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Dream trip to NY for dodgeballers

Coach Matthew Melling with some of the Wigan Youth Zone dodgeball team
Coach Matthew Melling with some of the Wigan Youth Zone dodgeball team

The Wigan Dodgeball Warriors, who are based at Wigan Youth Zone, will jet out to the Big Apple next week for the Dodgeball World Cup.

The team will take part in the category for players 11 and under at iconic Manhattan venue Madison Square Garden.

The youngsters will have to remember the 5 Ds of dodgeball (that’s dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge for anyone who hasn’t seen the film) and are stepping up their training regime as they get ready to face opposition from the other side of the pond.

The Wigan Dodgeball Warriors are coached by Matthew Melling, and a huge fund-raising operation has been under way in recent months to get the side on the plane heading across the Atlantic.

Matthew said: “It’s really exciting and everybody is loving that it is actually happening.

“All the children are really proud that they are going to be representing Wigan and they’re becoming celebrities at school as their friends have found out they’re going to be competing abroad.

“We’ve been training hard for the last two to three months, but things have now gone up in intensity at our sessions.

“They’re all following their own training regimes at home as well.

“We will be playing against teams from America. We are taking things one step at a time, and not getting ahead of ourselves, but we are definitely going over there to win medals and bring a trophy back to Wigan.”

The team members have also spoken of their excitement at the international journey.

Wigan Dodgeball Warrior Harvey Peet said: “I’m so thankful to everyone who has donated towards our trip to New York.

“We’ve been practising for months and months and I feel like we are prepared and ready to play at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m not really nervous about the match, I’m going to go in there and try my very best!”

As well as the fund-raising at the Parson’s Walk youth facility, Matthew has chipped in more than £1,600 through events including his daily running of a 5k and a gourmet dinner at Fur Clemt.

However, fund-raising is continuing so the youngsters can also visit some of New York’s most famous sites such as the Natural History Museum, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty while they are there.

The dodgeballers will stay at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, a similar facility to the youth zone close to the city, which it is hoped will give them the opportunity to meet American youngsters too.

The Dodgeball World Cup is at Madison Square Garden in New York from Tuesday, July 31 to Tuesday, August 7.