You may have played a bit in school, joined a club at uni or perhaps you haven’t ever tried it before. But, odds are you’ve heard of the sport (even if you thought it was made up just for the film – I did too, to be honest).
If you live in or around Manchester and feel like getting active, meeting people and making friends, trying something a bit different or just fancy coming along to try something a little different, Manchester Bees Dodgeball could be just the club for you.
Our all-comers training sessions are held every Tuesday at Sugden Sports Centre during preseason, from 7.30-9.30. We have qualified and experienced coaches on hand to assist those of all levels of experience and ability, meaning preseason is the perfect time to come along and give it a go!
We also hold members’ sessions on Thursdays (also at Sugden Sports Centre from 7.30-9.30 for preseason) which are tailored towards fitness and development, and are suitable for those who are looking to sign up and compete for the club in the upcoming season.
If you’d like to get involved, please do come along! Sessions usually cost £3, but throughout August and September you can come along to your first session for free!
Two weeks ago, Bees Alex and Sam took on the Southport 10k, in an effort to raise money for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. This is their story…
The steel drum band started. The whistle went off. We don’t actually know if it was a whistle, the steel drum band was quite loud and we’d been running late so missed the safety talk, and were flustered. All we knew was that we were in a pen of runners-to-be, who promptly became confused. Then we understood; it was time. Sam & Alex commenced the running.
The first km was doable. A couple of people obviously thought “sod this, there’s a lot of us here, I’ll walk” and downed the pace after 20m. Alex & Sam were not those people. Those people had not been sponsored by friends of bees. They were not running in aid of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Unlike Alex & Sam.
At 2km, Sam Wench’s knees were still struggling. “My knees are struggling ” admitted Sam, because #realmen aren’t afraid to admit when their knees hurt. “Go on without me” said Sam, (Alex thought this was maybe somewhat sarcastic, as actually this slow-and-steady pace suited her very well, thank you very much), but Alex (somewhat heroically but also hilariously, without any slight hiss of snakey behaviour) responded “SAM, DON’T BE SILLY. We may not have signed up for Alderley Edge together [lol, soz, that was down to snakey behaviour] but we are going to get through this 10k together. I won’t leave you.” #Loyalty. Together, they continued.
It was just over 3km through the race. Alex was bored tbh. Sam’s knees hurt. A turning point was quite literally ahead for the Bees. Sam turned to Alex; “10k runners keep going straight here”. “Okay”, says Alex. Confusion shortly ensued. Sam, exhibiting extraordinary snakey intuition at 3.5km, had tried to send Alex off on the half marathon route. Hiss. At least the other 10k runner nearby found it funny… The course marshal corrected Alex just in time. Alex went full #Nibs and avowed revenge.
Alex, being a forward thinking sort, had brought headphones along. Sam hadn’t. Sam decided the two should listen to Sam’s favourite, most played songs to get them through. Almost immediately, the Spice Girls started playing. Naturally, Sam went full #SportySpice and serenaded Alex with the entire rendition, mid-run. Wannabe got these #WannaBees through to the 6km marker. Great stuff.
Not long before 7km, Alex and Sam saw ducks (“I bloody love ducks”, Alex had gasped, when they saw ducks) and were proceeding along the designated route. Alex was tired. Sam was being a bit too excitable and energetic for this far into a race (his knees had stopped hurting at around the 4.5k point). Sam, somewhat awkwardly decided to suggest that he and Alex “step it up” for the rest of the race. Alex didn’t particularly appreciate such a ridiculous suggestion, and politely let Sam know this.
Alex & Sam made it through 8km. As the sign for 9km neared, Sam looked across at Alex. “Shall we sprint finish?” He asked, clearly not realising how absurd this idea was. “I’d really rather not, my dear Sam Wench” replied Alex, definitely without swearing. Alex confirmed that Sam should indeed sprint away and try for a good time. Alex was quite happy to struggle on towards the finish on her own, and would see him at the finish line soon anyway.
Sam ran on. Alex isn’t entirely convinced the whole “oh my knees don’t work” story wasn’t just a ploy to lull Alex into a false state of security over the pair’s pace. Alex was very tired. Nevertheless, she persisted. Stepping up the final running pace just as much as she could, she soon noticed she could see Sam; slowing slightly in his brilliant efforts to sprint a finish. “GO ON SAM” bellowed Alex, in her freakishly loud shouty voice. Sam raised a hand, and raised his game.
