Leeds Dodge are currently celebrating their 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Earlier this week we spoke to the Leeds’ committee, to learn about their club and it’s history; how it has changed over the years & what makes them different to other dodgeball clubs in the UK. A club that is based around ‘Playing, laughing & competing’, you can read all about the Leeds Dodge Owls below:
When & who created your club:
The club was set up in September 2012 when Jess and Ted (Goshawk-Dumbrell) moved up to Yorkshire after university and were desperate to keep playing dodgeball! They are still very much involved but as the club has grown there are more and more other members helping out with coaching and the general running of the club.
How are you celebrating turning 10?
As you may have seen on social media, we’re planning a brand new kit to celebrate the 10 years! And of course it’s a good excuse for a social too, so watch this space!
What kind of atmosphere is there at the club? Are you always in it to win it or are you all about having fun?
As a fairly small club (30 members this year, with good links to Leeds & York University) we’d like to think we’re somewhere in between. It’s a long journey from Yorkshire to a lot of competitive events so the car music choice is a big deal! With members all over Yorkshire coming to play there are many things drawing people to come and play. From being able to compete for a win on the court or the pub quiz in town!
Who runs sessions/coaches?
We have a team of coaches who rotate in running sessions which currently works well as our coaches are all also players. This season our coaching team has been Ted, Jess, Ryan, Adam, James, Fahim.
What are some of your club’s biggest achievements?
Competitively our women’s team has a fairly modest trophy cabinet including a couple of tournament gold medals. Our mixed team topped the league 1 table in 2019/20, and our men’s team have consistently been solid, though will always be particularly proud of the time they qualified for the UK Championships in 2015.
What is the biggest way your club has changed in the last 10 years?
We’ve seen a lot of members come and go (and often come back again!). We’ve introduced a lot more structure and process which hopefully makes the club as enjoyable and as fair as possible to be a part of.
How has dodgeball changed since your club was created to today?
When we set up the club there weren’t many community clubs around at all and we’re really proud we’re still around – as far as we know we pre-date all but 1 or 2 of the clubs that competed in the English national league system in 2021/22. So the increase in new clubs has been great to see, though also a bit sad as that’s sometimes meant saying goodbye to other clubs. And of course, we’ve welcomed lots of rule changes and a shift to using 5 balls!
If you could change your club’s name, what would it be?
For context, our club name is just “Leeds Dodge”, though our teams are “Leeds Owls” as our logo is an owl and the owl is part of the City of Leeds crest. Given Leeds Rhinos are so cult in the city in rugby league we quite like the idea of changing to “Leeds Hippos”!
Where do you hope to see your club in the next 5 years?
We unfortunately weren’t able to enter a women’s team into the league system this year but we’d love to be able to do so again next year, and a men’s second team too. Having run some junior sessions jointly with British Dodgeball before we are also keen to set up a junior club too.
What members would you like to attract?
Everyone is welcome, whether you want to play competitively or just attend training sessions/ socials! We’d love to be able to routinely run a women’s only court at our sessions, so we’d be particularly pleased to have any new female members, and to grow our pool of coaches and volunteers so that we can run more sessions and bring dodgeball to more people in Leeds, so we’d love more members interested in coaching and community outreach.
Any final comments?
10 years of the club has shown how the sport has grown and the community around the club and sport. It’s been great to see new endeavors and challenges arrive on and off court in the club over the last year. From battling in the North East Regional league, National League 1 and Mixed Super league, to running a social open with local teams or some players attempting the Yorkshire 3 peaks shortly! There’s something for everyone at the club whether competitive, casual or social!
We would like to say a massive thank you to Leeds Dodge for taking the time to talk to us and giving us an insight into their club’s long history, where there ‘is something for everyone’. Good luck for the next 10 years and we look forward to seeing what t-shirt designs are made for your 10 year anniversary!
Do you know of a club who deserves a spotlight or want to talk to us about your club? Then email [email protected]