RUGBY’s Simon Jones has described winning the Dodgeball World Cup with England on home soil as a ‘wonderful feeling’.
England’s dodgeball dreams came true when the men’s team were crowned champions of the world in Manchester earlier this month after beating Malaysia in the final.
Jones played an integral role along with fellow Lutterworth resident Brett Koenig as England Lions finished top of their group with three wins out of three before beating Wales and the USA on their way to the final.
And despite dodgeball being very much a minor sport in the UK, Jones still admits winning the top prize for your country is a very proud moment.
“As a kid I always grew up dreaming I would play in a World Cup for the England football team but you soon learn that is probably not going to happen but it has worked out for me in dodgeball.
“To stand there and sing the national anthem was a proud moment.
“It was the first ever World Cup so there was uncertainty about some of the other teams. We watched Malaysia thump Scotland and that was when we knew we were in big trouble.
“We worked really hard heading into the tournament. We trained hard and worked around full-time jobs but we knew our energy levels had to be high.
“All of that hard work and commitment paid off and there was a real feeling of togetherness within the group when we won.”
Jones became involved with dodgeball during his school years when he was introduced to the sport during a PE lesson and since then he has never looked back.
“I was instantly hooked. I liked the versatility of the sport and how you can stand at the back of the court and let other members of the team do the running while others look to catch.
“It’s every much a team sport and the camaraderie in dodgeball is briliant. You’re always loking out for your teammates – there’s lots of watchin each other’s backs.”
Having played for Lutterworth Dodgeball Club, or ‘The Meteors’ as they are more locally known, Jones found himself on the England radar and after four years with the under-21s he was selected for the main squad.
“The European Championships in Belfast last year was my first big tournament and it was really exciting.
“All of the big nations like Italy and France were there and we went on to win a fifth European title.
“Both myself and Brett have been on the journey together. We’ve both come through the rankings with England and it was great to share these moments with him.”
The inaugural Dodgeball World Cup was held in Manchester and after winning ahead of an eight-team strong field, Jones is hoping their success can boost the sport ahead of the next competition which will be held in New York in two years time.
“We’re self-funded so we’ve got to pay for our entry, kits, training and flights,” Jones added.
“Sponsorship is really hard to come by but hopefully England lifting the World Cup has lifted the sport and we’ll be able to get some helps ahead of our trip to New York in 2018.