Crossing the finish line, Sam had hit the time of 1:03:48. Alex, just over a minute later, crossed the line in 1:04:59.
Special thanks go to Christian Hadfield & Elliot Barker, who showed splendid swarmly support to Alex & Sam and generally made it a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable day overall. Excellent cheer-bee-ding form from both, 10/10, would recommend.
If you’d like to donate to the Bees’ fundraising efforts, you can donate via their online fundraising page, which will remain live until Friday 21 July 2017.
A massive thanks to all who have donated already donated and helped us reach our target of £250! You’re all absolutely wonderful.
Given dodgeball’s ever-growing popularity, this week we take a look at the future of the sport, focussing on the players and clubs affiliated with Mr Dodgeball’s Manchester Junior Bees!
Mr. Dodgeball clubs are now coaching over 200 children a week across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire.
The Manchester Junior Bees’ team is selected from members of all the clubs.
We are delighted and immensely proud of our Junior Bees for qualifying for this year’s National Finals in Leicester!
Having a clear pathway of progression from our junior clubs to the Manchester Bees Academy then on to the adult section is an exciting step forwards for dodgeball in the Manchester area.
The club sessions aim to teach the basics of dodgeball through varied drills and games, focussing on different skills each week and developing strategies and team play.
The standards of play at each club improve week on week. The Heaton Hurricanes broke all records recently with a fabulous turnout of 57 – and to top it off, the Hurricanes recently won the first ever Manchester Cup!
The friendly rivalry between the Hurricanes and their neighbours, the Avondale Avalanches, is demonstrated at our monthly inter-club tournament. Members of Manchester Bees’ various grown up teams regularly go along to help out and love watching the play and fantastic team spirit on display – the players are a true credit to their clubs and to Mr Dodgeball.
The quality of play at Handforth Hawks, a club launched by Mr Dodgeball around 18 months ago, has improved tremendously and the Hawks are now the lower junior trophy holders for the last 3 tournaments in a row!
What is also evident at these tournaments is the nurturing role the older children at the clubs take with the clubs’ younger players.
The growing popularity of Dodgeball means that Mr Dodgeball is about to open his 13th club in the region. The Macclesfield Marvels will be having their first session on Saturday 10 June (details below).
Our current junior clubs sessions are:
Horwich Heat Tuesdays, 5-6pm St Elizabeth’s Church HALL, Horwich BL6 6EU
Heaton Hurricanes Wednesdays, 6-7pm St Anne’s High school, Glenfield Road, Stockport, SK4 2QP
Handforth Hawks Saturdays, 9-10 Handforth Scout Hut, Old Road, Handforth.
Macclesfield Marvels Saturdays, 10.45-11.45 St Pauls Parish Centre, Glegg Street Macclesfield.
And what does Mr Dodgeball’s Chris Riley have to say about the Bees?
“Our hope is that our grass roots approach and affiliation with the Manchester Bees will lead to the next generation of international dodgeball players. We have some exciting talent at our clubs and can’t wait to see how they progress!
The boys’ standard is really high and we have high hopes for the girls too, in particular Caitlyn from Horwich Heat and Belle from Avondale Avalanche – so watch this space!
We can’t thank the Manchester Bees enough for their continuing support of Mr. Dodgeball’s clubs, members and the invaluable input given at our tournaments and events. We really couldn’t do it without you!!”
Whilst we all know the hive is based in Manchester, there’s no denying the Bees who call it home, like to migrate all over the world from time to time.
In April, one of our student member Bees, Sam Wench, flew all the way to South-East Asia to compete for Outkast International Wolfpack in the Anzac International Tournament, this year held in Singapore, and Bali’s Asia Beach Tournament.
Sun, sports and ‘Stingapore’ – The Anzac International Tournament
Having landed in Stingapore and attended a training session with Outkast to grapple with the six-ball rules and foam play, Sam played in the mixed and men’s tournaments at the Anzac International Tournament, held in Singapore on the 20 and 21 April.
