Friday, 26 November 2010


3 matches (best of 3).
Winner of group qualifies for final to play fellow group winner.

Group Patches
The First Timers
Danger Moose
The Awful Dodgers

Group Chuck
Ball Busters
Ausweichen Kugel
The Opium Addicted Chinamen
The Postmen

Saturday, 20 November 2010

"All we need to do is turn up" (Steven Barrett 2010)

.........might have been an overly confident statement Manager Barrett would have made in the bar last Thursday buoyed by the clean sweep of results achieved that night.

In reality..the tension was getting to him.....the fixture list had been analysed....permutations had been permutated....he even thought about complaining to the fixture secretary about the fact that arch rivals Dick 'n' Balls had been drawn to play Group A duffers 'Taking the Michael' TWICE....a stiff letter had been drafted (on cardboard) and signed by disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

The teams had been selected based on the perceived strength of the opposition. Key players had been hassled to abandon important business meetings, cancel vital operations and dump any partners who interfered with their attendance. No stone had been left unturned. Manager B was confident he'd done everything he could do to enhance the A.Dodger's chances of making final nights.

So what happened in the run up to first game? Our two biggest hitters had work commitments and after I'd sent a very detailed fixtures list to everyone else I has confronted by statements such as "Who are we playing?", "What time do we start? I haven't left the office yet!" and "Do we have to wear those bloody flat caps again?".

It's difficult running a Dodgeball team. Which is why Manager Barrett's drunken claims the previous week proved to surprisingly prophetic. Whereas the Awful Dodger's may have been lacking in the super skills, fitness and sometime gamesmanship of SWAT. We have a strong and reliable squad bound together by commitment, camaraderie and the opportunity to drink cheap beer and play 'free' ping pong at the end of the evening.

Something Dick 'n' Balls and Bad Balls Inc. clearly lack. With three places up for grabs amongst five teams for finals night, no-shows from two of the contenders meant that the Awful Dodger's job was made easier. But we still had to win a few games.

So how did we do? With the format reduced to a one set winner takes all (unless you draw) format. There was no room for complacency.

Set 1: v The First Timers
On paper the match against the First Timers was going to be our closest game and therefore a 'must win'. The First Timers were lying 4th in their division with a finals night place to secure for themselves as well. With this in mind and a strong start needed a strong side was sent out. But was it really necessary? The First Timers were either lacking key players or the standard of the Group A was as expected shockingly poor in comparison to the opposition we had faced in our own league. A disciplined, if unspectacular performance from the team saw a comfortable victory. We were on our way! There weren't many highlights in this game and I ashamed to say that I harangued the referee at one time to send off some poor girl who had dropped a catch off my own throw and forgotten to walk. Oh dear...that's Bad Boys Inc. territory, but I couldn't risk British stiff upper lip compromising our chances.

Result: WIN

Set 2: v The Hothams
Lying bottom of Group A and having previously been trounced by Group B whipping boys, The Jammie Dodgers, this was always going to be a formality. It would be easy to degrade the Hothams for their lack of Dodgeball ability, but The Awful Dodgers are not about that. The fact that they had turned up week in, week out to get thrashed and clearly still enjoyed it, is to be celebrated. The Hothams squad also includes one of the most diverse age ranges of all of the teams which leads me to suspect (until further research) that they are a family team.
Sideline observer and wannabe Awful Dodgers 1st Team coach, Jason Coggles, commented that this match was "one of our worst and most painful victories to watch". Tough words Jason but you were not faced with the same moral dilemmas that faced the players on court.
They were: "How hard should I throw a Dodgeball at a woman who is old enough to be my mother?"
"Is this another 'Jammie Dodgers' defeat in the making? and
"How many times do I have to catch the ball to let Jeff back in only to see him DROP ANOTHER EASY CATCH?"
Hats off to Jeff (and by this time most of the Dodger's had already discarded of their ever shrinking Primark Flat caps) that performance will probably go down as one of the singularly most terrible showings in a set by one player in Awful Dodger's history.


