The Saint met with Ben Cook (President) and
David Ewing (1st Team Captain) of the Korfball Club to talk about the club,
their season so far and what they have coming up
What is your favourite thing about Korfball, and the St Andrews Korfball Club?
David Ewing: I really enjoy the fact that it’s a mixed
gender sport – from the social side it’s more fun, as you get to meet more
people. We don’t have much ‘bitchiness’ in the club at all because everyone
gets on well.
Ben Cook: I agree with Dave that the best thing about
Korfball is the fact it’s mixed gender. We get so many people coming in who
aren’t necessarily the most athletic, and they still come in and have a great
time with us because it’s not taken as seriously as some other sports, the
traditional sports. I think the best thing about Korfball is that no one’s ever
heard of it and we can just go to people and get them playing.
TS: How well have you
done in getting new people into the club this season?
DE: It’s been a really good year. We’ve struggled a
bit in the past, particularly because we’ve been away in Europe a couple of
times and so we’ve not had anyone at the Freshers [Sports] Fayre. This year we
didn’t have that, so we’ve got really really good numbers, about 10 or 15
freshers which is the best I can remember.
TS: What competitions
have you been in this year and how have they gone?
DE: We play in the Scottish league, and so far we’ve
won all our games apart from one against Edinburgh Uni’s 1st team, which was a
little bit of a blip. We’re looking pretty good at the moment – if we win the
rest of our games we win the league. We play Edinburgh City, who are currently
second behind ourselves, and Edinburgh Uni this weekend, so once we’ve got that
out the way things will be pretty clear as to where we stand. In terms of BUCS
competitions, we came fourth at the Northern qualifiers, which was maybe not
quite as high as we would have liked, but not bad. We’ve been seeded for
Nationals, which is the main thing.
TS: What is coming up
in the rest of the season?
DE: We’ve got Nationals in three weeks and we’re
definitely targeting a medal. Anything less than that and I’ll probably be a
BC: We have a beach tournament at the end of the year,
which is good fun. It’s not competitive, but we get a few clubs from around the
rest of the country, like Leeds and Lancaster last year, and it’s just a whole
load of fun on the beach playing korfball, which is obviously different for us
from playing indoors.
TS: Finally, have you
had a good working relationship with the AU this year?
DE: Yes, it’s been really good. We’ve had no problems
in talking to them, they’ve been really helpful and we’ve been pretty happy
What prompted you to join the club?
AG: I come from a tennis background, playing table
tennis casually and wanted to use my time at uni to get better at it and play
against some good players. I went along to a few sessions in my first year and
then got more into it – so for fun, really.
JH: I started playing badminton, and joined table
tennis in second year, first casually then I took it a bit more seriously.
Basically I just wanted to improve.
PL: I used to play table tennis in Thailand and I was
on the junior national team, so coming here I just joined the club.
JW: I played in Hong Kong, for fun – I just really
like table tennis!
TS: What has your
experience of St Andrews Table Tennis been like?
PL: There’s a different type and level of player, so
it’s a lot of fun to be around them. It’s a lot more relaxed compared to
before, and that’s made me enjoy it more.
AG: We’ve got some guys who are amazing, and the rest
of us not quite as good but we can hit play with them – it’s just a relaxed
TS: Our 1sts and 2nds
are both in BUCS Scottish 1A – what makes us so strong as a university?
PL: Other teams in Scotland are quite strong, like
Edinburgh 1sts, but some others aren’t at the level I was used to, which gives
me an advantage playing against them. [The 1sts winning the league with eight
victories from eight games] felt good, to feel unbeatable – and to accomplish
something we’d never done before. The English universities have some very good
players, England international players. It’s difficult to compete with them,
but I have three more years here to improve, and hopefully with more players
and more training we can get better.
JH: The 2nd team could do with a bit more support – we
haven’t done badly, but I think we have a lot more potential, with a
few more players coming into the club.
TS: What was the
Championship run like [won 9-3 against Newcastle, lost 9-3 against East
PL: Both were very strong teams. We had home advantage
against Newcastle – they had to travel here and were probably tired. It was a
close game, we just played a bit better. [The length of journey to East Anglia] definitely affected us. We arrived there at about midnight or 1am on that day.
MH: Also Prab and I had been to Nottingham two days
before, so we spent about three of the last five days travelling. And I think
East Anglia had a stronger overall team than us.
TS: How’s the social
side of the club?
JH: To be honest I think we should do a bit more, to
get the name out there and encourage new members to join. It is a fun and
relaxed atmosphere, but outside of training we don’t do very much – that’s
something we can work on.
AG: I think part of the difficulty with table tennis
is you can’t really have that many people going along to the sessions. We only
really have three tables, so if you have more than 10 or 12 people there,
people are sitting off a lot. Hopefully with the new Sports Centre there’ll be
more space, as that’s the big issue. But in trying to do more socials, that’s
something to work on.
MH: There are also tables down at the gym, which Prab
and I have used before, so there are options.
TS: Are you
optimistic for the future of the club?
JH: I can definitely graduate knowing the club is in
very safe hands, for at least two or three if not four years.
AG: These guys [PL and JW] are both first years now,
so they’ve got three more years and I’m sure we’ll get some new people as well.
So we’ll definitely keep getting better.
JW: I think we can do well in the future, with a
couple of really good players. St Andrews is such a famous uni, so we’ve got a
great chance of getting new players next year. Hopefully then we’ll have a
better team and can achieve more.
MH: Hopefully next season we can again beat the other
Scottish universities and do as well, if not better, in the BUCS Championship
and the BUCS and Scottish individual competitions.