With intense competition and experienced teams from countries including Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, the Outkast men made it through the group stages but succumbed in the quarter finals to Malaysia’s Earthshakers, who were the eventual winners of the contest, having demonstrated superb and consistent play throughout the tournament.
The Buzz from Bali’s Asian Beach Dodgeball Tournament
On 28 and 29 April, nine teams from six clubs went to Bali for the two-day dodgeball extravaganza, which included one cloth-ball division and a separate foam-ball division, both playing six-ball rules! Competition was strong with representatives from nine different countries, including Germany, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, and England (Go Sam!) around the world, competing for the titles.
The teams had a great time over the two day tournament and the finals involved not only some tough competition – the teams ended up fighting the setting sun, incoming tide and tiredness.
Outkast’s performance throughout the tournament was strong, with the team coming second in the foam division and fourth in cloth. Highlights included some great hits and catches and one particularly awesome triple catch, with our very own Sam making three catches in immediate succession… if only it was on film!
Check out Asia Beach Dodgeball’s video album of the tournament, below.
“It was an absolutely brilliant experience and goes to show how dodgeball can really open doors for travelling and making friends all round the world. It’s crazy that, a year after the Dodgeball World Cup in Manchester, I was on a plane to visit and play alongside friends I’d met there. It was great – and I’ve learned a lot about my own dodgeball technique and how to strengthen my performance. Plans are already in place for next year’s overseas adventures – Roll on Melbourne #Anzac2018!”
Over the last few weeks, we’ve presented the A to Z of being a Bee, you’ve been treated to the first and second instalments of Keeping Up With The Killers, and you’ve seen the thrilling account of the Worker Bees’ rise in the face of adversity, to their first league victories, aptly titled Workin’ 9-5, What a Way to Win a League Meet. You lucky things – we’ve been spoiling you.
But whilst the lads have been commanding respect in the Midlands, our ladies’ teams have been getting pretty dodgy up north in Sheffield. Just over halfway through Women’s League 1 North, it’s time to catch up with the Queen Bees and Honey Bees, with a selection of their Halftime Highlights.
“At the first league meet, when the teams realised we’d both done so well, having had an unbeatable day… We were top of the league table right from the start!” – Helena Law, Queen Bee, Ladies’ Coach
“When I moved to Manchester I had several clubs asking me to play for them. I’m really glad I chose the Bees because it’s a special thing we have going here. I just wish I’d signed up for tour in time #beegret” – Imy Young, Queen Bee, Deliverer of fantastic shutdowns
“I’ve really enjoyed the team road trips up to Sheffield and back, especially with two teams’ worth of cars in the convoy!” – Cat Bawtree, Honey Bee, Scotland Highlander
“We’ve got a great team spirit and with our #Bees1and2 so far this season, it’s only going to get better! Plus it gets me away from Aden for a while. I do love him but it is nice to have an afternoon off.” – Sian Ellis, Queen Bee, Supplier of Drugs (don’t worry, she’s a pharmacist)
“Just because I’ve collected fellow honey Vic en route to each meet, I’ve earned a chocolate milkshake from Maccies to enjoy on the way. The meets have been great and I’m full of love for the bees and our honeys squad is just #newbeegoals – and, well, #goals generally – but those chocolate milkshakes…” – Alex Charlton, Honey Bee, Blog Aficionado
“The general camaraderie of the two ladies teams, trips over the hills (rainbows!) Hair plaiting, glitter, having the honeys – and the lads who’ve come along too – support and cheering each other on in matches.” – Suzanne Vickers, Queen Bee, Northern Ireland Knight
Sunday March 26th, judgement day for the Worker Bees. After 4 disappointing league meets the boys knew it was imperative to return from Leicester with some wins to keep their hopes of survival alive.
The clocks had gone forward the night before, causing mass confusion in the ranks. Undeterred, the Workers set off on time under the stewardship of Thomas B. Shelbrooke, Welfare Secretary of the Bees and the sort of chap you can trust to know the time of day.
We made good time, stopping off at the Uttoxeter McDonald’s for a coffee to break the journey down. Familiar turf for the boys, frequented after most tournaments in the East Midlands. As deputy social sec I enquired if we could reserve a table for 7pm (BST). Sadly McDonald’s don’t take reservations at such short notice.
