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There’s no dodging this sport’s rising popularity

PUBLISHED: 14:15 27 October 2011

Dodgeball challenge at the YMCA sports hall in Trowse. England player Ed Skinner and players before the charity match between businessmen of Nelson's Spirit and England Red Lions. To the left in the orange shirt is Nigel Cushion, CEO of Farm Dale Foods and foudner of Nelson Spirit. Photo : Steve Adams

Dodgeball challenge at the YMCA sports hall in Trowse. England player Ed Skinner and players before the charity match between businessmen of Nelson's Spirit and England Red Lions. To the left in the orange shirt is Nigel Cushion, CEO of Farm Dale Foods and foudner of Nelson Spirit. Photo : Steve Adams

Archant 2011 0

A sport that’s growing in popularity in the UK proved a big hit in this area on the night of October 26 as an England team took on local business people.

The England Lions mixed dodgeball team was bravely challenged to a few games by members of the business development group Nelson Spirit, made up of local company executives, at Trowse YMCA, to raise funds for the blossoming dodgeball career of local player Ed Skinner. Two YMCA teams also played the Lions in the tournament.

Before the tournament, Ed said: “They are game for it. We will be teaching that the easiest place to hit is the feet, but they should know that head shots are legal. We will go easy, but we’ve got to show them what we are about in the first few games, to prove the money is going to a worthwhile cause.”

The Lions won all of the games 5-0 but Ed said many of the players on the other teams showed a lot of potential.

He said it was great to see so much interest in his sport.

Ed, 18, is a former pupil of Reepham High School who studies at Easton College. He competed at the first European dodgeball tournament at the age of 17 and also holds the record for the UK’s fastest dodgeball throw at 66mph.

In attendance were Nigel Cushion, chairman of Frank Dale Foods and founder of Nelson Spirit, Mark Hollinger, managing director of Hollinger Print, Matt Brine, managing director of Empresa IT Solutions, Tim Sweeting, CEO of YMCA Norfolk, and representatives from Farrows Design Consultants.

The St Peters Brewery sponsored trophies for last night’s mini tournament and YMCA provided the facilities for free.

In order to generate sponsorship, Ed went to Nelson Spirit, who live by a belief that you should help others to help themselves. He pitched his case to them and they came up with the idea for the match and for each Nelson Spirit member taking part to pay £50.

Ed said: “The sponsorship will help a great deal. Dodgeball is a developing sport; you have to fund yourself, pay for trains, flights, accommodation, and so on.”

Ed’s team, the England Red Lions men’s firsts, recently returned from the European Championships in Sweden.

England’s top two line-ups met in the final, with the firsts coming out victorious.

Mr Cushion said: “Ed is on a journey, and rather then just signing a cheque it’s great to actually get involved.

“It brings people together and builds relationships between business people and young people, who we want to encourage to become leaders.

“I was impressed with the way Ed approached us. He is really enthusiastic and he caught our imagination. He’s exactly the sort of young person we want to encourage.”

Are you setting up an event in your community? Call reporter Joe Wilkes on 01603 772474 or email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk

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