Since forming in early 2013, one of the primary aims of the Manchester Killer Bees has been to play in the Dodgeball Premier League. Having fallen at the final hurdle in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, an undefeated 2015-16 league campaign yielded a place in the Premier League for the first time.
Ten teams will battle for the league championship over seven meetings at Leicester’s New College venue. This season is hotly anticipated by all at the UKDBA with a terrifically tight championship expected.
The campaign began successfully: a 10-4 defeat of Nottingham Sheriffs, league rivals from last year and a club with whom the Bees share a close relationship. Despite Nottingham’s Alex Youngman throwing himself around court in efforts to secure catches and accurate pre-throwing attacks from Michael Parry, the superior throwing power and team unity of Manchester shone through. Particularly strong throwing from Republic of Ireland’s Rob Kearns and head coach Aden Woodall ensured the Bees took 15 points from their first ever Premier League fixture.
The second fixture for the Killer Bees was against prior Premier League winners Meteors, a collection of players from around Leicestershire. Despite being reduced to five players for a yellow card in a previous tournament, Meteors began strongly. The Bees fought back swiftly in a heated and fast paced game that saw the teams trade points as well as a show reel moment for the sport. Having been hit by Scotland’s Chris Harper at the front of the court and with the ball sailing back into Meteors territory, former Bees club captain Liam McMahon launched himself over the dead zone and managed to secure the catch in mid air before landing, to the delight of his team mates and the gathered spectators. With the match then poised at 4 points apiece, the Lutterworth collective showed their experience and moved to a 10-4 final result, despite the best efforts of Alex Bembridge, frequently making catches when the final player left on court.
After brushing off the defeat, the Bees were back in battle against the boys of London Storm. Another newcomer to the league, London Storm had been entered due to the dissolution of the longstanding Leicester City Ligers. With the two big city teams probing the other for a weakness and struggling to find one, a tight and tense contest was decided by Manchester’s superior throwing accuracy combined with crucial catching from founding members Lewis Brimmell and Bru Cousins. The efforts of the Bees were enough to push the team to a hard fought 8-6 victory and secure 13 more points. The men ended the day with 32 points, laying a solid foundation for the season.