Monthly Archives: August 2013

League Season Review: Maidenhead Rebels

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The 2013 season was a very good one for the Rebels.

Their 5th place finish with an 8-8 record was the first time since 2010 they ended the season without a losing record. This becomes even more impressive when you consider over the course of the season the squad included 7 under 16 players and 3 players who had never played softball before this season, plus they lost their starting pitcher before a game was played.

A lot was said about last seasons performances, it’s still a mystery to the coaching staff why that team only won one game and more so when the core of the 2013 squad was made up of the same players. So going into the season opener away at Ascot Blue Jays, one of the stronger teams in the division, there was a little anxiety around whether the team was prepared enough. In the end this turned out to be one of the games of the season that went right down to the wire. The 15-12 victory was the perfect start to the season and hopes raised that this was going to be a good season.

May, in the end, turned out to be a poor month for the Rebels. Following the joy at Ascot, came the despair of Bracknell. The 17-7 defeat was a heavy enough blow, but the game also saw the team and club loose another pitcher. Adrienne Elly suffered a season ending leg injury that cost the club her services not only for the rest of season, but as later found out, all of the 2014 season too. May ended with the Rebels finally playing at home. However they came up against a very strong RP Falcons team who took the points with a 17-11 victory.

Farnham 7June started with another away day. This time to the newly opened Farnham Park facility. It was a tremendous honour to be the first visiting team to play a league game on these fantastic dirt diamonds. However, the performance on the day and the Rebels went down to one of the heaviest defeats of the season, losing 30-15 to the Chalfont Firebirds. So going into the first double header of the year against the bottom placed Marlow Mariners, the Rebels were looking to improve their 1-3 record. The Rebels made hard work of a series split, winning 13-12 in game one, but losing 8-6 in game too, Marlow’s only success of the year, left the Rebels with a .500 record 2-4.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThat second win of the year had already ensure the Rebels had bettered their 2012 win record, but still the team had the potential for much more. The next seven weeks proved to be the best of the year. First up in the sequence was the always fun trip to BA to take on the Flyers. The long trip across the country was worth the traffic as the Rebels took a hard fought game 13-9. This set up the opportunity for back to back wins when the RP Hawks came to town. This was the pivotal game of the season, for the first time the Rebels fielded 4 under 16s. Their combined output of 10 runs and 11 RBI’s helped the Rebels to a 30-10 victory. The perfect preparation before meeting the then pace setting Rattlesnakes.

The magic of the previous week was missing against the Rattlesnakes and while game 1 was close, Rebels going down 11-5, the second game turned into a rout as the Rebels suffered their heaviest defeat of the year losing 24-1. Going into the bye week, the Rebels sat in mid-table with a 4-6 record. The bye week also saw the annual inter-club game. With the Royals taking both games last season, the Rebels were out for revenge. In the two game friendly, the Rebels shocked their higher place relatives and won both games. The start of a winning sequence that would run through till August.

July ended with two home games. The much anticipated return games against Ascot then Bracknell. Neither disappointed. In an equally close affair to their first game, the Rebels came from behind to beat Ascot 11-8, followed by another come from behind win to get revenge on Bracknell 7-6. These two results set up the possibility of a 4th place finish as the Rebels entered August with a 6-6 record.

August started with the Rebels gaining revenge on the RP Falcons, 20-7, to complete a sequence, that included the inter-club game, of 5 wins on bounce and improve the Rebels record to a winning one of 7-6.

Unfortunately that didn’t last, the champions elect Chalfont Firebirds came to town and showed why they were the team to beat this season. The 29-9 victory set them up for a dramatic last two games to decide the league title. The Rebels had RP Hawks and BA Flyers left to try and regain that winning record.

The RP Hawks game turned into another away day horror for the Rebels, out batted on the night, the 20-5 score line left them needing to win their last home game against BA to salvage an 8-8 record.

The last game came and like the first ended with a Rebel win, 14-11, in a very good season closer.

Farnham 8It was a roller-coaster season, 8 wins and 8 defeats. Some great displays, some less so. The bottom line is that out of this season emerged a foundation for next. The under 16s showed what talent they bring, next year they will all be a year older and had more training time. The new players have season under their belt and improved no end. The Rebels are primarily a development team and this year they fulfilled that role and more. Next season the aim is to have a winning record.

Rebels All-Star Representatives.

Ellie Wheeler, Gary Green, Chris Fletcher.

Top 3 Games

1 16th May 2013. Ascot Blue Jays 12, Rebels 15.

2 18th July 2013. Rebels 11, Ascot Blue Jays 8.

3 25th July 2012 Rebels 7, Bracknell Scorchers 6.

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League Season Review: Maidenhead Royals

The 2013 season is over and was a very successful one for the Royals. The aim at the start of the season was to retain their place in Division 1 and build on that for 2014. The Royals achieved their goal with a 5-8-1 record and a 5th place finish. While not a season winning record, this is a vast improvement on the 2010 (0-9-1) and 2011 (1-13) seasons and represents the highest league position the club has ever achieved.

