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.
On 2 July 2017, Honey Bee Alexandra Charlton and Worker Bee Sam Wrench (and potentially a couple of ‘late-runners’, currently TBC!) will be participating in the Southport 10km run, in order to raise money for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
The challenge poses a big task for both Alex and Sam, neither of whom have completed the distance before. Lets hope they think bee, and fly through the course!
The humble bee is a symbol of Manchester, representing the city’s history as a hive of activity during the industrial revolution. Manchester Bees Dodgeball and its members have grown quite attached to bees over the years, as has the city as a whole.
Earning their Keep
The bees’ importance isn’t limited to their symbolism in the North. Bumblebees are a vital part of the UK’s nature scene. As well as being adorable, (sort of) physics-defying, wonderful bumbling creatures, they actually contribute an awful lot towards the country’s nature and agriculture.
In the BCT’s own words, “it is well-known that bumblebees are great pollinators, and therefore have a key role in producing much of the food that we eat. Through the pollination of many commercial crops such as tomatoes, peas, apples and strawberries, insects are estimated to contribute over £400 million per annum to the UK economy and €14.2 billion per annum to the EU economy.”
You can find out more about bumblebees and the BCT’s efforts to save them, on the Trust’s website.
We at Manchester Bees Dodgeball would like to keep the bumblebee around. And you can help!
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!!”