Sport writer Kieren Williams reports on the UoB Kickboxing Team's latest competition successes in a four-part special for Redbrick Sport, in Part 4, he reports on the evening of finals for UoBWritten by KierenJWilliams on 4th May 2018
International Selection and Early Season Success for Birmingham Lions Dodgeball
Sports Writer Rachael Potter discusses the recent success of the Birmingham Dodgeball Team
Four current Birmingham students and three alumni have been selected for the 2017/18 England Lions Dodgeball squad following a lengthy and competitive trial process.
Joe Brown and Nathan Christopherson have been selected for the senior men's squad, and current Birmingham first team vice-captain Holly Edmonds and alumna Lottie Millington have been selected for the senior women's squad. Alumnae Cesca McCarthy and Sakhi Sumaria, and current club captain Rachael Potter have been selected for the women's development squad. This is the most successful year for UoB at England trials, made even more impressive given it was the most competitive trials yet with a record 115 people attending the open trials in September. England Lions are the current men's and mixed World and European Champions, while the women are ranked third in the world.
However, this isn't the first England selection for Birmingham. Holly Edmonds and Lottie Millington recently represented England at the 2017 European Dodgeball Championships in Glasgow in August, both gaining silver medals in the women's category following a narrow loss to Austria, and Millington also winning gold in the mixed team. Birmingham Lions alumni were also representing Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the Championships and current physiotherapy student and women's coach Jennie Ford was playing for the Republic of Ireland.
2018 is an important year for international dodgeball. The second ever Dodgeball World Cup will be taking place in August, in Madison Square Garden in New York; the iconic venue demonstrating the huge rise in popularity of the sport worldwide and putting dodgeball one step closer to becoming a mainstream sport. With the Northern European Championships in Middlesbrough in May and the 2018 European Championships in Italy in October taking place next year as well, there is plenty of opportunity for international selections.
This year has also seen the launch of the new national governing body for dodgeball, British Dodgeball and the first few open tournaments of the year have led to success for the Birmingham Lions. Both men's and women's first teams made it to the plate finals of the Leicester Open back in September, with the women stepping up and defeating two Super League teams in the Manchester Open on their way to 3rd place.
Next up was the Yorkshire Open and a 6:15am coach departure. The women's first team had a tough group and, despite winning both their games against the eventual winners Belfast Utd, ended up in 5th overall after winning play-off matches against Sheffield Arrows and Birmingham 2nd's. The 2nd's finished in 6th, showcasing some amazing debut performances and a win against Sheffield Arrows. The men's team fared better; with the second team defeating the 3rd's in the plate semi-final but going on to lose the plate-final in a frustrating overtime finish to Sheffield Silver Arrows. The men's 1st's won their group stage comfortably and made it all the way to the cup final with an incredibly close overtime semi-final victory over Belfast Utd. The final was equally close, but the team lost by one set to Super League team Leicester Minotaurs and took home the silver medal.
Last weekend was the turn of our new members to shine on home turf in the University Fresher's Championships. Both teams, which were mixed gender, topped their groups and stormed through the quarter-final stages. An all-Birmingham final was on the cards, but unfortunately both teams lost in overtime (again), with the Birmingham 2nd's taking the match all the way to sudden death. Overall it was an impressive achievement for such inexperienced players, many of whom were playing in their first ever competition. So far it has been a great start to the season for the dodgeball club, and with the start of the university leagues on 4th November, it is shaping up to be a successful season for the Lions.
Written by Rachael Potter.