2018 World Championships

 

World Championships

The highlight of every sporting calendar the Volfsball World Championships took place in perfect weather conditions in North London. Eight teams, yes that’s right, EIGHT TEAMS, contested this years crown. Newcomers Femgent Utd sporting excellent Nigerian-esque kits from Primark, joined the Killbonez, Crosstown Ballers, Pitshanger Panthers, Harringay Choppers, Muswell Hill Supermoons, Woodfield Warriors and Balham Choke Hazard.

Each team would play two teams at random drawn from a hat. The results would be put into a league, with the top four advancing into the semi finals. Comprendez? Good let’s go.

Woodfield Warriors v Balham Choke Hazard

The Warriors consisting of Hew Ingram, Alex Stanier and Gregory Stanier, lined up against a five strong Choke Hazard team featuring stalwarts Thom Saunders and the Blocktopus James Hunt.

As usual the defensive titans the Choke Hazard had real difficulty in scoring and the Woodfield Warriors (who had two of the former Stonehewers in their squad) passed around and picked up one pointers to go into a 4-1 lead.

Then in the second third Thom Saunders hit his first Volfsball in a couple of years to put the Choke Hazard ahead 6-4. Gregory Stanier piled on points for the Warriors but the Choke Hazard maintained their lead through a succession on one pointers from James Hunt to win 10-8 (scored 11-8 on the day).

FemGent Utd v Kilbonez

Both teams were sporting the best kits to ever grace the Volfsball field. FemGent in a classy striped number and the Kilbonez in sleeveless grey emblazoned with their logo set off with black bandanas. This game was a visual extravaganza before it had even started.

The experience  of the Kilbonez showed in the first third as they went into an 8-2 lead with a nice kicked three pointer from Dom Herd.

The pressure continued from the Kilbonez as they went into a 12-3 lead. David Watts scored a nice kick in the final third but the Kilbonez won 15-8.

Crosstown Ballers v Supermoons

The World Champion Moons faced a five strong Crosstown Ballers mixed team, Faye led the scoring for the Ballers in a first third which had impressive shooting accuracy all round. Moons up 7-5.

Chris Bickley came on for Captain Larwood in the second third and a Max Whittle Volfsball put the Moons up 19-8.

They piled on the misery in the last third and a kick from Larwood and last second Volfsball from Whittle gave the Moons a 30-11 win in a tournament that could depend heavily in points difference.

Harringay Choppers v Pitshanger Panthers

Tom Bell returned from injury to see the Choppers maker their first appearance of the season. Drafting in the days super sub Chris Bickley and James Hunt to play the Panthers. In a tense first third it was Ben Stanier’s singles that gave the Panthers a 4-1 lead.

Choppers shooting was awful in the next third as the increased their lead to 7-2.

It looked comfortable for the Panthers in the final third until a sublime kick from Chris Bickley pulled them back to 9-6. Then with just twenty second left Tom Bell hit a Volfsball to give them a shock 11-10 lead. It was short-lived as Ben Stanier scored a Volfsball immediately to give them a 15-10 victory. A fascinating ending.

 

Warriors v Ballers

Both teams having lost their first matches needed a win to stay in the competition to try and qualify on points difference. It was the experience of the Warriors that told, and a three point kick from Gregory Stanier amid a succession of one pointers put them into a 15-3 lead after the first two thirds. It finished 23-3 (scored 27-3 on the day). The Ballers having to resort to ambitious kick attempts to try and win.

This gave the Warriors a vital +17 points difference although this was thought to be +21 on the day.

Femgent Utd v Choke Hazard

The Choke Hazard put their poor shooting behind them at the start of the match hitting their first three shots, but after that both sides struggled with accuracy as the first third ended 4-1.

Choke Hazard looked comfortable until a David Watts kick put FemGent Utd back in contention trailing 7-6.  Then Watts attempted another kick which was blocked by Allie McClure, the referee blew for a foul for kicking the ball straight at her. Although she was on the back line and the kick was not intentionally aimed at McClure.

This is the rule – No. 20 of the more complicated rules.

Players should not use unnecessary force when throwing or kicking the ball. Volfsball pitch dimensions were created so there it is not necessary to throw or kick the ball as hard as possible, so that a player attempting to block the ball could be potentially injured. At times it is necessary to throw the ball quite hard to score, but any attempts to score through defending players by kicking or throwing the ball the hard, or hard enough that they move away from the ball to escape injury will result in a yellow card for the offending player and one minute ban from the field. (Also please bear in mind the equipment is strong but the hoop could potentially be broken by someone twatting the ball at it as hard as possible and there is no money for a replacement Volfsball stand).

Although the referee’s decision on the day stands – in this case the ball was not kicked with undue force, and also the blocking player was not immediately in front of the ball, but defending from the back line.

A tense final third saw the Choke Hazard win 8-7 and become the first team through the semi finals.

Kilbonez v Choppers

Choppers got the first point on the board but then the Kilbonez scored eight unanswered including a Volfsball for the Volfmaster Ryan Howes who has been in unstoppable Volfsball form this year. 8-2 at the first third.

The Choppers started to fight back and the whistle was blown again for a foul for aggressive play. This time correctly as Ben Target threw a  shot straight into the Choppers defence with some force. Tom Bell took the free shot. Although according to the rules there is no free shot for this. There is supposed to be a yellow card. He missed his kick.

