Ben Tattoo takes a closer look at the Birmingham City players hoping to make an impact for the home nations at the European Korfball Championship.
Since the club’s formation in 2005, Birmingham City’s talented performers have, for many years, been selected to represent different countries on the International Korfball stage. Former players Nick Wilkins, Hannah Ager, Simon Waide and Sara Roberts have been heavily involved in the Welsh (Nick, Hannah and Simon) and England (Sara) set ups while current players Rick Scowcroft and Adam Waide have also represented Wales.
With the exciting 2018 Euros having five Brum stars on show, here is all you need to know about their histories, hopes and dreams for the big tournament.
Alex Seabright (Wales)
With a body like Peter Andre (Mysterious Girl) and dance moves like David Brent, Alex Seabright is a fiery ball of energy that can unlock the most rigid of defences. Alex will be looking to build his success from the Beach International scene to the indoor game after two big performances at the 2017 and 2018 Beach World Cups. Competitive in everything he does, many will be hoping to see a match-up between Alex and his flatmate Stewart McConvery (see below), a clash of two Birmingham Titans if ever there has been one.
Alex, lets talk Korfball…
Year started playing korfball: 2007
Clubs: Ely Vikings, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City
Notable Successes: 2003 BUCS Bronze, 2014 BUCS Gold, 2015 GB Student World Cup Squad, 2017 Inter Area Silver, 2017 BUCS Bronze, 2017 and 2018 Beach Korfball World Cup
International Caps: Beach Caps – 9
Indoor Caps – 1
International Goals: Beach Goals – 9
Indoor Goals – 2
Best Club moment: Brum City 1st Team Player of the Season 2017-18
Best International moment: 2018 Beach World Cup Squad
Player you’d most like to play against? Nick Pikaar or Shay Conroy
Describe your skills in one word? Dependable
Ashley Yates (Ireland)
Fun-loving, determined and passionate about Korfball for everyone, few players represent the Birmingham City ethos more than Ashley Yates, and few have climbed the ranks as fast. After making his debut in the third team at the start of the 17-18 season Ashley’s stand out performances saw him earn his National League debut Vs Trojans and the Best Newcomer award at the end of the season. Despite this being his first International tournament everyone at Brum is confident Ash can take his opportunity and look forward to seeing his cheeky smile on the court come game time.
Ashley, lets talk Korfball…
Year started playing korfball: 2014
Clubs: Cardiff Uni, Birmingham City
Notable Successes: 2nd Place at BUCS Plate 2014, Birmingham City Best Newcomer 2017-18
International Caps: 0
International Goals: 0
Best Club moment: National League Debut V Trojans
Best International moment: Making Ireland squad for the 2018 European Championships
Player you’d most like to play against? I’d love to play against Wales in a good old home nations derby, I know a lot of their players quite well.
Describe your skills in one word?: Spicy
Bethan Phillips (Wales)
Korfmittment thy name is Beth Phillips. After eight years of playing Korfball adopted Brummie Beth has been a key player for every team she has played for, whether it was university, club or international level. A crucial member of the team since the clubs first promotion to the National League it is hard to imagine a Birmingham City team without Beth Phillips in it. While not the most vocal of players Beth lets her korfball do the talking, a dogged defender and fantastic at linking up play in attack, defenders in Holland beware because if you let her shoot, she will score!
Beth, lets talk Korfball…
Year Started Playing Korfball: 2010
Clubs: University of Birmingham, Birmingham City
Notable Successes: Champions Trophy Silver Medallist, Champions Trophy Gold Medallist.
International Caps: 24
International Goals: 19
Best Club moment: Winning promotion to the National League for the first time was special.
Best International moment: My debut against Ireland in the 2013 Eurobowl is a game I’ll never forget. I was subbed on in the 2nd half and we won through golden goal.
Player you’d most like to play against? The Catalonian girls are such a challenge to play against.
Describe your skills in one word? Positive
Jess Davies (England)
When the game is on the line every team needs a Jess Davies. Sharp shooting from any distance and an opportunist around the post Jess will be chomping at the bit to get on the court in Holland having proved herself time and time again in the National League and England youth levels. A player who loves the personal battles within Korfball games, expect Jess to be in the thick of the action in Holland should she be given the opportunity.
Jess, lets talk Korfball…
Year Started Playing Korfball: 1999
Clubs: Bearsted, Mitcham, Kwiek, University of Birmingham, Nottingham City Birmingham City
Notable Successes: Representing England at all age groups, playing for Great Britain at the 2013 World Games, Europa Cup Bronze Medal, meeting my husband through Korfball!
International Caps: This will be my first senior cap for England.
International Goals: 0
Best Club moment: Retaining Brum City’s position in the National League after the first season we went up.
Best International moment: Scoring on Celeste Split at the 2013 World Games
Player you’d most like to play against? Suzanne Struik
Describe your skills in one word? Commitment
Stewart McConvery (Ireland)
When this reporter first met Stew McConvery he saw a tall, youthful fellow who could catch many-a-fly whenever he took a running-in shot. Now he sees a man integral to Brum City’s success in recent years, a looping-louie veteran, curry connoisseur and a good personal friend (sorry for the cheese). Never afraid to step up to the plate when needed Stew has enjoyed huge individual as well as team success at the club and is a regular winner at the club’s end of season award socials. The club can’t wait to see him earn further achievements on the international stage after his hugely successful year as President saw the club stay in the National League and finish runners up in the CERL1.
Stewart, lets talk Korfball…
Year Started Playing Korfball: 2013
Clubs: University of Nottingham, Birmingham City
Notable Successes: Promotion into the National League with Brum City
International Caps: 5
International Goals: 6
Best Club moment: Taking points off teams who had been in the top 4 after our promotion to the National League.
Best International moment: Scoring within two minutes of my debut at the European Qualifiers in Budapest.
Player you’d most like to play against? My flatmate Alex Seabright, it’s all about the bragging rights…..
Describe your skills in one word? Rapid
Good luck everyone!