Cup journey ends in semis
Harrow Vultrix took their longest journey of the season on Sunday, to compete in the national korfball cup semi-finals at the Bobcat Arena in Nottingham, where the trophy would be subsequently be decided by the semi winners.
Vultrix, the only semi-finalist not in the elite National League, were drawn to play KV1 in the second game after Norwich Knights had played favourites Nottingham.
Vultrix were weakened by unavailability of top scorer Yuen Aw and current ‘Player of the Year’ Mary Ramsay, but after such a successful season there was a confidence that, with the benefit of the handicap system, the team could keep their elite opponents ‘on their toes’ if they wished to progress to the final.
The early signs were positive as Max Buttinger turned his marker to score first for Vultrix. KV1 soon hit back with a fine long shot and then scored five more before Marcus Tighe scored a penalty for Vultrix. It was apparent that KV1 were not going to make the mistake of taking their lowly opponents too lightly. Indeed, they seemed to be playing with the smell of a trophy in their nostrils, especially as the favourites, Nottingham had been edged out in the first semi by Norwich.
Before half-time both Lizzie and Marcus Tighe had scored for Vultrix with fine long shots. However by the break KV1 had edged ahead 16-14.
KV1 had shown their National League pedigree by scoring from close in and then repeatedly scoring from distance when Vultrix tightened their defence around the posts.
The second period saw Frank Van Der Wens replace coach John Tighe and Harry Adams replace Manager Max Buttinger. Laura Watson came on for Alex Tighe. The Vultrix average age was lowered even further when Freya Buttinger replaced her mother Penny. By this time the game was truly up for Vultrix as KV1 had moved comfortably ahead. Despite going close on a number of occasions, Vultrix were unable to score in the second half as KV1 ran out eventual winners 31-14. However, there was not a moment in the game when the Vultrix players were not giving their all to compete with their elite opponents. Whilst the KV1 boys proved very difficult to handle, Lizzie Tighe and Catherine Holman managed break even with their opponents over course of the match.
The Vultrix cause was not helped by being on the wrong end of so many refereeing decisions against ‘streetwise’ opponents. As coach Max Buttinger noted ‘It was a learning experience for us. They probably played the referee better than we did. But overall we’ve got no complaints – remember they are one best korfball teams in the country. We’ve come a long way in such a short time. Back in October we didn’t expect to get beyond the pool stage, so this is an occasion to celebrate – and we will.’
Harrow Vultrix 1 team: John Tighe, Marcus Tighe, Penny Buttinger, Alex Tighe; Max Buttinger, Anthony Van Der Wens, Lizzie Tighe, Catherine Holman. Scorers: Max Buttinger, Marcus Tighe 2 (1 pen) Lizzie Tighe.