However Tom Bell was starting to find his old shooting form and the Choppers were 14-10 down with a chance to win with the final shot. Bell missed, the Choppers were eliminated and the Kilbonez were through to the semi finals.

Matt Skillington tries to distract Tom Bell’s potential match winner.

Panthers vs Moons

Now the draw had put the two favourite against each other in the first round. The current Champions the Moons, against last year’s MVP Ben Stanier’s Panthers. The Woodfield Warriors huge victory over the Ballers meant that Panthers and Moons needed to win to go through, or a draw would see both through.

Very tense scenes as the result could throw the cup wide open. Tobias finally started shooting the ball and hit five of six for the Panthers along with three blocks to put them up 6-3. The Panthers really using their height advantage.

In the second third it was Larwood and Tobias hitting single pointers for their respective teams, the Panthers up 8-6. Then Whittle hit a crucial Volfsball for the Moons, his third of the tournament. The Moons led 12-9 with a third to play.

The Panthers couldn’t hit the singles and Moons held on to win 15-10 knocking out the Panthers.

Qualification Table

FemGent v Ballers (League Match)

While the teams prepared for the semis. FemGent faced the Xtown Ballers in a league match. Both teams finding their best form of the day now the pressure was off. Sarah hitting points for FemGent while Faye led the way for the Ballers. 5-3 Ballers after the first third.

Scores were coming from all over the pitch, in free flowing Volfsball, things were pretty close until Jackson Eatherden hit a Volfsball. Game finished 17-11 Ballers winning.

SEMI FINALS

KilBonez v Choke Hazard

The teams were battling for a once in a lifetime opportunity, to be a part of Volfsball history.

A defensive first third saw teams man marking each other, they knew the prize at stake. James Hunt used to his height advantage to steer the Choke Hazard into the lead 4-2. Six minutes still to play.

In the next third things were much closer, Tom Pitts becoming a reliable scoring force for the Killbonez but they trailed 9-7. With seconds left of the second third the Kilbonez were slow to pass the ball in, Tom Pitts hit a Volfsball but the timekeeper had said ‘Time’ before the ball left his hands so it didn’t count. Could it cost the KilBonez dearly?

The answer was yes. The Choke Hazard turned on the points in the last third, David McClure and James Hunt hitting singles to help them to a 15-10 victory. Well played Kilbonez and well done to the Choke Hazard on their third consecutive World Championship Final. Could they break the duck?

Warriors v Moons

The Warriors, possibly the surprise semi finalists, started well as all was square with the Moons 3-3 in the first half until Larwood hit a Volfsball, the first third finished 8-4. Larwood accounting for all the Moons points, (I mean me, what I am saying is that I scored eight points in a third but no-one is reading this far down so it is OK. This is mainly a reference for me for the video highlights, when I record them later I can read this and remember what happened. I am on my second day of watching Volfsball videos now. I have gone mental. Two whole days gone. Back to the game).

Both teams continued to shoot with accuracy in the second third playing some good quality Volfsball. But Whittle hit his fourth Volfsball of the day and the Moons were up 19-9 with a foot in the finals.

The final third saw the Warriors having to try and shoot Volfsballs with Gregory Stanier taking most of the shots. They didn’t come off and the Moons won 21-10 to advance to the final. A repeat of 2017 the Moons vs Choke Hazard.

League Game

Choppers v Panthers

While we awaited the final. The Choppers had a league game against the Panthers. Tom Bell was back to his best vocally, but the Choppers struggled against the height and youth of the Panthers physically. A kick from Toby and Volfsball from Ben Stanier looked to have sealed victory the Panthers up 13-3. But a lovely Volfsball from Chris Bickley and single from Paul Flannery kept the game at 13-9 with three minutes to go.

But they lost 15-10.

FINAL

Here it was the moment millions had been waiting for. The third World Championship Final. Could the Balham Choke Hazard who had featured in all three break their duck, or would last year’s Champions the Muswell Hill Supermoons retain their crown.

In a tense affair both teams were looking for one pointers primarily. Max Whittle and Allie McClure came out of the blocks fast for their respective teams, the Moons leading 5-3 at the first break.

The safe Volfsball continued in the next third, both sides hitting looping ones to stay in the match and the Moons led 11-9.

The sensible play continued in the last third with the crowd at the side of the pitch beginning to get restless and chanting for more action. Both sides looked tired from a long day of Volfsball. The Moons stretched their lead to 16-12 but with the clock at ten seconds the Choke Hazard had a chance to win the game with a Volfsball on the final shot. James Hunt stepped up to take the opportunity. He missed and handed the Moons the title.

A great day all round and a record ever turn out for Volfsball. As commissioner Larwood said in his victory speech. ‘Volfsball was the winner today’.

Moons celebrate victory!

Scores

Woodfield Warriors 8 v 10 Balham Choke Hazard

FemGent Utd  8 v  15 Kilbonez

Ballers 11 v 30 Moons

Harringay Choppers 10 v 15 Pitshanger Panthers

Warriors 23 v 3 Ballers

FemGent Utd  7 v 8 Balham Choke Hazard

Kilbonez 14 v 10 Choppers

Moons 15 v 10 Panthers

Semi Finals

Choke Hazard 15 – 10 Kilbonez

Moons 21 v 10 Warriors

Final

League Matches

FemGent 11 v 17 Ballers

Choppers 10 v 15 Panthers

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