What is korfball anyway?
Korfball is an exciting mixed-team sport designed to be played by teams of 4 men and 4 women, where the aim is to score goals by shooting the ball into a basket 3.5m above the ground (slightly higher than netball or basketball). It is sometimes described as similar to those two sports, although has its own distinct rules such as only having two playing positions (attack and defence) which players rotate between, only marking players of the same gender, and not being allowed to shoot when being marked in a particular way. It is recognised by the International Olympic Commitee and features in the “World Games” for sports not in the Olympics, as well as having World Championships and continental events.
So how did it get to Milton Keynes?
Korfball came to the UK after the end of World War II as part of a sporting cultural exchange which saw cricket taken to the Netherlands, although until the 1990s was only in a few locations (mostly south London, Kent and some universities) before starting to spread more across the country. Although there had previously been some limited korfball activities in MK schools, the main launch came in 2004, when a group of players started MK Bucks Korfball Club. This was followed by MK City in 2006, which ran distinct teams, training separately under various team names, before all becoming MK Lakers in 2013, and also launched the junior korfball programme, which over the years has seen 1000s of children try korfball at school and developed players who have been picked for national junior squads. All this growth led to the formation of the South Midlands Korfball Association in 2010. For obvious reasons there has been much less activity in the last year or so, but now our adults have restarted and juniors will do in June!
Random Korfball Fact: The Half Man Half Biscuit song “Joy in Leeuwarden” is about the 2010 European Korfball Championships. We always wonder if they were inspired to write the song because, shortly before, some MK korfball players had done a demo on the pitch before a MK Dons match against Tranmere (who the band support)