Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge: Daniel Tidey reports on the inaugural English Open Dodgeball Tournament and the success of the Men’s 3rds
Birmingham Lions 3rds over-performed as the inaugural English Open Dodgeball Tournament came to the NIA, Birmingham, with the best 28 teams from the UK and Austria in the country coming together for a fierce tournament.
The Lions 3rds were up against it from the start, and having been grouped with the Meteors, the pre-tournament favoruites, there was effectively only one remaining qualification spot to be fought between the Lions, Manchester Worker Bees and Southampton Pirates. They got off to a good, but contentious, start with a 6-4 victory over Manchester Worker Bees. It was a very stop-start game with lots of decisions to be made by the referees – all in the favour of the Lions, so much so that, in the end, the Bees forfeited as a result of this and too many complaints. Next came Southampton Pirates, the match in which they were most likely, prior to the tournament, to get a win. However this finished in an exhilarating 5-5 draw (16-9 to the Pirates).
The last group game was against the Meteors. Little was expected of the team and they, unsurprisingly lost 8-2, but managed to get a frame against the eventual winners, something that many other teams cannot say. This meant, going into the final game between the Bees and the Pirates, there would be a nervy wait to see who would qualify. The Bees needed a convincing 10-0 win to snatch that qualifying spot. Duly they won, thankfully only 6-4, meaning the 3rds were through to play Winchester Bullets, who beat the Freshers 10-0.
Quite frankly, not many people gave the Lions much of a chance, with Winchester in the same league as our 1sts. However, with a home crowd and pressure on the opponents, a miracle could happen – and did. 2 frames into the Round 2 contest and the Lions trailed 4-0 (both frames lasting the whole three minutes). The crowd spurred them on, with 20 other Lions supporting them. In what would prove to be a tense final part of the game, the Lions fought back, winning the third and fourth frames (4-0 and 6-0 respectively), to ensure that the game had to be decided in the fifth frame. Unquestionably, the final frame was a nervous affair, with the momentum changing constantly. The Lions held their own, and ended up edging it 2-0, to the jubilation of the whole team and the supporting crowd.
However, the jubilation was soon to be quashed by the Minotaurs in the quarter finals, who beat the Lions 6-2. Losing in the quarter finals is an outstanding performance by this team, consisting of captain Tim Husselbury, Matt Jones, David Streather, Rob Gray, Jay Martin and fresher Will Blanchard. A superb performance by all 6 players, not at all harming their chances of selection for the 2nd or 1st teams, leaving coach Tom Worrall with a headache for future picks.
Other Lions teams sadly couldn’t achieve such feats, with the fresher’s team losing every game, but turning some heads in the process, in their maiden tournament. The 2nds came third in their group, with one win, meaning they qualified for the consolation Quarter Final, in which the lost to Southampton Pirates 6-2. Finally, the 1sts narrowly missed out on winning Group A to the Jammy Dodgers by 2 points, meaning they had the nigh on impossible task of facing the Meteors, in which they lost 6-0. Not a shambolic defeat as the Meteors went on to claim overall victory, to the real surprise of no-one. It’s necessary to mention that the Womens Lions team won their respective tournament at the Munrow Centre at the University of Birmingham. It was a great day out for all involved, and a night out to match in celebration.