Men’s 4th Team – University Cup

Event: University Cup
Date: 26th March 2016
Location: Leicester

Team:

  • Tim Fozard (c + armband)
  • Richard Groves
  • Balraj Dhingra
  • Ben Albin
  • Jordan Brett
  • Tom Lewis
  • Adam Patterson

Preamble

The Fantastic Fours arrived in good spirits ahead of our much anticipated University Cup appearance. Messages of support and encouragement had been raking in during the week and if training appearances were anything to go by, then the day was surely going to be one to remember for the 4s. Much of the training sessions consisted of reducing some of the team-members’ fear of the balls and teaching Jordan the basic rules of dodgeball. One-Pint failed to show up to any of these sessions so the early plan from Fozard was to flex his managerial muscles and bench One-Pint for the first game. This plan was scuppered when Adam Patterson failed to arrive at the sport centre at the designated meet time and as a result Captain Fozard’s ‘leave no man behind’ philosophy was quickly aborted and we set off for Leicester. This decisive action from the manager proved to be a sign of the ruthless streak that was to come from all members of the team (except Balbin).

Having drawn up some tactics the night before (and subsequently forgetting to bring these along), el Capitano spent much of the car journey thinking about the style of dodgeball we would employ. Our aim as a team was to progress from the group but we knew this would be highly dependent on what the outcome of the draw was. Upon arrival at the sports centre rumours were swirling that we had been drawn in one of the worst possible groups. Unfortunately, despite disbelief and denial, these proved to be true and we were faced with the prospect of not winning a single game all tournament (or even getting a single opponent out). In what was yet another test of managerial mettle, Fozard rallied the troops and prepared the team for an all Warwick affair. Much of the early attention and hype was focused on whether the captain would be using his left or right arm to throw – either prospect was a worrying one for the opposition (and for the crowd in the case of his left).

Group Stage – Match 1: Warwick Warriors IV vs Warwick Warriors I

There isn’t much to be said about this game, plus there’s only a couple of bits worth remembering anyway.

Within the opening seconds of the fixture Tim caught out an arrogantAkshay Shah with consummate ease, making what was in-reality a very difficult catch look like something very simple – a skill only the best dodgeballers are capable of. There’s a video of this a few posts down, watch it.

The second key moment was when Rich ‘the cannon’ Groves sent Oli Hague packing with a pile-driver of a throw – thwack.

To be completely fair to the Warwick 1s, they absolutely destroyed us, aside from the two highlights above (although as a team we possibly amassed at least 6 line-faults in this match). Fortunately for the fours, our performances could literally not get any worse.

Final score: Warwick Warriors IV 0 – 10 Warwick Warriors I

Group Stage – Match 2: Warwick Warriors IV vs Birmingham Lions 1

Prior to this game we were delighted to hear that our initial target had been met before even picking up a dodgeball – even if we lost every single game we would still be granted a progression to the knockout stages of the competition. Given the target was already met it would have been very easy for us to pack our things and leave with our heads held high but that’s not the way we do things in the fours. We prepared ourselves for the best Birmingham had to offer.

This match was another tough one proving too much for Jordan who resorted to bizarrely pushing Balbin off court resulting in him being out via the back line. “You’re all over the place, Balbin” was one of the angry shouts heard from the captain, only to be retracted moments later when he heard what had actually happened.

The highlights of the game came in the form of a slick counter attack from Bal who showed that despite the foam party hangover, his place on the wing was never in doubt. Quite incredibly, Fozard made not one, not even two, but THREE catches this match, equalling the total number he has made during his time at the University of Warwick. A sneaky pre-throw to the knee of a Birmingham player rounded off an accomplished performance from the captain. We lost every game though.

Final score: Warwick Warriors IV 0 – 10 Birmingham Lions 1

Knock-out Stage: Warwick Warriors IV vs Trent Turtles

We’d had the warmup games versus some pretty good teams, but now came the games which mattered: the knockout stages. We were hoping the draw would be slightly kinder to us this time round, and held out for a Warwick 3 v Warwick 4 showdown, but unfortunately yet again were dealt a reasonably tough blow: a match versus the Trent Turtles, a species of reptile native to Nottingham.

This fixture turned out to be something of an epic. We saw the best and worst of the 4’s at times, with excellent wing-play from Balraj and Rich but some quite simply inept dodgeball as well. For example, One-Pint deciding to roll one ball when we had three and then deciding to throw two anyway – i.e. gifting the turtles a ball to block with. This tactical error can only be because he didn’t attend any training sessions – we specifically worked on this type of situation the week prior.

Despite this, a truly thrilling contest resulted in us winning our first frame of the day. Wild celebrations ensued only for Tim to calm the men down and prepare for the next frame – the turtles were lined up and waiting. Every set that followed was extremely closely contested, with the fours often cruelly throwing away a lead. If ever a score-line didn’t truly reflect the closeness of the contest then this was it – cutting out minor mistakes may have resulted in a different outcome.

Final score: Warwick Warriors IV 2 – 8 Trent Turtles

Exhibition Match: Warwick Warriors IV vs Warwick Warriors III

After exchanging chat all day about who had the better team, the 3 and 4 captains decided to put their money where their mouth is and have a quick game to settle the disagreements. In a highly competitive game, the 4’s triumphed 6 – 4 amid cries of “cheat” from the opposition – not something you like to see on court, especially when the game was so fairly officiated by Katie Thompson. The winning moment was a stunning catch from One-Pint shortly after a catch-and-out via back-line from Jordan – scintillating stuff.

All-in-all our performances across the day improved greatly with each appearance and given that we had never properly trained together as a team our performances against some of the best dodgeballers at this level were nothing to be ashamed of. It was a pleasure sharing the court with you, gentlemen.

Final score: Unrecorded

– Tim Fozard (Men’s 4th Team player/captain)

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