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History

At the end of World War II a group of men and women, all of whom were interested in Physical Education as organisers, teachers and instructors, were invited to visit Holland and see a game which had obvious potential for mixed groups - Korfball. In Holland the game was already a national pastime, but in England, the home of many sports, it was virtually unknown.

Among several of the party who were favourably impressed with the game was Mr C. H. ("Wally") Walbancke, who was at that time engaged during his leisure hours as a P.T. Instructor at a Croydon youth club. Wally saw in the game the opportunity not only for the young men and women in his club to enjoy the new sport, but also for them to use this game as a common link of friendship with another country, and in this spirit the Croydon Korfball Club was born in 1946 with help from Albert Milhado and John Rae.

The first clubs formed in the UK were Wandsworth and Croydon, shortly followed by Mitcham. At first only Croydon and Wandsworth were able to field teams, and these played one another at fairly regular intervals during the succeeding two years. Then in September 1948, Korfball made its first forward step when the London league was formed. Six teams, two each from Wandsworth, Croydon and Mitcham, took part, and Wandsworth were easy winners. And they repeated their success in the following year.

Soon Bec were formed by 2 ex-Wandsworth players and the league became more interesting. The Korfball became more exciting and the players more proficient. But within three years Korfball in England was in the doldrums. Although there were still only four clubs, only Mitcham were able to field two sides and the London League was reduced to five teams. The hopes for British Korfball was nurtured by only a few enthusiasts, and it was sometimes doubtful whether Korfball would survive. But survive it did.

From 1956 the London League increased in both the number of clubs and the number of teams. A second division was formed and then a third. Korfball began to be known in North London, Edmonton was formed. A team from Hornchurch began to play and Bromley in Kent was the home of the Esperanto Club. So Korfball began to spread, not just confined to London, teams appeared in Folkestone, Sheffield and Derby.

In the 1957-58 season the BKA Cup was formed, with Croydon being defeated by the eventual winners, Mitcham, in the semi final. The following year Croydon were defeated by Mitcham again, but this time in the final. Who would have predicted that this rivalry would continue for another 50 years!

Korfball in the UK was a 12-aside 3 zone affair with today's 8-aside 2 zone "micro korfball" game only first played in 1961. Micro korfball leagues started in the early 1970s and it wasn't until 1977 that the first indoor league started, in tandem with the outdoor league, with the outdoor league suspended over the worst winter months.

Kent was the second area to introduce the sport with their league starting in 1975. Norfolk Korfball Association was formed in 1989, closely followed by the Central England Korfball Association in 1990. The South West Korfball Association was formed in 1993 and joined the BKA in 1994. Korfball has been played in universities since the 1980s with the British Student Korfball Association formed in 1990. The BKA National League started in 1987 from the top two divisions of the London District Korfball Association plus Kwiek, Kingfisher and Guildford.

League Champions and BKA Cup Winners of recent years and yesteryear*

SeasonLondon LeagueBKA Cup
1948-49Wandsworth
1949-50Wandsworth
1950-51Mitcham
1951-52Mitcham
1952-53Wandsworth
1953-54Wandsworth
1954-55Croydon
1955-56Mitcham
1956-57Mitcham
1957-58CroydonMitcham
1958-59MitchamMitcham
1959-60MitchamWandsworth
1960-61MitchamMitcham
1961-62MitchamBec
1962-63WandsworthMitcham
1963-64Mitcham
1964-65Pegasus
1965-66Bec
1966-67Bec
1967-68Pegasus
1968-69Mitcham
1969-70Mitcham
1970-71Bec
1971-72Mitcham
1972-73Vultrix
1973-74Bec
1974-75Vultrix
1975-76Vultrix
1976-77Vultrix
1977-78Vultrix
1978-79Vultrix
1979-80Mitcham
1980-81Vultrix
1981-82Vultrix
1982-83Crystal Palace
1983-84Crystal Palace
1984-85Crystal Palace
SeasonNational LeagueBKA/EKA Cup
1985-86Mitcham
1986-87MitchamMitcham
1987-88MitchamMitcham
1988-89MitchamCrystal Palace
1989-90VultrixMitcham
1990-91MitchamMitcham
1991-92NomadsMitcham
1992-93VultrixVultrix
1993-94MitchamMitcham
1994-95MitchamMitcham
1995-96CroydonCroydon
1996-97MitchamMitcham
1997-98MitchamMitcham
1998-99MitchamMitcham
1999-00MitchamNomads
2000-01MitchamCroydon
2001-02InvictaInvicta
2002-03InvictaInvicta
2003-04MitchamInvicta
2004-05InvictaInvicta
2005-06MitchamMitcham
2006-07MitchamTrojans
2007-08TrojansTrojans
2008-09TrojansTrojans
2009-10TrojansTrojans 2
2010-11TrojansNottingham City
2011-12TrojansNorwich Knights
2012-13Trojans
2013-14Trojans-
2014-15
2015-16
2016-17
2017-18
2018-19
2019-20
2020-21
2021-22
2022-23

As the table shows, Croydon's first league championship was achieved in 1954-55. The club enjoyed a league and cup double in 1996, the same year as the club's Golden Jubilee. Croydon's most recent success is winning the BKA Cup in 2001.

Club archives reveal a Triumphal Sonnet was written by "Grosete" to celebrate the first league win in 1955:

Who will not curse that was not here this day;
Who will not weep that saw not triumph won.
Of Croydon and of Korfball is my lay,
Of victory gained without recourse to gun
Of sword, but with great sleight of hands and feet,
By skill, by cunning and by efforts long,
SustainÚd by success all foes to beat.
Crushed in one game when slumber did belong
Unto the eyes of all who fought that day;
Disgraced, but rising higher in recoil,
Defeating all with such abandon gay
That many thought that others could them foil
In this attempt to gain the victor's crown,
This shield, this title and this great renown.


*sourced from CKC archives and BKA booklet to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of British Korfball (David Hubbard May06)