Set 3: v Danger Moose

With the Opium Addicted Chinamen having lost their first match, a couple of victories under our belts, and the two no-shows from close rivals, one point is all we needed to finish 3rd in the league and guarantee a finals night performance. However, defeat would have put us in the awkward situation of facing a last match 'must win'.

Confident in his squad Manager Barrett retired to the bar and pint in hand, witnessed one of the most exciting games of Dodgeball the Awful Dodger's have ever played in. Placed 2nd in Group A having only lost two matches, Danger Moose should have been too much for us.
Did they underestimate the Awful Dodgers and field a weakened side or was the standard of Group A really that poor?
The AD dominated the early proceedings before it became clear that they had failed to eliminate Danger Mooses star player. A succession of catches by 'Chief Moose' left the teams back on even terms and when Jason saw one of his shots simultaneously dropped, caught, re-dropped and regained by TWO of the opposition, the balanced swung in the oppositions favour. It was then that Jeff, no doubt shamed by his prior shocking performance, stepped up to the plate and dragged the team back into the game with a vital catch followed by a couple of key hits.
In the dying seconds the game was 2 on 2 and the cry went up that a Moose had been hit. The referee didn't spot it, a draw was declared and the Awful's trudged off caught complaining about being robbed.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Manager Barrett was safe in the knowledge that the point gained was enough to secure a finals night place. Something he'd neglected to tell his team! It was good to see the competitive fire still burnt bright in the souls of the players.
Had that not been the case I would have no doubt, thrown my pint aside,  stormed on court pointing at my (non-existent) watch, whilst my ever reddening face yelled at the referee. Just like Man. Utd. supremo 'Sir Whiskey Nose' himself.

RESULT: TIE (and finals night qualification)

Again, preferring the bar, I sent the team out safe in the knowledge our goals had been achieved.
Again, they didn't know it!

Set 4: v De Capita
Third from bottom of a poor league De Capita, the only company side in the competition, should have been easy pickings. However, despite only turning up with four players De Capita's management had shown some vital tactical skills by negotiating with Group A 'SWAT' wannabes Ball Busters to borrow a couple of players for each of their matches. The result was an unjust defeat for the AD. The most notable events of the game were Laurent gaining Dodgeball karma but hitting someone else in the happy sack following his pain against SWAT and fittingly Vi, being the last Dodger standing as she had been in our first ever outing.
In my humble opinion, the victory for De Capita was a hollow one. As a previously lower league side, if they make finals night as a result of their ringers, do they seriously expect Ball Busters to lend them the same players again? Methinks not.


Bring on finals night!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

One Set Wonder Night Fixtures - Key games highlighted

Approx Time

Ball Busters v Dick & Balls
The Postmen v SWAT
Rolling Thunder v Bad Balls Inc
Taking The Michael v Can’t Dodge This

First Timers v Awful Dodgers
The Hothams v Jammie Dodgers
De Capita v Opium Addicted Chinamen

Danger Moose v Ausweichen Kugel

Ball Busters v SWAT
Taking The Michael v Dick & Balls

Rolling Thunder v Ausweichen Kugel

De Capita v Bad Balls Inc

First Timers v Opium Addicted Chinamen

The Postmen v Jammie Dodgers

Danger Moose v Can’t Dodge This

The Hothams v Awful Dodgers

The Postmen v Dick & Balls

Rolling Thunder v Can’t Dodge This

The Hothams v Opium Addicted Chinamen

Taking The Michael v Bad Balls Inc

Ball Busters v Jammie Dodgers

Danger Moose v Awful Dodgers
First Timers v Ausweichen Kugel

De Capita v SWAT

Danger Moose v SWAT

First Timers v Jammie Dodgers

The Hothams v Ausweichen Kugel

Ball Busters v Bad Balls Inc

De Capita v Awful Dodgers
The Postmen v Can’t Dodge This

Rolling Thunder v Opium Addicted Chinamen

Taking The Michael v Dick & Balls

Each match is one set only. Two points for a win, one for a draw, none for losing, La Losers!
Each match will be 2.5 minutes long and will end then. The team with most players left will win 3 points, the losers receive nothing! If teams are tied they receive one point each.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

"Walkover and a Winter Wonder catch!"