Upon arrival at New College Leicester we met up with Akshay “Ashley” Shaw, a member of the Hive who has migrated south for the warmer climes of Birmingham as Royton wasn’t quite cutting the mustard.
It was good to see Shaw as there had been rumours flying around of his impending transfer to London Storm to fill the gap on the wing of their 3rd team.
With the team fully assembled we changed and limbered up ready to take on Hinckley Revolution.
Disaster struck before the game had even begun! Shaw receives a yellow card, after absent-mindedly wandering across a game in progress. Our friends in Italy at the Ravenna Diablos have a phrase for such an act – ‘molto villaggio’. I forget how it translates into English. It should also be noted that David Streather “allegedly” committed the same crime but fled the scene, a real indictment of the Criminal Justice system.
In Shaw’s absence, the famous five got off to a cracking start, taking a 4-0 lead. After Shaw’s reintroduction things got a little shaky but the boys pulled through for a hard fought 9-5 win.
That’s right, we finally won a blinking match!
Next up for the Workers were Cardiff Dragons – the boys were keen to avenge their early season loss. Former Bee and Wales coach, Scott was amongst the Dragon’s line-up and as a former team-mate of both Storey and Barker, they were keen to win this battle. The opening forays of were close with neither side gaining the upper hand. Rising from the mist of old team-mate mind games was Kevin Johnson, wielding the sword of St George, who turned the tide in favour of the Bees. 11-3. Kevin, the Dragon Slayer.
Two wins from two matches! The boys went into the tea break with spirits high. Ash had to teach Barker how to drink juice through a “sippy cup”. Despite the unbeaten record, the boys remained fallible.
Next up were the league leaders, Raiders. A strong outfit enjoying the sort of season akin to Arsene’s invincibles of 03/04. The boys knew they’d have to be at their very best to even take a single game from the league leaders. Against all odds, going into the 6th frame of seven, we were still in it!
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. A couple of chances were missed, Elliot was caught out accidentally kicking a ball to the opposition and the Raiders triumphed 10-4. A respectable showing against a side who will do well in the DPL next season.
I’d like to take a moment to congratulate Andy “Angry” Lowther on avoiding another booking and thus avoiding a suspension.
Two wins for the day, something to build upon for the next two meetings. Survival is still in our hands.
The post-match shower is an integral part to any game day. It leaves you feeling fresh and ready for a potential lemonade later in the evening. New College’s showers receive a 4 thumbs up rating. Good warmth and power, just what you need after a hard day’s dodgeball.
We made our return to Uttoxeter’s finest eating establishment where much to our horror people were queuing out of the door. If only they had accepted our reservation.
The food was excellent as ever. Mike even managed a third win of the day earning himself a free milkshake on the McDonald’s Monopoly game, much to his delight.
General feelings after the day? Relief, happy and tired.
Welcome to the Nick Pinnock Cup Triple Header Event! This digital programme contains details on matches and team fixtures. For times and location details (as well as details on the Nick Pinnock Cup competition) please check out this info post.
The event will be family friendly, with children’s T-shirts on sale. We will have music and an announcer to explain the finer points of the game (but you can read ahead on the rules here!). Raffle tickets will be available throughout the day for some excellent prizes and the draw will take place at 18:00.
PRE-MATCH BUILD UP
Arrive just before the first game, from 4:15pm onwards. Grab yourself Manchester Bees training T-shirts, water bottles and more at the Honeycomb pop-up stall!
MATCH 1: MUDS vs Lancaster University 2nds @ 16:30
As both teams are from universities, this match promises to be a high-octane thriller full of powerful throws and stunning dodges, with both teams demonstrating their athletic prowess throughout.
MUDS have had an excellent start to the year, with highlights including coming 5th at University Championships and winning Plate Cups at the East Midlands Tournament and the North West Tournament. Their team for the Nick Pinnock Cup is made up of stalwart players who help make up the backbone of the club. Players to watch out for include Hannah Ward and Liam Ryder, who have both represented their countries on the international stage.
After being founded 2 years ago, and having not yet entered many UKDBA tournaments, both Lancaster University teams are an unknown entity. One thing is to be sure though, this plucky second team are certainly going to try to take their chance by beating MUDS and getting through to the next round of the Nick Pinnock Cup!
