Thunder win Promotion to the England Korfball National League

Friday 13th May 2011.

In a Bristol pub, a group of Korfballers dream up an idea for a new club. They name it after a type of weather, which was very British of them.

Sunday 13th May 2018.

A Bristol Thunder squad containing two founding members wins promotion to the EKL National Premier League, becoming the first South Western team to compete at English Korfball’s top tier since 1996. Exactly 7 years of effort from a huge range of people pays off in the most nail-biting fashion.

Thunder had started the weekend with an intensely fought 18-19 loss to Highbury Korfball Club, losing our grip on the game in the second half to an inspired 10 goal game by Highbury’s Tom Rich. We regrouped and came back stronger for our second game, expertly guided by coach Ross Carr-Taylor and carried by an incredible travelling support to a 12-10 comeback win over Manchester Warriors Korfball Club. This kept us in with a chance of Promotion the following day.

After a top evening of excellent Korfball courtesy of the Premier Division semi finals, we arrived back at the Copper Box bright and early Sunday morning for a must win clash with Norwich City Korfball Club. The squad stepped up again, showing our class with a free flowing 19-13 victory, again buoyed by Ross’ nous and our supporters’ superb noise.

Then came one of the most nerve-wracking hours of our Korfball careers as we took our seats for the crucial final game between Warriors and Highbury, knowing that a Warriors win by a margin of 3 or less would see us promoted on goal difference in a 3 way tie. A ding dong battle ensued, with everyone involved aware of the high stakes and various permutations, but in the end, Warriors ran out 14-12 winners, which saw an explosion of celebration from the Thunder section. We never make it easy for ourselves…

This weekend was simply amazing for everyone involved, and would not have been possible without some insane effort and commitment from a huge range of people. Everyone involved with the organisation of the weekend from England Korfball were superb, hosting a world class event at an Olympic venue, and it was especially wonderful to see young Korfballers compete on the same stage as National League stars.

From a Thunder perspective, the support at the Copper Box was IMMENSE. We’re indebted to those who came and shouted for us from Horfield Korfball ClubUniversity of Bristol KorfballExeter City Korfball ClubUniversity of Exeter Korfball ClubOxfordshire Korfball AssociationLeeds City Korfball ClubCardiff University KorfballCardiff Raptors Korfball ClubCardiff City & Met Korfball, and all of our Thunderers, friends and family (apologies if I’ve inadvertently missed you off that list, there were so many of you!). Also a huge thanks to everyone who sent their support to us on social media, it is all so appreciated, and made such a tangible difference. We are indebted to Ross Carr-Taylor for his superb coaching, dedication and positivity over the last month or so – you have taken us to a new level, and we couldn’t have done this without you. And a final massive thank you to our very own chair Beth Ryan, who organised yet another playoff weekend – logistical hiccups were non-existent, and that’s a massive credit to Beth, our co-founder and Korfball legend.

National League teams, we look forward to welcoming you all to Bristol next season!

Welcome to 2016/17

So where do we go from last season?
Team Captains are picked, congratulations for having the honour for leading a Thunder team
1sts – Sianne Way
2nds – Jo Futter
3rds – Sam Alexander
4ths – Lauren Dance

Last season saw the 1sts win the EKA Promotion Division and WRL, the 2nds being the only 2nd team in WRL and fought hard to retain their position, the 3rds won SWKL2 to gain promotion back to SWKL1 and the 4ths had 23 debuts over the season and will look to stabilise this year to build on the positive end of season results.

Aim is to become EKI accredited and build on the quality and numbers that have set up apart in the first 5 years as we look to the next 5 years.

Season 2014/15 – Facts and Figures


Goals Scored – 960
Goals Conceded – 671

Best Newcomer – Alex Webb
Most Improved – Tim Crutchley
Coaches Award (Teachers pet) – Lauren Dance
Club Captain Award – Beth Ryan
Special Thanks – Rose Jones – for carrying kit, washing bibs, driving and organising the 4th team
Tim Crutchley – for carrying kit, driving and marking the pitches
Ruth and Ramzi – for driving and general support to the Club Committee

4th Team
Goals Scored – 100
Goals Conceded – 134
Players Player – Male Lewis Carson
Players Player – Female Rose Jones
Captains Award – Jay Waller
Top Scorer – Male Lewis Carson 11 from 6 games
Top Scorer – Female Rose Jones 11 from 13 games

3rd Team
Goals Scored – 134
Goals Conceded – 257
Players Player – Male Tom Franks
Players Player – Female Maddy McMahon
Captains Award – Alex Webb
Top Scorer – Male Sam Alexander 36 from 12 games
Top Scorer – Female Maddy McMahon 9 from 11 games

2nd Team
Goals Scored – 258
Goals Conceded – 148
Players Player – Male James McNaughton and Harvey Atkinson
Players Player – Female Clare Welsh
Captains Award – Clare Welsh
Top Scorer – Male Phil Manavopoulos 29 from 6 games
Top Scorer – Female Beth Ryan 30 from 9 games

1st Team
Goals Scored – 468
Goals Conceded – 132
Players Player – Male Angus Davidson
Players Player – Female Ruth Campbell
Captains Award – Harvey Atkinson
Top Scorer – Male Angus Davidson 117 from 19
Top Scorer – Female Ruth Campbell 81 from 20

What A Season!!