"Dodgeball's fly, are you dipping?
On the court, don't be tripping,
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight,
Watching a 'Winter' Wonder catch"
On announcement of the Awful Dodger's final team line-up for the last group fixture's of the season, Dodgeball pundits all over the country raised eyebrows and questioned the chances of our success in any of the evening's fixtures.

Noting that the Dodger's usually favour the muscular presence of J.Blackmore (injury) J Murray (work commitments) and the precision of T.Cuthbert (gig) and L.Robin (work) and the tactical genius of J.Coggles (gig) the 'experts' opinions seemed valid. The less said about Rob's excuse (needed for the work football team) the better!

What could not be denied of the squad tonight was that they had heart, enthusiasm, girl power and commitment ...and in my case, a very bruised knee.

The team for Thursday was:
A. Bono, V.Luu, K.Winter, S.Barrett, E.Pearce and our regular ringer and CBBC presenter J.Turner (get yourself  and any kids down to the Vaudville Theatre, London this chrimbo

Match 1: v Dick 'n' Balls

The team were pumped and ready to 'suck it to' Dick 'n' Balls. The warm up even included me unexpectedly getting a lot of head(shots). However it seemed apparent that D'n'B had put in limp no-show. We'd won by default!!! However, after a friendly against Auschweichen Kugel, it became clear that it wasn't time for any 'premature celebration'. We had a real game to win.

Result: Awful Dodgers 2 Dick 'n' Balls 0 (Walkover)

The 'victory; against DnB was a welcome bonus as it was a game we would have probably struggled to win with even our strongest line-up. Having already qualified for finals night it appeared they were above turning out against the so-called lower lights of the league. Ausweichen Kugel on the other hand proved to us that their 2 wins over us were no fluke by beating us a 3rd time. The friendly was most notable for the appearance on the opposition of the 'Awful Dodgers' top transfer target Karen Jeff who will hopefully be appearing for us next season to replace Vi.
Karen: We're not usually that bad!!!

Match 2:  v Can't Dodge This

Lying 2nd bottom of the league, but having achieved something we'd failed to do in beating the Jammie Dodger's twice, 'Can't Dodge This 'weren't to be underestimated one bit.

This assumption was to be proved worryingly accurate as they quickly went 1-0 having clearly learnt some valuable lessons from their first Dodgeball season. It was now time for the Awful Dodgers to show some mettle. The 2nd set proved to be hardly fought and probably one of the most exciting games of Dodgeball the Awful Dodgers had played.

When you're on court its always hard to see what other people are achieving, so forgive me in glorying in my application of one of Dodgeball's finest underhand tactics, 'hiding a ball behind your back'. Having seen Vi last week become the first Dodger to pioneer this move last week with the 'red ball' being the owner of a significantly larger arse I decided to try this move out with a full size ball. The result? This treat worked a treat as I eliminated CDT's best player who briefly complained that I'd "cheated" before realising that it was perfectly within the rules.
Game on and having been eliminated myself shortly afterwards by a stinging nut shot I had a grandstand seat to bear witness to one of the finest moments of the A.Dodger's first season.
The final seconds were ticking away and the dosger's were down by one when much to the team's horror Vi took a potentially game losing hit. Crikey!
As the ball looped towards the flow and the witnessing Dodger's realised they were slumping to a season ending defeat, in a fraction of a second, it became clear that there was still hope. The cry went up of "Catch It".

