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The 'Korf' of True Love

Create: 08/24/2017 - 15:32

The little known game of Korfball might sound like an invention from the pen of JK Rowling, but it is in fact a Dutch sport stretching back over a hundred years. Now with four local clubs in Bristol and one in Gloucester it is beginning to make strides in the Westcountry.

The little known game of Korfball might sound like an invention from the pen of JK Rowling, but it is in fact a Dutch sport stretching back over a hundred years. Now with four local clubs in Bristol and one in Gloucester it is beginning to make strides in the Westcountry.

Although at first sight the game looks to be a mashup of basketball and netball it does have its distinctive features.

  • First, it is played by teams of mixed gender four men and four women in each team.
  • The court divides into two zones with four players from each team in one zone, and the others in the other zone. Within each zone, a player can only defend against a member of the opposite team of the same gender.
  • A match typically consists of two periods, with the length varying depending on the competition, but typically between 25 and 30 minutes, with a break between periods.
  • The ‘korf’ is a sort of bottomless plastic bucket instead of a net as in basketball or netball.
  • After two scoring two baskets or goals, teams change zones: defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders.
  • A bit like netball, once a player has the ball, a player cannot dribble, run or walk with it other than take one step.

Korfball was invented in Holland in 1902 although initially in Britain it was mostly played in universities. However, that is changing with a variety of korfball clubs and teams springing up around the country. It has twice been a demonstration sport at the Olympics and as its popularity grows there is increasing pressure for it to become a regular part of the Games. At its strongest in middle Europe (The Netherlands Belgium and Germany etc) there are teams from as far afield as South America, North America, Asia and Africa. Britain is reckoned to be about fourth in the world rankings.

If you are interested in trying out Korfball then in Bristol you can contact Horfield Korfball via their website horfieldkorfball.org. They are also on all the usual social media platforms:

Facebook: Horfield Korfball Club,

Twitter: @horfieldkorf and

Instagram: Horfieldkorfballclub

About Author

Andrew Kerslake
Andrew Kerslake is the Managing Director of XtraTime. He has worked as a freelance sports journalist covering both football and cricket and written and broadcast journalism. In another life he was also Professor of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University.