The season started slowly for the Royals with only two games out of 4 being able to be played in May. The first was an opening day defeat to the then league champions, Chalfont Phoenix before then traveling to the other Chalfont team, Chalfont Flames, for the second game in week 4. This turned out to be one of the most memorable games of the season and a 19-15 win was the clubs first win in the top flight since a 14-10 win over Wildcats back in July 2011. The win was a real boost the teams confidence going into a rearrange double header with Ascot. A series split, meant the Royals had stared the season with a 2-2 record going into the hardest part of their season. The Eagles game was a narrower lost than the 24-16 score suggested, and once game proved the team could complete in Division 1.

Week seven was the highlight of the season, a thrilling 12-11 victory over the Windsor Knights. The game ebbed and flowed, before a 2-out hit to third by Julia Barlow to win the game will live long in the memory.

That win started the Royals best sequence of the season, over the next six games the Royals would go 3-2-1. The draw in that sequence was the second most memorable moment in the Royals season. The 20-20 game against Chalfont Phoenix had seem the Royals come back from 20-7 down after 3 innings. 4 shutout innings and a fantastic game ending tag play on 3rd by Dallas Huntley was right up there in magic moments.

The Royals capped a good month against Chalfont with thrilling 11-10 win over the Flames next time out, but that was really as good as it would get. Inconsistency was a trait running through the season, this was no more highlighted than the next two games. Rain and scheduling meant the Royals would play the Wildcats in back to back games. The first, at home, was a heavy 18-3 defeat, followed a week later with an equally big 22-6 victory.

This left the Royals at 5-5 for the season going into the last three games. It turned out to be the worst sequence for the season, 3 defeats, two of them heavy, put a slight dampener on the season, but can’t take away from the fact this was an extremely good first season back. The challenge now is to, not only maintain this but better it next season.

All-Star Game Representatives.  Sam Smillie and Julia Barlow

All-Star Game Captain’s choice representative. Dallas Huntley.

Top 3 Games

1. 18th June Royals 12, Windsor Knights 11

2. 2nd July Chalfont Phoenix 20, Royals 20.

3 21st May, Chalfont Flames 15, Royals 19.

Royals and Rebels end away campaign with defeats.

The Royals and Rebels both ended their away league campaigns with defeats this week. Royals going down 26-11 to Windsor Knights, while Rebels fell 20-5 against RP Hawks. These two results were in stark contrast to the team’s two opening away games, both teams coming from behind, Royals winning 19-15 at Chalfont Flames, while Rebels won 15-12 at Ascot.

Both teams have been suffering from the same issue these last few games, failure to capitalise on good offensive situations. Defensively, both teams have played well, while they have been conceding runs this has more often than not been down to the other side taking their opportunities.

The season ends for both teams next week with home games, both are playing teams from the BA club. The Royals can’t go higher than fifth, which is a great result for the season. The Rebels will need other results to go their way to make fifth themselves.

Errors cost Rebels in fight for fourth

The Rebels went down to a heavy 29-9 defeat to the Chalfont Firebirds in their fight for 4th place. A series of errors in two innings cost the Rebels 16 runs and handed the initiative for the Division 2 title back to the Firebirds.

The game started evenly as, what looked on paper, to evenly matched teams set about each other. The Rebels taking a 2-1 lead after one and the Firebirds levelling it at 5-5 after two. For the Rebels, that was as good as it got. The Firebirds edged ahead 7-5 after 3 innings before the first of the two nightmare innings came to haunt the Rebels. 4 errors lead to 6 Firebird runs to one Rebel run left them leading 13-6. The Rebels thought that we back in the game by holding the Firebirds in the 5th and getting two runs back, but the 6th inning saw the Firebirds score 10 runs on 6 Rebel errors to seal the game. For good measure the 6 more Firebirds runs in the 7th completed an emphatic win and a season double over the Rebels.

The story of the game for the Rebels was a familiar one, for the majority of the game the defence holds the opposition, but too many errors together cost them too many runs, and while this defeat ended a sequence of 3 league wins in a row, in those wins the Rebels batting had been below par. That weakness in the batting was exposed by a team who took full advantage of any error the Rebels made to pile on runs.

Farnham 3To highlight the good defence, the Rebels infield accounted for 17 of the 21 outs in the game, Gemma Jones leading the way with 6 put outs. Batting was led by Chris Fletcher, Captain Gary Green and Ellie Wheeler, all going 2 for 3 on the night.

The result meant the Firebirds remain second in the table, two points behind the Rattlesnakes, but with a game in hand. The Rebels moved level on points with Bracknell with their losers point, but have an inferior run difference. Both teams are only a point ahead of Ascot who have a game in hand on both.

Eagles take advantage of poor Royals batting.

Royals fell to an 11-4 home defeat against RP Eagles. For the second home game in a row the Royals were unable to mount any consistent offense to back up good defence. The game started evenly, with the Eagles taking a 3-2 lead in the first. While the Royals defence then stepped up and kept the Eagle to just two runs for the next 4 innings, the Royals could not take advantage, failing to score themselves. The sixth inning saw both teams trade 2 runs, before the Eagle finally put the Royals to bed with 4 runs in the 7th. It was a below par performance from the Royals who surrendered 4th place in the league to the Eagles who also became the first team this season to do the league double over the Royals. With two games left the advantage to finish in 4th spot has shifted to the Eagles, although even a 5th place finish will represent a very good season for the Royals.