Nine men travelling the world on a mission, a mission in the pursuit of becoming champions. The sport is dodgeball and the goal is to eliminate your opponents by hitting them with balls. Dodgeball takes a large skill set, which was clearly on display at the World Championships.
In August 2015 the New Zealand men’s dodgeball team headed to Las Vegas, to compete in the Dodgeball World Championship. Lead by their experienced Capitan Lee Terewi, the group had a mix of experience and inexperienced players.
Eight National teams played off in the attempt to be the best in the world. Unfortunately for the New Zealand team this wasn’t a Cinderella story, but an extremely competitive tournaments. The nations competing in Vegas were: Malaysia, Canada, USA, Australia, Mexico, France, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
The competition was off with a roar with a passionate Haka by the boys to start against their first opponents Australia. The match, however, would go to Australia with a 7-4 win over New Zealand.
The tournament began with pool play, where each team played each other and the top four would progress to the semi-finals. The pool play was dominated by strong USA, Canadian, Malaysian and Australian sides who would meet in the semi-finals.
New Zealand ended their campaign with their only win,beating France. This resulted in a 7th place finish. The New Zealand team did, however, have some strong and close performances against Hong Kong, Mexico and Australia.
The strength of USA team was challenged in the first Semi-final by an Australian team which showed so much promise and heart. Eventually going down in the final seconds, losing a game that had one left on each side. If this had gone their way it would have lead to a tie break game. The Australians ended up 4th, defeated by Canada after giving everything in the semi-final. The final was an amazing match between the unbeaten USA team and a determined Malaysian side. Malaysia got off to an early lead, but this wouldn’t last long as the US team came back to win a hard fought 7-5 match claiming the Gold and dethroning Canada who held the title of Champions over the past two years.
Jordan Davidson was New Zealand’s player of the tournament, proving his ability against the best in the world. Although there were a number that impressed throughout the two day tournament. New Zealand dodgeball returned to New Zealand to start preparing for the 2016 competition in October 2016 in Melbourne.