On Sunday, Imperial Wolverines made history at the University South Open with several remarkable achievements.
The newly formed Women’s 1st team made their inaugural appearance at a competitive fixture, the Men’s 1st team accomplished 2nd place amongst fierce competition and, for the first time, Nifemi made it on time for the minibus that morning!
The short drive to Aylesbury made this feel like a home fixture and afforded the club a relative lie-in, a McDonald’s breakfast, and lots of time to get changed and warm-up; all also firsts for the club.
The first of the three teams to play that day was the debuting Women’s 1st team.
As a team made up largely of players who had only started playing dodgeball in October, the club were simply happy to be fielding a team but did not hold high expectations for them.
Play got underway against some of the top clubs in the country and teams who have been formed and playing together for years.
However, to everyone’s surprise, Imperial’s ladies played a blinder, only losing each match by 1 or 2 sets.
Veteran Wolverines Yan Jin Ho, Aqeilah Khan, and Lalita Radtanajiravong led the team bravely with exceptional dodging, catches, and throws.
Nevertheless, some injuries were incurred; most of boys damaged their vocal chords with their ecstatic support competing with the blaring dance competition being held next door.
Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ on repeat is not the best backing track for dodgeball!
Imperial’s Men’s 2nd team were next to play that day. The team was also made up of a fair share of dodgeball freshers. For many, this was their first outing.
Strong leadership from team captain Philip Zeeuw, as well as excellent agile dodging from Jinay Patel gave the boys a fighting chance, but being placed in a very strong group, the boys struggled to match the more experienced teams and in each game were eventually overcome.
With hope beginning to fade, a special call was made to introduce some much-needed energy into their game: “YEET”. It was believed shouting this as they threw would much improve their game. Fresher Flo Ruja was the first to try.
He throws silently. Hit! He throws normally again. Hit!
He throws once more whilst screaming “YEEET!”. Miss.
Perhaps not then.
The 2nd team finished a respectable 10th.
Last to start that day were the Men’s 1s. Having come 4th in the UK last year, they were hoping for one of the top rankings. With James Rice-Mellor playing blissfully unaware of any of the team’s tactics, Nithin Thoppuram twice smashing the glasses off a poor opposing player, and Lochlann Allison’s aerobatic dancing dodge confusing the opposition into committing a fault, the team advanced to the final unbeaten.
Unfortunately, they were defeated by Birmingham, and finished the day in 2nd place. The strongest play of the day came from Rhiju Chatterjee, who whilst ball-retrieving tripped and fell over, yet did not commit a ball retriever fault. Video evidence will cement this event in history as one of the most beautiful sporting moments ever witnessed.
Shoutouts go out to MoM’s Nithin Thoppuram, Philip Zeeuw and Ho Yan Jin.
After a gruelling and exhausting yet successful day, the team made their way back to London. With a much stronger female presence in the club, the traditional post-match KFC was replaced by calls for a rather more classy Nando’s.
Imperial Wolverines look forward to this weekend and the commencement of leagues where the Women’s 1st team can make their league debut and the Men’s 1st team hope to defend their League Champions title.