What can I say about season 2014/15, apart from it being Thunders best season yet!!
55 different players
Not just one win for the 4th team but 7 as the team finished 6th in the table
A win and a draw for the 3rd team in SWKL1, the first third team to play in SWKL1
A league title for the 2nd team in SWKL1
A 100% record for the 1st team in the WRL, leading to winning the title and coming 2nd in the England Korfball Promotion Division to take our place at the league play offs.
As a club we have
Scored – 886
Conceded – 720
Thunderers you have been awesome, lets have a fun summer and come back next season to do it all again.
Of course that is after the 1st and 2nd teams playoff matches in May.

Stats for the season so far

First team
Scored – 174
Conceded – 96

Second Team
Scored – 103
Conceded – 62

Third Team
Scored – 54
Conceded – 112

Forth Team
Scored – 49
Conceded – 48

Some milestones this season
Sam and Angus have reached 100 goals for the club
Beth – 150 for the Club including 100 for the first team
Sianne and Clare have reached 50 goals for the club
There are many more close to goalscoring milestones which will come up before the end of the season

2014/15 November and December

November started with the 2nds and 4ths heading down to Taunton to play two tough matches that might put a dent in both teams progress for the season. The 4ths stormed into a considerable lead but Taunton chipped away at to leave THunder only one up with seconds to go. Beth telling the team to hold the ball, Jay launched a huge long shot, nowhere near the basket as it hit the back wall but thankfully the final whistle was blown before the game could restart. 4ths won 8-7. On the 2nds and another top game, with Ella finishing off alot of Beths rubbish shots, Harvey marking his boy into submission and Dan controlling the other end. 4nds won 14-11.
The firsts entered November with a game against Nottingham, we welcomed back Angus and Ramzi from international duty, whilst Ruth was resting her dislocated finger. They also welcomed players back from International duty and their added experience made the difference as they ran out 22-16 winners.
The third team took on Bristol City 2 and although they traded goals for much of the first half a couple of tactical changes by them at half time led to a 19-9 win for our rivals across the City.

After the Nottingham game the 1st team played the next 5 weekends, scored 81 goals, conceded 40 and took 5 wins to leave them top of the Regional League and 2nd in the Promotion division going into 2015. This included a tight win against Southampton and a more comfortable win in Manchester to get two of our longest away trips out of the way.

The 2nd team end 2015 2nd in SWKL1 with one loss to Bristol Uni who have taken the league by storm, but we have kept our goal difference up and therefore a close win in the reverse fixture might make the difference.

The 3rd team performances have improved week on week and that first win in SWKL1 is not far away and this will hopefully give confidence to move up the leagues. The crunch match against the 2nds was fun, competitive and a great advert for Thunder and Korfball.

Forth team, what can I say other than WOW and AWESOME. We have been legal every game and have only lost one 4th team game this season. They go into 2015 2nd in SWKL2 and putting real pressure on the more established teams in the league.

We have welcomed Rohanna Morris and Zoe Rose back from maternity leave this season aswell as welcoming back many of last season squad after summer sabbaticals.

We have our own Youtube video – Korfaholic

and we have had Korfmas at El Puerto, thanks to Clare for organising and Sam for being Secret Santa

Bristol Post Sports Awards – Finalists

This was the spiel that got us nominated
Bristol Thunder Korfball Club were founded in 2011 and in three years have grown from 7 players to 40. This season the first team won the Western Regional League, involving clubs from Cardiff, Oxford, Basingstoke, Southampton, Gloucester and Bristol, This enabled us to qualify for the Champions Trophy which involved a playoff of 5 clubs for promotion to the England Korfball Premier League, the club came 2nd to unfortunately fall short.
Our 3rd team gained promotion from South West 2 to South West 1 and we created a 4th team to allow more people to experience Korfball in Bristol.


We did not win but were up against a Football and Basketball team, but it was great publicity for the Club and a lovely dinner with the Who’s who of Bristol Sport for Beth, Dan, Kevin and Sianne.