MATCH 2: Nottingham Sheriffs vs Manchester Worker Bees @ 17:15
This middle match will be a tense one, as it pitches two of the largest community clubs in the UK against each other. Nottingham Sheriffs will be looking to earn their spot in the next round but the Worker Bees don’t plan on giving it to them easily.
After being founded 3 years ago, the Sheriffs earned back to back promotions in 2015 and 2016, putting them firmly in the Dodgeball Premier League. Nottingham Sheriffs community club is one of the biggest in the UK, and attracts graduates from Nottingham and Derby universities alongside new players to the sport. They are an exciting team to watch, well known for their awesome catching ability.
The Worker Bees are Manchester Bees’ 2nd team and are a mixture of young, explosive talent and grizzled experience. Two weeks ago, Sheriffs narrowly beat the Worker Bees 6-4 at the English Open so you can be certain that the Worker will want to seek revenge during this game. Watch out for power throwing and a closely-knit team performance.
RAFFLE DRAW @ 18:00 – Buy your tickets on the day, great prizes up for grabs!
MATCH 3: Manchester Killer Bees vs Lancaster University 1sts @ 18:15
The grand finale will be played by the mysterious Lancaster University 1st team and local champions, the Killer Bees. The Killer Bees already have one eye on a Nick Pinnock Cup Finals day spot, but Lancaster will do everything they can to stay in the competition.
The Killer Bees have gone from strength to strength this season, with a victory at the Manchester Open (beating out 3 of the top ranked DPL teams in the process) and strong performances in the Dodgeball Premier League. The boys have been training hard in 5 ball rules and will be looking to use a combination of their experience, rapid throwing and expert catching ability to dominate the court.
Lancaster University’s top 6 players will be ready to test themselves against an experienced DPL side, and they don’t plan on making it easy for the Killer Bees. Look out for Ole Kamalathan who will be using his speed and a fastball throw to deftly take down opposition.
Wondering about whether to give dodgeball a go, but daunted by the prospect of meeting new people and/or trying a whole new sport? We’ve all been there. To help you get over those first day nerves, we’ve asked some of the swarm to tell us about their thoughts and first impressions from their first ever session (however long ago that may be) and how they feel now.
David Streather – Worker Bee, five months’ service
“The first thing I felt was how welcoming everyone was. Everyone made a real effort to say hello and not just dive into throwing balls at me. The more senior players and coaches made sure new people know what they’re doing and don’t get left behind. It was really easy to join and settle in quickly. Going for a drink after helped too!”
Alexandra Charlton – Honey Bee, one years’ service
“Everyone immediately seemed so lovely. I’d been so apprehensive, especially as I’d never even held a dodgeball before. The nerves didn’t last long – after that I think I just felt exhausted – and it was so much fun! I was taught to throw a dodgeball straight away (thanks coach Helena!) and felt like part of the swarm so quickly. I also ached almost constantly for the first couple of weeks, but I don’t think I’d realised how much fun sports could be!”
Tom Shelbrooke – Worker Bee, four years’ service
“My first thought at my first bees session (and coincidentally the first bees session) was ‘huh, this is good. I wonder how long this will last for.’ It has now changed to ‘huh, this is alright. I hope it, and I, last for a while longer!’ Not a pensive reflection on mortality, I’m just not getting any younger and younger players are coming through the ranks and will leave me by the wayside!”
[Editor’s note: there’s always an argument for age vs. experience and having been here from the bee- ginning, Shelly certainly has the experience!]
Cat Bawtree – Honey Bee, six months’ service
“I first thought, ‘these people are SO friendly, this is a bit much..!’ Now I know these people are, indeed, an over-the-top bunch of weirdos. But I’m fairly fond of them all.”
Christian Hadfield – Soldier Bee, two and a half years’ service
“I’d played dodgeball while studying at Warwick university, but I was very rusty when I approached my first Bees session. I was probably more worried about embarrassing myself, but everybody was so welcoming, and I ended up looking like I’d stepped on to a dodgeball court before! After a few more training sessions and a lovely walking social in the Peak District I already knew I’d found a great group of friends. Nowadays I can just relax and enjoy myself at training, leaving the stress for the tournaments!”
