots missed the korf they kept the ball in the Northumbria half.
The first half drew to a close with a pair of penalties, one for Northumbria giving the Nighthawks’ attacking players a break from their extended period of possession, and another penalty cleanly taken by Newcastle’s Miles Clement. The half time score of 6-5 flattered a Northumbria side struggling to maintain possession and benefitting more from the mistakes of the Nighthawks than from their own expertise.
Northumbria began the second half with possession but almost immediately lost the ball to Newcastle, whose Jess Meakin narrowly missed an equaliser. Two minutes later and Meakin was back at the korf but was unable to curve the ball into the korf from her close position.
Yet another penalty was given to Northumbria but they were unable to convert this one to a korf, while Newcastle successfully defended the rebound.
Once the ball was back into Newcastle’s attack zone Clement’s shot bounced off the side of the korf, before Meakin calmly scored from the rebound to level the score at 6-all.
Harry Waterman’s attempt to follow Meakin’s lead ended in a struggle involving several players from both sides, with Newcastle awarded a penalty. Den Hoed, who played the sport growing up in the Netherlands and as one of the Nighthawks’ most experienced players also helps to coach the team, lined up to take the shot and gave Newcastle the lead with a smooth and elegant korf.
“We lost to this lot 10-2 the other day, so to turn it around like this, especially at Stan Calvert, is a right result.”- Chris Baker
Now finding themselves behind, Northumbria picked up the pace and started to make more emphatic shots on the korf, but were unable to stop Newcastle scoring once more and then maintaining a sustained attack on Northumbria.
In their attack zone Clement kept one Northumbria defender occupied by his sudden changes of direction, freeing up Meakin, Waterman and Arturo Steinvorth to attempt shot after shot. Den Hoed supported the Nighthawks from the defence zone, stopping any Northumbria advance and making long passes to set up the Newcastle attackers.
With just three minutes to go Northumbria scored their seventh korf to put them back within a point of their rivals, but their hesitation around the korf stopped them from getting an eighth. Newcastle regained possession but were unable to extend their lead and the game ended at 8-7.
“Everyone put in a serious shift today,” the club’s media officer Chris Baker said after the obligatory team photos. “We lost to this lot 10-2 the other day, so to turn it around like this, especially at Stan Calvert, is a right result.”
The Nighthawks’ attention now turns to the BUCS National Plate, where they’ll once again be going head-to-head against Northumbria.