After a few years away, Hawks returned to the infamous Attila tournament in the Netherlands for a weekend of drinking, partying and maybe even some korfball. The touring party travelled in a few waves, with some taking the high road via Amsterdam and some the low road straight to Eindhoven; but eventually all twelve converged on the Friday evening in the smart surroundings of the Park Plaza hotel. After a convoluted check-in and a bit of a stuff up with the booking (at the hotel’s end) we eventually got our rooms.
Friday night saw the first of the socials, and after pre-drinks in a swanky hotel room listening to the mii channel music we joined the other teams for a bar crawl across the streets of Eindhoven. Who knows how many bars we were supposed to go or where we were supposed to go, but everywhere we went we bumped into familiar faces from other Korfball teams from home and away. We danced until the early hours of the morning, drinking quarter litres (weird) of dutch beer. When things drew to a close at 4am there was a short walk back home to the hotel straight into wonderfully comfortable beds (not a half hour walk to sleep on a sports hall floor).
Fortunately the first game on the Saturday was only at 10.04 am giving us a much needed hour extra recovery time. Even so, it was with just minutes to spare that we arrived in the hall for our first game against Birmingham Uni 2 – the “winnable game” of the weekend. We lost. Maybe it was the culture shock of playing on a proper-sized korfball court or in front of a huge crowd (admittedly most of them were asleep) and definitely not due to a hangover… But whatever the reason, the final score was 3-1 to the students.
With two hours between games there was plenty of time to recover and discuss tactics for the next game, or alternatively to stuff it and go and enjoy the karaoke tent or grab a panini or 4 from the canteen. When the next game did come round it resulted in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Uni, before we got to play our first Dutch team in the form of Hebbes 1. We scored three, although sadly they scored five. We went down a fourth time, 2-1 to Amsterdam 1, before rounding off the day on a high note by smashing Cambridge University 4-0. That’s got to be worth something.
Saturday night brought a quick rejuvenating group-meal outside in the hail (In April?) wrapped up with blankets and onto the evening social – the Karaoke theme party – with Hawks going as the T-Birds and Pink Ladies from Grease. Daniel had a full head of hair, and Charlotte had a meerkat. Arriving fashionably late with leather jackets, shades and wigs there were more quarter litres of Dutch beer. Upon arrival, the room was full of different interpretations of the karaoke theme, with some dressed as ABBA, song lyrics, and even a team of James Cordens. We weren’t there long before the bar started handing out free beer – we could definitely get used to the Netherlands! In true British style we took full advantage of the free beer asking for 5 drinks at a time and stocking up for the night ahead. After who knows how many hours, we returned back to our hotel again (covered in glow paint for some reason ) and relishing the comfortable beds that we knew those in the sports hall would be missing.
It was another 10 am start on Sunday, and another arrival timed to perfection – well, by some anyway, as four Hawks failed to make it in time for the first game… They probably had very important things to do, and it was nothing to do with the previous night. That was totally the reason that we went down to our worst defeat of the weekend, 8-1 to the Old Huns (and it definitely wasn’t because they were just way better than us).
The seventh and final game also ended in defeat with a 3-1 reverse against the University of Bonn. The win over Cambridge kept us off the bottom of the table but it marked the end of our involvement in the tournament, as we were understandably some way off making the quarter finals. The Old Huns actually went on to win the tournament in extra time against Belgrade. So maybe we didn’t do too badly against them after all.