Kelly Edmunds – Aussie Bee, on sa-bee-tical in native Melbourne following eighteen months’ service
“I was so baffled that all these people were happily joking and laughing one minute, and hurling these dodgeballs at each other the next. We were introduced to everyone within minutes of arriving and the warm up really eased us into it. It seems silly now that we were even nervous in the first place.”
Besides being the most exciting, fun sport in the world, dodgeball is also brilliant for developing different aspects of fitness. If you’re looking to get into shape in 2017, check out how Dodgeball could help you improve!
Cardiovascular endurance and recovery rate
It isn’t just the last second catches that will get your heart beating! Ever heard of HIIT? Well, it’s one of the best ways to lose weight (google it) and with intense games lasting for 3 minutes, dodgeball is a brilliant high intensity workout! With up to 5 balls coming at you at speeds over 60mph (they don’t hurt, promise!), avoiding being hit for a full 3 minute game is no simple task. Dodging, ducking, dipping and diving your way to victory will get your heart pumping, especially in a match that consists of 7 games.
To be a top player, you need to be able to throw hard. Players can throw more than 50 times in one match, and that develops not only power (being able to move an object quickly), but also muscular endurance (being able to move it quickly many times). This will tone up those arms by throwing, legs by jumping and all the lateral movements make for a good core workout too!
Coordination Dodgeball is a very precise game. Mere centimetres can mean the difference between making the game winning hit and missing completely. The slightest change in the position of your hands can mean either a stunning catch or a dropped ball. You need to be able to track a moving ball and decide how best to move to avoid it. Soon after picking up Dodgeball, you’ll notice that you are more aware of space and how you fit into it. Bonus result: You’ll be far less likely to bang into your dining room table!
Everything in Dodgeball is fast. To be a good player, you need to be able to see a ball moving towards you and make your dodge before it reaches you. Sounds easy with one ball, but try seeing 5 balls in the air and diving away from them. It’s tough! But have no fear, you will get better and better at reacting to surprise attacks. After a few months of dodgeball, you’ll be an expert at saving dropped mugs from falling onto the kitchen floor.
One year on from joining Manchester’s most friendly alternative sports club, Alexandra Charlton takes a look back at how she fulfilled her New Year’s resolution to get active and meet new people.
2016 is nearly over. It’s been a whirlwind and the Manchester Bees have enjoyed lots and lots of dodgeball, community and social events throughout the year.
And I should know, because I held my first dodgeball in 2016. I threw my first throw, caught my first catch, buzzed through my first Bees’ social and helped out with my first Junior Dodgeball Tournament. I played in my first Open as a Queen Bee, and competed in my first Tournament as a Honey Bee. And then I did all those things a few more times. It’s been a great year.
Pre-2016, I was a normal-if-slightly-lazy, newish-to-Manchester young professional. This time last year, I made a new years’ resolution – or, thinking about it, I made two: to get more active and meet more people. When I decided to join dodgeball (and a quick Google search led me to the Bees), I killed two birds with one stone. Not literally of course, because bees are friends of nature.
In January, I started attending training sessions and met some of our coaches, who are the perfect balance of encouraging, experienced and passionate.
In April, I volunteered at the first ever Dodgeball World Cup, held here in Manchester, watching teams from around the world compete to become World Champions under the new 5-ball rules.
In May, I played my first Open Tournament with the Queen Bees and my competitive nature really kicked in. If you’re interested in competition, there are literally leagues for that. If you’re more of a mellow, non-competitive sort, we run all-abilities training sessions on Tuesdays and have regular (bees) knees-ups at our socials.
One of the best choices I made in 2016 was joining the Bees. I got more active and made lots of friends in one simple step. Coming up in 2017, there is plenty to make you a busy bee: as well as regular training and socials, we’ll have the Bees’ summer league, Tour, and many other events. The 2017 European Championships will take place in Glasgow and, if previous international tournaments have anything to go by, there’ll be Player-Bees and cheer-bee-ders in attendance.
For anyone thinking about giving dodgeball a go, whether a novice or a seasoned player, our first 2017 all-comers session is 8-9.30pm on Tuesday, 10 January at Manchester Academy School, M14 4PX.
Come along and give it a go! From my experience, you won’t regret it.