June 5 had long been marked in my calendar. The last midweek match was scheduled for that day, and after a long absence, I could finally make my midweek comeback. Everyone was naturally looking forward to it. Even in Canada, the midweek games were followed, and it was often a disappointment on Wednesday afternoons when the results came online. But after 6 months of absence, I was allowed to join again, and I naturally wanted to bring the win back to Wageningen.

Bart Merks, the newly appointed match secretary, takes his job very seriously and even invited the whole team to come and eat pancakes before the game. Eventually, delicious (I think) pancakes were eaten, and there were even a few stowaways who gladly joined in for the pancakes but didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to travel to nearby Nijmegen (a half-hour drive is nothing by Canadian standards). Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the pancakes, and when I arrived, I was suddenly the last to show up (something that hasn’t happened to me in 6 months, really something to get used to). With 3 full cars with 12 players and coach Reinier, the journey to Nijmegen began.

Upon arrival, we headed to the locker rooms, and it turned out almost everyone had remembered to bring a black shirt (thanks, Rianne, for the reminder!). We had a warm-up session, and during the pre-game briefing, no fewer than three (sort of) debutants were mentioned. Zico played his first match for Débaldérin. For Eline, it had been a while since she last played a match, and even I was seen as a debutant. The squads were announced, and soon the referee’s whistle blew, signaling the start of the match.

Bart M., Jurren, Marieke, and Eline started in attack, while Bart S., Zico, Rianne, and I began in defense. We started strong, taking the lead with two goals from Bart M. Unfortunately, two goals followed from the opponents, tying the game again. It was evenly matched until Noviomagum suddenly scored, putting us behind. Luckily, it was short-lived, as Bart Merks scored again, and then the other Bart also threw the ball through the hoop. After that, it was a back-and-forth with accurate shots from Jurren and Jelmer Sonnemans. Just before halftime, I made a fantastic assist, though what happened before that isn’t necessary to mention (‘A missed penalty leading to an assist means both a goal and bitterballen, which deserves a mention in the match report ~ Bart S. (2024)).

During halftime, we mostly discussed that things weren’t going so badly; after all, we were two goals ahead. We started the second half with high spirits and extended our lead. Jelmer G., after more than two years of membership, decided it was time to win a korfball match and score in that match, and he did so immediately with two goals. Then debutant Zico also made a nice shot. He can now say that he scored and won in his debut match. Towards the end, the opponents got close with two more goals, but we held on and brought the win back to Wageningen!

Of course, this report wouldn’t be complete without a few analyses of myself and what six months of not playing korfball does to you:

  • I was almost suspected of adopting aggressive ice hockey play from watching it, as two injured opponents who had to leave the field in one half is quite remarkable (in my defense: the first opponent stepped on my calf with her foot, not much I could do about that, and the second tried to catch a ball, which you shouldn’t try to do).
  • It turns out that defending is still quite doable after six months of no midweek matches.
  • I’ve noticed that training really does help with accurate shooting in a match. Unfortunately, my shots couldn’t contribute to the score.
  • Communication with Bart S. has unfortunately also diminished, and he didn’t quite understand my eye contact signal that I wanted to move inside during the free throw (a real shame).

All in all, it was a successful midweek match, where even the opponents were positive about the result of their game and left the field with their heads held high. Now, I don’t want to draw any conclusions, buuut I do see a slight correlation between my return and the midweek result. Unfortunately, this was the last match of the season, but luckily I can end on a positive note because next field season, I can fully participate again, so you could almost say that the championship should be achievable.