Meet The Club - Hull Pterodacthulls
This week we sat down to chat to the newest dino-themed club to enter the dodgeball scene. No, it’s not Stafford and their twenty different shades of raptors; but rather the Pterodacthulls, a fresh-faced team from the University of Hull that made their debut mere months ago.
Setting Up The Club
Edward Hixson, the current president of the club, started the club after trying the sport at a charity event. “We thought it was crazy that such a club didn’t exist already, so we took it upon ourselves to start one. Since a lot of us are in our final years at university we thought it would also be an amazing legacy to leave behind for us to return to visit in future years!”
“We have been kicking ourselves wishing that we had started this club earlier on in our university time,” says captain Hugo Moore. “Because of how late we started it, we weren’t able to enter our team to regionals this year purely due to small issues such as lack of equipment (kits, nets etc) and membership.”
Starting a new club can be tough – and even trickier if you come to the sport with no prior knowledge of it. While most clubs are established by veteran players, the Hull team was set up entirely by people new to the sport. But the committee was dedicated and put in a huge amount of effort to learn the rules, playing styles, and source correct equipment. By January, they were starting to have regular trainings, and have already seen a huge improvement over their first few sessions.
What Do Hull Stand For
“While we are new to the game the same principle carries over from most sports,” says Moore. “We want everyone to give 100% to the club both on and off the court, be that with supporting teammates, helping with volunteer work, or even just turning up to training and encouraging other members. As a club, we like to focus on members having a fun, enjoyable experience where they can come and no matter their skill, get a bit of fitness in and have a laugh with everyone.”
They also credit the help of the “lovely, friendly people we’ve met in the dodgeball community” with how the launch has been (we’re not such a bad bunch). Leeds Owls player Nick Bull has been coaching them, which they say has been “extremely helpful in getting us off the ground.” And while they started too late to join regional leagues this season, they’ve scheduled friendlies against clubs like Sheffield Hallam Hawks.
Their first official competitive debut will come in early March, when they are scheduled to have a Varsity match against the University of Lincoln. “They are a great team and were the first to reach out to us to offer any support,” says Moore. “We can’t wait to play them and get an idea for what a competitive environment is like and who knows, we may cause an upset!
The Lincoln Royals, for their part, have been a dodgeball team for almost a decade; their Men’s 1s came 5th in this year’s BUCS Midland’s league – though their Men’s 2s and Women’s 1s came dead last in their respective leagues. So there’s potentially room for some damage to be done, and whatever the result, that first competitive fixture for Hull is bound to be a huge learning experience.
What's In Store For The Future
With so many departing players, the focus of the club is less on guts and glory this year, but simply leaving it in the best possible condition with the hope that the club continues and thrives in the 2022-23 season. This year, they were too late to have a stall at the Freshers Fair, meaning they missed out on a crucial recruiting moment (check out our guide on how your club can make the most of Freshers’ here). “The biggest struggle has been finding members and publicising the club halfway through the academic year when most university students have already joined societies. Saying this we have managed to gain some members from a variety of sports like ultimate frisbee and cricket,” says Moore.
“Our main focus is having the club survive and thrive into the next academic year. When we originally started the club, our main goal was to create a fun environment for people to come back to (Under-graduate or graduate) year after year to play a sport that they genuinely enjoy in a fun and welcoming environment. Our next goal after that is having our team entered in the regional league so that Pterodacthull can start competing competitively.”
Their advice to new players? “Give it a go!” says Moore. “The sport is so much fun, and the community is exceptional in supporting and helping out no matter how active or new to the sport you are. The competitive scene is getting bigger and bigger and there are always competitions you can watch to improve on. If competitive isn’t your cup of tea, then there's always other ways you can take part in the dodgeball community, with plenty of volunteer opportunities to put on the CV and social events throughout the year.”
He's right – dodgeball runs off its incredible community, full of talented individuals who do all kinds of different tasks that help the sport keep moving. I’ve even heard some people spend their days writing about dodgeball.
Truly a weird world and a wonderful sport. Welcome to the family, Pterodacthulls.
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