Behind the Scenes: Ely Viking’s Korfball

First played in 1902, Korfball is an extremely fast growing sport. Cambridgeshire has 5 clubs which compete against each other on a regular basis. This week I investigated what’s so amazing about this exciting sport by watching a match and interviewing a star player.

Interview with Ely Vikings player Jamie Cranwell

Why do you enjoy Korfball?

I enjoy it because you can either play it for fun or competitively. Also, it’s played between all ages (13+) and both male and female play in the same game so it’s a good atmosphere.

Are there certain positions?

There are certain roles within the game. Normally a team sets up with two main attackers, one person to assist and one person to collect the rebounds. The other players defend but the attackers and defenders swap every two goals.

Can Korfball be used to get fit or do you need to be fit to play it?

It’s quite a fast game when played at a high level (first team level) but a lot of players do come along to get fit so I would say both really.

Why do you think Korfball is growing so fast?

I think one of the main reasons is that the senior leagues can be competed from 13 years upwards so there’s a big range of ages which helps the atmosphere.

What leagues are there?

We compete in a league between clubs in Cambridgeshire, a league called the S.E.R.L  which the best teams in East Anglia compete in, and also the National League which are the best teams in the country.

If someone wanted to start Korfball how should they go about doing it?

At Ely Vikings we hold a few sessions which are free so you can see if you like it or not. Then (if your 13+) the club tends to put you in the 4th team so you can gain confidence and experience. For under 13’s, there is a youth team with about 20 juniors in that compete against other teams until they reach 13 and are then put into the senior team.

Ely Vikings 4th team match

I then went to watch a Ely Vikings 4th team match. There was a few things that stood out.

Each team consists of 8 players, 4 women and 4 men. There’s lots of sportsmanship. Every single player shakes hands before and after the game. Everyone thanks the referee and everyone gives three cheers for the opposition.

It’s all played in good spirit. There’s lots of laughs and no complaining to the ref!

There are some interesting rules. If a defending player puts his hand over the ball as the attacking player has it, that player cannot shoot. Each team is split up with one half attacking and one half defending. They swap every two goals and the players cannot cross the halfway line until then.

The game itself (Ely Vikings v Cambridge University) was a hard fought contest with Cambridge coming out on top. See one of Cambridge University’s goals here: and see one of Ely Viking’s goals here:

So, all in all Korfball looks to be a game for all ages, all sizes and all abilities. With it being so much easier than sports like football and rugby to play at a high standard and for your county, Korfball is a great sport to play competitively. Also, you can play it to get fit or just for fun. Could you be the next international Korfball star!!?

Ely Vikings Website:    Rules of Korfball:






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