With the Dodgeball Premier League at its halfway point, it’s time for another episode of Keeping Up With The Killers…
At the second meeting of the 2017 DPL, the Bees faced Dirty Ducks, a group of graduates from the once all-conquering Warwick University, still plying their trade at this level. Lineups for both teams were different to usual, with the absence of both Ross McGuigan and Bru Cousins allowing Andy Lowther his first taste of Premier League action, whilst a number of the Ducks had appeared to have flown south for the winter, necessitating two guests to join the flock.
The Bees began in confident fashion and dispatched the Ducks 8-6, earning 13 points from the encounter. A match up with one time fierce rival Bedford Mighty Eagles was next. The Bees could not turn early leads into game wins despite their best efforts and suffered a chastening 12-2 defeat.
The final action for the Bees at the second meeting was a match with Hinckley Dodgeball Club’s Jammy Dodgers, the only surviving team from the first ever Dodgeball Premier League in 2010-11. The Killer Bees raced into a 6-0 lead before the experience of JD allowed them to bring the game back to 6 points apiece.
With the Bees down in the final game, it fell to Club Captain Rob Kearns to make two catches in the final seconds to earn a 7-7 draw.
At the third league meeting, the Bees were to face the three teams they had yet to encounter in the DPL. However, before any play could take place, league rivals London Storm came looking for aid from the Manchester club.
One of the London players had forgotten his official playing shirt; with the strict enforcement of apparel rules by the UKDBA, London would not be able to play without matching kit. Friends with many of the club members, the Bees wasted no time in donating their kit to London in order for them to be able to play as London Swarm and complete their match.
In Manchester’s first match of the day, having had their kits returned (slightly warmer and wetter than when donated) the Bees faced Leeds Snipers, rivals from last season’s NDL1 and a team to whom the Killers have lost only once in nearly four years.
The teams traded points throughout the match and despite the best efforts of Lewis Brimmell and former Leeds player Alex Bembridge, neither team could gain control from the other, with the match ending a 7-7 draw.
With current Premier League Champions Leicester Minotaurs next, the Bees knew they had to raise their game. The game was well and truly raised, with Manchester racing into a 5-1 lead thanks to important catches from Aden Woodall and Liam McMahon. The Leicester team began to show why they were champions last season and clawed back to lead 7-5 heading into the final match.
With a large crowd looking on, Bru Cousins made a game changing hit on an unsuspecting Alan Soltani followed by a catch on Minotaurs captain Dan Ryan, shifting momentum to the Manchester Killer Bees, who were able to see out the final game and earn a 7-7 draw.
Wessex Wolves, rivals from last year’s NDL1, were the final team left to play. The Bees knew that a convincing victory would secure a top half placing at the season’s halfway point. With strong performances from all players, particularly Rob Kearns and DPL debutant Ross McGuigan, the Bees defeated the Wolves 12-2 and earned 17 points from the fixture.
Currently sitting in fourth place with 91 points, the Killer Bees are 19 points behind Bedford Mighty Eagles in third and 12 points clear of Nottingham Sheriffs in fifth.
How will the rest of the season play out? Stay tuned to Keeping Up With The Killers to find out…