‘Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and … Dodge.’ Yes these are the words of wrench-hurling master-coach Patches O’Houlihan, but they also form the tongue-in-cheek mantra of the Cardiff Dragons – South Wales’ newest dodgeball side. The Dragons, who first came together in April this year, can be further paralleled with the cult classic as their player-coach, Andrew Blower, is a modern-day Peter La Fleur (you know the character Vince Vaughan plays in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story). Formerly of the Coventry Cobras, Blower, like La Fleur, has galvanised a community, re-establishing dodgeball in the Welsh capital – all previous Cardiff clubs folded in 2010. Moreover, like La Fleur and his Average Joes, Blower places a high emphasis on inclusion and mass-participation: “The great thing about dodgeball is that truly anyone can play! It’s so easy to pick up and there’s always an experienced hand to guide you through the finer details of the game.”
The Dragons are, however, no Average Joes. Although only forming five months ago, they are the only Welsh team to have won a match at the UK championships – after beating the Scottish champions in July. The Dragons have also qualified for next year’s UK Dodgeball League where they will compete in Division 2 South – against teams from Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Winchester and Leighton Buzzard. They have also secured funding from Sport Wales.
Blower added: “We are going from strength to strength with new members joining every week. We’ve got such a great group of players, some of who have represented Wales internationally, helping out our newer members who are fresh to the sport.
“We are currently in pre-season training for our first competitive season which starts in November. Last season we also represented Wales at the UK Championships, finishing 15th overall.”
The Cardiff side are based at Cantonian High School, Fairwater, and train every Wednesday from 6.30-8.30pm. Sessions cost £2.50 per week but the first session is free. Kit can also be purchased but isn’t essential for training. All over the age of 16 are welcome – even pirates called Steve!