In a nutshell, this was a great weekend and what going overseas to a tournament is all about. We played some really good Korfball with a great team spirit from all 10 of us and then had some cracking social events. Put the date in your diaries for next year.
First things first. How do you pick your team? Well draw numbers from a Celtic cap of course on a train. So that's the team and we simply rotated the subs, so everyone got exactly the same game time. The only decisions to make were sorting out divisions and I was "elected" to do that.
We played 5 games in our pool and results were as follows:
3 -3 v City 2 Yes I know, go all that way and play a Cambridge team. Goals from Ade (first Phoenix goal of the tournament!!!) and 2 from Lucy. A game we probably should have won.
4 - 4 v Velocitas 7/8 Our hosts stormed into a 4 -1 lead after 10 minutes and then for the next 20 minutes there was only 1 team in it, us. We could easily have folded, but stuck it out and got at least what we deserved and they were very relieved to hear the final whistle. Goals came in from Simon (pen), Howard, Gary and Coz. So already 6 different scorers.
1 - 2 v SEV 2 These were the group winners and we put up our strongest defensive performance but just could not get enough goals. However, this was arguably our best performance and it was gutting to come off with no points. Coz chipped in with the goal (leading scorer now, superbly assisted by her boys).
2 - 5 v Madjoe 2 This was a tough game, ask Howard who took a heavy bang to the face and had to come off due to a nose bleed, but I know the score flattered them. They were rough, especially the boys who were sometimes subtle and sometimes not in attempts to flatten us. Nonetheless, we gave a good account ourselves and Simon (penalty king now) and Coz (that's 3 now) put the ball into the basket.
7 - 6 v Croydon 2 This was our best shooting performance in a game that was there for the taking, but for which we continually leaked goals and bad goals to boot, so never put them out of sight. Rhian broke her duck, I weighed in with 2 (top boy scorer now!!) and Coz went to number 4. But Lucy's competitiveness saw her storm her player to get 3 goals and end on 5 for the day. Abby with the last shot of the match from distance saw her ball go round the basket and then pop out.
Neither Joep or Laura troubled the scorer, but its a team game, you can't score without a good pass or good collect, etc, so they all played their part. I asked everyone the night before to end the day a better player than they started it. I think all 10 can say they did. It was a pleasure to be part of that squad and didn't Laura look lovely in green.
Game Moments to Remember
Howard - Unfortunately it has to be, through no fault of his own, colliding with his opponent. It could have been a lot worse.
Lucy - Being hugged by Howard as a move goes a little wrong initially (see below) and they end up in each others arms.
Gary - Subsequently scoring amidst the confusion of the above move.
Joep - For standing totally free by the post and not shooting (twice) which led to
Rhian - Asking Joep in utter amazement "why did you not shoot?" in that look of hers. The answer by the way was that he was too close. The next answer was take a step back then.
Simon - Penalty King
Coz - Who when everyone knew the score was 1 - 0 to them, but the ref said it is 1-1, charged down the other end to be ready to defend. She has never moved so fast. Such integrity from our Treasurer.
Laura - Looking lovely in green, but also in one of my pictures of a game, standing by the post, scratching her head with the ball no where in sight.
Ade - well against my better judgement, but I will admit to tripping over the pitch tape when about to warm up. Of course Coz is behind me and sees it all.
Tournament Party Moments
Simon - Getting concussion when a dance routine with "who do you think" goes wrong. He bangs his head on the tiled floor to protect her. If he was your son, you'd be proud of him.
Rhian - For her part in the above (check Gary's video clip out on Facebook).
Gary - For missing their successful attempt on camera and making them do it again.
Laura - Collecting wine all over her from Gary, Howard and me on 3 separate occasions. Told you she looked better in green than blue or red. Laura also collects a moment for teaching the Cha Cha Slide to Howard and me (check another video out).
Ade - Well I guess I did teach them all a dance routine to "I was made for lovin' you" by Kiss, using one of my warm up stretches. We subsequently got City doing it and half a bemused Dutch audience.
Joep - For coming into his own after 11 on the dance floor, tremendous stuff.
Coz - Dancing the waltz with "you know who" again with everyone else watching, believing they were about to see some "show" from Amsterdam.
All of us for joining in with some party Dutch song, a conga and a Christmas tune.
Lucy - being swung around the dance floor by that loony boy Tommy from Norwich Knights
and Abby - holding out right until the end until Joep forced her on the dance floor (to dance!)
In all seriousness, Simon's injury was a concern and did put a little dampener on the evening's activities. However, everyone was great and our Dutch hosts really played their part in helping us out. Thankfully all's well that ends well. On the funny side, it did mean that Coz and Rhian got a bloke in their room for the night (in order apparently to check on him every 2 hours).
Other Weekend Moments
Now some of these you did have to be there to enjoy them to their fullness, but here we go and I hope you can let your imagination run riot and try and picture what might have happened.
Why is it that when you say anything slightly unusual, at least 3 people have to say "really", every time.
Why do people say they are Me. We literally had a a team called out of 10 Me's for one game.
Coz and the Pigeon at Leiden.
Ade's camouflaged bag. Now you will struggle to believe how many jokes along the lines of "Ade, where's your bag" can be funny in a weekend, but it may be more than you realise. But would you believe I actually left it on the bus in the long term car park at Stansted. Thanks Coz for remembering it.
Mind you at least my bag made it to Stansted, bad luck Abby.
Ask Lucy about the art of queuing. Picture Howard in the ladies (for good reason, the gents were out of action) and me outside waiting. Now you only wait outside a toilet for 1 reason in my book and that is to go in, do your business and get out. Now I have no idea what Lucy thought I was doing there, but either way, she saw it as she was next.
What are the chances of walking in Amsterdam and agreeing on a spot for a nice beer after a meal and then discovering that the barman has a Pink Floyd DVD for you, perfect.
We also continued to try our new dance a number of times when sober and a bit drunk; it is remarkably funny. 1 leader usually (although Lucy and I had a go together once) and 9 following is an unusual sight for our Dutch hosts.
I also know a number of people go to Amsterdam to have a "trip" but by God did we trip up all over the weekend. Even the waiter in Leiden had a little fall over the step.
Lucy should be in charge of recruitment I have decided. Lucy was only going to smoke if another member of the squad smoked. Well none of us did, so when the barman came out for a fag, that meant Lucy could light up. Sign him up Lucy.
Go to Chinese restaurant with Abby and she'll order perfectly for you. She'll also answer questions like "When will they bring the main course out?" with "yes, I can speak mandarin".
For the record I am old enough to be Simon's Dad. However the question was asked "could I be Simon's Dad?". Now I am sure I have never met his Mother, but boy did we play on the Father / Son relationship all weekend. We even took it on court, with a "Here son" and "well played Dad" exchange a number of times..
Anyway, thanks to everyone on the trip, it was a right blast and we all got on splendidly. Thanks for Joep to seeing us all to our train to the airport and then going on to meet some friends. For the other club members, seriously think about making it next year, you won't regret it.