Korfball on the BBC - what it is and why you should watch

Kieron Hicks (Bec)
Kieron Hicks and his Bec team-mates are looking to end Trojans' run of 11 straight national titles
England Korfball Grand Finals
Sat 1 June: Semi-finals: Trojans v Tornadoes - 16:40-18:30; Norwich Knights v Bec - 18:40-20:30; Sun 2 June: Final: 15:00-17:00
Live on the BBC Sport website, app and connected TV

Croydon-based team Trojans will be aiming to win their 12th England Korfball Grand Finals in a row at London's Copper Box this weekend.

Trojans, led by league top scorer David Brooks, will face Tornadoes, from Chatham, in Saturday's semi-finals.

Norwich Knights will face London's Bec in the other semi, with the winners meeting in Sunday afternoon's final.

The semi-finals and finals will be shown on the BBC website, app and connected TV on both days.

Davesh Patel, of league runners-up Bec, believes his team can break Trojans' dominance if they make it to the final.

"We're in good shape - we've played friendlies against them since the end of the season and won two of three so we're on a high going into this weekend."

What is korfball?

Korfball has its roots in the Netherlands, and has similarities to both basketball and netball in style.

Designed as a mixed sport, korfball has two teams of eight players - four men and four women.

The object is to propel the ball into the korf (or basket), which stands 3.5m (11ft 6in) - higher than basketball or netball goals.

Korfball player shooting

"It's much harder to score and you don't have set roles like in netball - you have to be good at attack and defence," says Trojans' Stella Hegarty.

Why play korfball?

The sport's claim to be the world's only truly mixed sport has its advantages - it enables the sexes to interact on an equal footing.

Like basketball and netball, it is good for fitness, with fast, sharp movements and the one-to-one marking element of the game develops quick reaction and anticipation.

The changing sports landscape with mixed sport gaining a foothold might also play to korfball's strengths, according to Hegarty.

"In this climate of equality, it's a brilliant sport to play at school - you don't have to have separate sessions," she says. "None of that 'boys do football, girls do netball'."

Why isn't korfball in the Olympics?

Korfball was demonstrated as an Olympic sport in Antwerp almost a century ago but has not made the full list since.

The game's inventors may be the reason the sport has never featured at a modern Olympiad.

"The dominance of the Dutch is causing the problem," said Richard Woodham of Medway-based team Tornadoes. "You don't want to have an Olympic final where one team is winning by 20 goals.

"We just need them to start losing a bit."

Why you should watch the finals on the BBC this weekend

"Existing players and supporters of korfball will no doubt be treated to a tactical masterclass," is the bold claim of Norwich Knights coach Joe Stirling.

"New viewers will be treated to close competitive games that have the potential to go down to the wire. In any sport, close games are always good viewing!"

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