2014/15 The Season So Far – October

The season started in what felt like the middle of summer as the first game was the first weekend in October. It saw Thunder 1 up against the newest team in the Regional League, Cardiff Celts. With some new faces in the squad it was time to see if we could live up to the pressure of being reigning Champions. Well, we went out hard and fast to pull into a 10 goal lead early on, this we never looked like relinquishing to finish 30-11 with all 11 squad members getting on the scoresheet and Angus getting 8 and Ruth and Ramzi 5 each. The evening then led to Angus and Grace’s housewarming party, where there was Pimms and Haribos to help us recover.

Week two took us to Tims housewarming party with Whisky City, the start of the SWKL season and another WRL game all against Bristol City. We started with the 4th team, well what can I say, we had a legal squad, we had 3 Korfball debuts and 1 Thunder debut and we WON the first ever win for the 4ths. Two great Captains goals from Ian and some awesome defense say us home 5-3.
The 2nd team were next up and dominated throughout to win 18-8 with 4 each from Beth and Sam.
Finally the 1st took to the Kingsdown stage and it was a cracking game with both teams fighting it out and Jake Cooper having an awesome day for City we had to dig deep to finish up with a 19-14 win. Phil scoring 6 in his first game of the season.

Week 3 – Time for the 3rd team to join the party, however against a physical and athletic Exeter Uni side they struggled in their first game in the higher league. The 4ths were also brought back to earth although we had another Korfball debut to expand the growing Thunder empire. The 2nd team came up against Exeter City and after a close start, largely due to our inability to finish the chances we created, it became a comfortable win 24-10, with 4 each from Captain James, Alex and Clare.
The first team started their Promotion Division season against Basingstoke Bulls which also counted for the WRL. The shot clock was in and the squad were ready. The team started well and looked like they would dominate before a change in tactics from the Bulls brought them back to only one behind at 5-4. Then a wayward pass led to Captain Ruth trying to claw the ball back into the court and a dislocated and chipped finger later led to a reshuffle with Ramzi helping her to hospital Jo and Alex were on and the team had fingers crossed (making Korfball quite difficult) she would be fit for Wales. (thankfully with the wonders of painkillers she was). Again we dug in like the Bristol City match we showed the character of Champions to finish up 17-9 victors and 6 more goals for Phil. The 1st team then had a 2 week rest whilst Ruth, Ramzi and Angus headed to the Europeans with Wales and Scotland.

Week 4 saw only the 3rd team in action and had a very creditable performance against Horfield 2 who finished with 2 Regional League players to win 14-11 but the team were proud of there efforts and really hung in until the additional experience told. The weekend finished with the Christening of Thunderbaby 1, Matilda Morris in Newquay, where pasties were ate and Cornish Rattler was drunk.

The final weekend of the month took us down to Taunton, which would be a real test of the very inexperienced 4ths and the unbeaten 2nds. With Club Captain Dan on full motivational duties and another Korfball debut, bringing our Thunder and Korfball debuts into double figures for the month it was time for the teams to perform. The 4ths were awesome and won through 8-7 after a late come back from Taunton they hung on. 4 goals from Rohanna and Jay giving Beth a heart attack by launching a speculative long shot just after the ref said ten seconds to go and the instruction was not to lose the ball. Thankfully the final whistle went after the ball hit the back wall.
The 2nds after a tight start up to 6-6 managed to get 3 ahead and always kept that distance to win 14-11. Ella scored 3 finishing off Beths awful shots and Clare popped in 2 pens and a short shot.

So after 11 games in October we have won 8 and lost 3. Not a bad start for team Thunder.

The season comes to an end

Over the last few months all 3 teams in Bristol Thunder have done us proud.

The thirds have shown they are not too far off other club 2nd teams and have upped the scoring and improved their defence. Despite finishing last in SWKL2 the team has been playing against players with several years korfball experience compared to several months as is the case with most of our 3rds. Spirit was high and they are looking forward to the challenge next year.

The 2nds had some difficult games in the final few games but showed promise for next season. The team has showed masses of improvement, with the majority of the team only starting to play korfball at the start of the year. Some players have taken the step up from 2nd team to be regular 1st team starters throughout the year, demonstrating the improvement going on. The 2nds have taken 7th spot in SWKL 1 losing out on goal difference to Bristol University who took 6th.

The 1sts have finished the season on a high. Despite a disappointing loss to Basingstoke, they have recovered to win their 3 remaining games against the league’s top sides. Thunder beat 2nd place Bristol City 19-14 before beating Cardiff Dragons 19-8. On the final day (dubbed Super Saturday) Thunder 1 hosted Oxfordshire in a winner takes 3rd place match. Thunder never looked like they were going to lose, eventually winning 21-17. Thunder 1 have finished 3rd out of 8 in their debut season at Regional league level. Well done guys!