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.
June 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.
That 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.
It 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.