English Open – Warwick Warriors II

Line-up:

Nathan Thompson (C)
Matt Manns
Khaled Gholmieh
Michael Ash Javaid
Ollie Richards
Thomas Lake
Tom Lawson
Sam Pounds (his mum)

Preamble:

With the 2’s suffering from a number of injuries collected over the previous few weeks and months, our chances were not looking particularly good heading into one of the largest and toughest tournaments of the year. Nonetheless, following our incredible luck with the main draw, which put us into a group with Portsmouth 3s, London Storm 2s and Birmingham 3s, things were looking up for us. That is, until 2am Sunday morning, when Michael dropped out due to illness. An exact cause is unconfirmed at this point, but anonymous sources mentioned the previous night’s Chemistry Ball as a potential factor… This led to Sam Pounds’ last minute call up, a decision that was slightly regretted by team captain Nathan when Sam turned up late to the church on Sunday morning having only got about 2 hours sleep the night before…

THE GROUPS

Game 1 – Portsmouth Purple Cobras 3s

It’s an unwritten rule that any Dodgeball team that insists on wearing those silly vests rather than proper kit deserves to be beaten, and that’s exactly what happened. Playing together as a full team for the first time ever, our boys combined well coordinated throwing with some timely catches to secure a comfortable, convincing win over a seriously fashion challenged Pompey side. We were off to a good start!
Final score: Warwick 6-4 Pompey.

Game 2 – London Storm 2s

We anticipated this to be by far our toughest match, but having just seen Storm get hammered by Birmingham 8-2, we felt we might actually have a decent shot at winning this game and showing our ex president Oli Hague just what he was missing. Alas, it was not to be. Storm really stepped up their game for this match and, despite our best efforts, we were just about beaten.
Final score: London Storm 8-2 Warwick.

Game 3 – Birmingham 3s

In order to ensure a higher place group finish than Portsmouth, the 2s really needed to pull off something special and take some points off of a surprisingly strong Birmingham side, which is just what we did. Tactical throwing and efficient trapping meant that we were able to hold our own, despite injuries taking their toll on certain members of the team. All team members played well, but Matt was the clear ‘Mann of the match’ (sorry, couldn’t resist), as he executed a number of fantastic counters and made some great catches under pressure as well (I hear unconfirmed reports that Mehrdad’s place in the 1s is now under review after this standout performance).
Final score: Birmingham 7-3 Warwick.

Plate last 16:

After a decent 3rd place finish in our group, the 2s were drawn against DeMontfort’s second team in the last 16 of the plate tournament. Having tried and failed to locate an AWOL Sam Pounds, we headed onto the court for what we knew would be a very winnable match. Perhaps overconfident, our boys made several mistakes in the first game which led to a 1v1 with a minute left, and it did not look good. However, our salvation came from an unlikely source – DeMontfort’s final player left in not only decided to roll one of his balls towards a rather bemused Matt Manns, but was then visibly confused as to why everyone started laughing at him. Buoyed by this amateurish display, the 2s gathered themselves, got organised, and convincingly won the next 3 games, with team captain Nathan, finally freed from his ‘no throwing under any circumstances ever’ ban, taking particular advantage of the opposing teams’ chronic inability to catch anything and helping to ensure a swift end to the match.
Final Score: Warwick 6-0 DeMontfort.

Plate Quarter Finals:

Having been drawn against Birmingham 2s in the quarter finals, we knew that this was going to be by far the toughest match of the day – we were getting tired, injuries were really taking their toll and Sam Pounds was still nowhere to be seen. We played well, particularly when we needed catches to stay in the game, but in the end Birmingham just about triumphed. Honourable mention to Tom Lake for being commended by a number of Birmingham players for sportsmanlike conduct (it’s not the same as a win, but we’ll take it). Final result: Birmingham 6-0 Warwick

Final remarks:

Given the choice between hanging around to watch the final few matches, or grabbing some victory/consolation chicken on the way home, our heroes opted for the latter. We headed out of the sports hall, pausing only to confirm that it was indeed Sam Pounds who was fast asleep in the far corner of the foyer, as he had apparently been for the past 3 hours (mystery solved), and made our way home. It was good day overall for the 2s, as we managed to win two of our matches over the course of the tournament (I could point out that our first team only won one of theirs, but I’m a gentleman, so I won’t). Promising performances from both new and old players, and the fact that our team chemistry only improved throughout the day, sets us up well for when the leagues start in just a few weeks.

Fin.

-Nathan Thompson

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