Bowland’s Dodgeball Double in Carter Shield  

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Lancaster University’s eclectic sporting tournament, the Carter Shield, got off to an exciting start at the end of Week 5 as the hectic dodgeball sport opened up proceedings. For freshers and perhaps anyone else who is so far oblivious to the Carter Shield, allow me to explain. The college tournament takes place on alternate weekends in Terms 1 and 2 and is open to anyone to participate in slightly more niche sports that do not usually get a look in.

This year’s opening event saw all nine colleges take part in the frantic sport of dodgeball, kindly organised and refereed by the Dodgeball Society. The only experience most people had with dodgeball is merely limited to the Ben Stiller comedy from 2004, but it was enough knowledge in hindsight. Although some teams (Furness) benefitted from having society members on their team, pretty much everyone had a shot of winning.

It’s quite difficult to nail the correct terminology in such a simple sport, so ‘dodge’ and ‘ball’ will be the only jargon used. The event took place inside the sports centre on a horrifically wet and windy day, and was well attended by all the colleges, despite everyone having to make that treacherous 30 second walk in the rain from the bus stop to the safe confines of the centre. 95 people were recorded for the games, which is a great start to the shield.

VP (Activities) Natalie Sutcliffe was incredibly pleased with the turnout, saying “I was extremely happy with the turn out and was thrilled to hear comments such as ‘we’re being beaten but we’re having a great time’, because the whole aim is to just have fun!”

The games kicked off somewhat hesitantly, as many dodged with trepidation and were keen to not find out what a ball to the face felt like. Others tested the water with ferocious launches of the ball; they took no mercy.

Graduate were the most unfortunate opening team, as their first team of five suffered an almost-instantaneous loss. From the opening dash to grab the three available balls, the older team missed all of them and suffered three quick hits to diminish their team to two lonely figures. They then saw one of their returning throws caught by their opposing college (meaning Grad lost a player), and then their sole player subjected to a barrage of balls. It was all over so quickly, but they at least saw the funny side of it.

And that’s what the Carter Shield is really about. It’s harmlessly competitive, but also enjoyably fun. Grad didn’t mind that they were defeated within about 10 seconds, and were ready to bounce back and last maybe 20 seconds in their next match. Grad, Bowland and Fylde were all able to field two teams, meaning they benefitted from extra points. Bowland topped the pink league taking 9 points, with Fylde and Grad following taking 8 and 7 points respectively.

The rest of the colleges who could only field one team played in the blue league, along with the aforementioned colleges who had more participating players. Despite Furness’ strong advantage, thanks to experienced dodgeballer Adam Badley, they couldn’t make their strengths work to their advantage and finished with 7 points. Maybe if their 15-hour bar crawl wasn’t the day before they could’ve done better. Bowland and Fylde yet again proved to be the pick of the bunch, scoring the same as they did in the pink league.

It’s unsurprisingly difficult to incisively analyse a dodgeball match, so it’s possibly just best to highlight some of the more memorable moments from the 2 hour event. Like Pendle’s Ishan Ganjoor’s first throwing attempt being a tad too enthusiastic, and ended up flying into the handball courts on the other side of the sports hall.

Or perhaps Bowland’s Niamh McNamara being unfortunately walloped in the face by a rogue ball, and her teammates to turn around and laugh, only for one of her male compatriots to be hit in a squirmishly unmentionable area when distracted.

Or Lonsdale’s Vic Percival to twice be left on her own against a full squad of five against the strong Furnessians and bitter Bowland rivals, but to heroically hold off the bombardment for an unprecedented time. Dodging of the highest order, it certainly was.

There was also preposterous trick shots, and one in particular which can only be described as a 360 no-scope. Again, the terminology may be slightly off. Other flairs often utilised involved classic multi-ball action, by throwing one in the air as a distraction aid. But honestly it seldom worked, and merely provided entertainment for what was a fun afternoon.

Results (Blue League): Bowland 9 points, Fylde 8, Furness 7, County 6, Grad 5, Lonsdale 4, Grizedale 3, Pendle 2, Cartmel 1.

Pink League: Bowland 9 points, Fylde 8 and Grad 7

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