In year's to come when they make 'The Awful Dodger's: The Movie', Kyla Winter's role will probably be played by Keira Knightly's prettier younger sister and even then, this scene will be be filmed using a stunt woman. It will also be in High Definition, 3D Slow Motion and possibly even smellivison.

However I saw it in real time and it was very impressive! Kyla launched herself forward to grab the ball milliseconds before it hit the ground. The clock hit zero and the Awful Dodger's were back in the game!

The deciding set was another entertaining affair and through  mixed of euphoria and discipline the AD's saw of a slightly dispirited CDT to achieve a vital 100% record for the evening.

Well done everyone!

Awful Dodgers 2 Can't Dodge This 1

Monday, 8 November 2010

Awful Dodger's light up T47 prior to Fireworks night.

Be warned. I'm going to attempt as many firework puns in this e-mail as is humanly possible. This could blow up in my face. Someone might get burned.

Match 1: v Opium Addicted Chinamen
What better way to start a bonfire night evening than to play a team claiming to be representative of the country that gave the world gunpowder? With the OAC one place above us in the table everyone knew a win was vital and we had been plotting for victory. The Dodger's exploded out the traps whizz-banging to a one nil lead in record time. At one point a saw some excellent teamwrk from the Dodger's when two of our boys expertly took out one of their girls with a co-ordinated attack. She'd been scorched by a 'Guy Fork'(s)!!!!
In days of yore, when I walked to university everyday in Sheffield, I passed one of the city's most iconic  and ugliest landmarks. The Chinese Fireworks Company factory (pictured). Everyday I did the same thing. I crossed at the traffic lights to the other side of the road in order to keep a wide berth of the crumbling edifice in case something blew up.....(It was a strange place and you never saw the local factory workers around doubt if you had walker into their staff bar as a stranger there would have been raised eyebrows....if they hadn't all brunt them off!)
Unfortunately it was this desire for self preservation that led the Dodger's flame to be doused in the 2nd set.
A lack of team organisation led to a slow start and the team were caught unawares like a man guarding 36 barrels in a cellar underneath the House of Lords. The AD's own little sparkler, Kyla Winter, was left to glow for a few brief seconds before the OAC turned up with a metaphorical bucket of sand and extinguished her resistance.
The third set saw some the phoenix rise from any dying embers in the form of a key catch from Tristan Cuthbert. We had our first win in 6 games.

Awful Dodgers 2 Opium Addicted Chinamen 1

Match 2: v SWAT
It was never going to be easy against that Towering Inferno of SWAT, but despite the result and some encouraging play from our own firefighter 'Fred Adair' we put ourselves into a position to take a set of the league leaders. Unfortunately things started to go wrong when Laurent took a shot in the 'Roman Candles and Catherine Wheels' only to leave emergency substitute and team captain, Steve Barrett, to "piss on his own Bonfire" when he dollied up an east catch to the a SWAT team who were burning out. Sorry!

Awful Dodgers 0 SWAT 2

Match 3:  v Bad Balls Inc
If Laurent had 'Bad Balls' after his unfortunate mishap in the 2nd game, he certainly didn't show it in the 3rd.
Pitched in a vital game, against a team who had it a hot streak of form, the rocket arms of the Awful Dodger's heavy artillery  fired with deafening ferocity in our most competitive game yet. Bad Balls Inc were a decent side, but they didn't reckon on our secret weapon! My knobby knee!
Once ("accidentally, Steve!"....AD lawyer) in the side of the head of the star player (and Ron 'Weasley lookalike) of BBI the games turned. With time running our and the Dodger's on top we showed some rare tactical nous and played time out.....well that was until Jason Coggles went for a glory shot in the dying seconds and nearly got caught. Much to the disgust of his fellow last man standing and team captain. Fortunately the red hot fire of Jason's launch singed the palms of the waiting catcher and the Dodger's had sealed another vital win.

Awful Dodgers 2 Bad Balls Inc. 0

Back to the bar for toffee apples and candy floss. Good luck next week!