Category Archives: Club News

Season Review Day 5. A Jekyll and Hide Season that ended in a thriller.

IMG_1918It was a season that promised so much, but in the end just didn’t quite deliver. It was certainly a rollercoaster, the title was ours to loose, then we were out the race, then back in, finally thwarted at the last and then ending on an amazing comeback.

Runners-up is nothing to be sneered at. It was an improvement on 2017 and that was the first goal of the season. But when you come so close, it does feel like a let down.

An Impressive Start

The season began with a trip down Wokingham way to play the TV Typhoons. Even though the Royals we fresh off their impressive outing at WMSL First Ball, this was no gimme. Just ask the Blue Sox, 12 months ago the newly promoted Typhoons shocked the Blue Sox. It was not beyond imagination that history could repeat itself. Lightning didn’t strike twice and the season got off to a winning start.

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The First Derby

The season wasn’t very old when the first derby came around. As it turned out this derby was one that wouldn’t live long in the memory. The Rebels had a night to forget with both bat and glove. When looking back, the Royals put on one of their best overall performances of the season. The 18-3 score line does indeed tell the story of the game. Going into the game both teams knew that their respective seasons would not be decided on these games, and both would have been happy to get this one out the way early.

The bit before the bad bit

After two rounds the Royals were top and the ship was sailing along nicely and the course IMG_0086stayed true as an under-strength Thames Valley Tornados team came to town. Tornados came into the game having lost both their opening fixtures and found themselves in trouble and behind very early as the Royals scored 9 first inning runs. That quickly turned into 16-1 Royals lead and although there was a mini-rally from the Tornados, the 24-4 Royals victory kept them top. A position they held going into week 5, as week 4 was wiped out by rain, and the first big test as the BA Jets came to town.

This was a real test and an outstanding game all around. Both teams playing good defence, not giving an inch. It took all 7 innings to separate them Need two, the Royals got an early break as a throwing error out their lead-off batter on second, A sacrifice fly advanced them to third to give the Royals the chance of at least a tie, however Barbara Killer had other ideas and a 1 out triple tie the game and left it to Steve Hazard to send a deep fly ball to right field to score the winning run. First Test Past.

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Knights!

4 games, 4 wins and now the Knights away. This was a pivotably period in the season for the Royals. Knights and Phoenix in quick succession would define the season. Win either or both games and the title dream was a possibility. The first half of the critical double header didn’t go well and the Royals paid the price for an error strewn performance against the Knights. Despite spotting the Knights a 10-1 lead after 3 innings.  Within 2 innings at lead was gone and the Royals lead 13-11. With momentum on their side, another lapse let the Knights get 10 runs ahead again. This time, innings ran out and while the Royals did chase down 9 of the runs they fell to the first defeat of the season 22-21.

One lose soon became two as Farnham Phoenix, visited and won 28-13. Still smarting from the previous weeks defeat to the Knights, the Royals started the evening like a team determined to get back to winning ways in a hurry. Having batted around the order they lead 8-2 after one inning and everything look back on track. Phoenix didn’t win the league last season just rolling over when teams took good leads over them. Slowly, but surely, they first reduced the lead to 8-4, then turned it into a 9-8 lead. 10 runs in the 4th all but sealed the game and inflicted not only a defeat, but mercy rule defeat at that. The title dream was slipping fast going into the return derby match.

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No Love lost.

If there was a wrong time in the season to play the Royals, the Rebels found it in week 8. They ran into a batting and fielding display that made the first encounter seem close. The 27-1 Royals victory was the biggest between the two teams in their recent meetings. The game summed up the Royals Jekyll and Hyde season. They had the ability to dismantle any team in the league at will, but at the same time suddenly play as if this was their first game ever. If you were lucky, both would appear on the same night and team knew they had an opening.

TV Tormented

Over weeks 9 and 10, TV wished Mr Hyde had stayed away as first the Royals beat the Typhoons 19-4 in an efficient display, that while wasn’t as clinical a display as against the Rebels, got the win needed. The 46-10 win against another under-strength Tornados team was the Royals biggest win for several years. The Tornados has a season where injuries and absentees all seemed to come together when the Royals were on their fixture list.

Those two wins kept the Royals in the title hunt and kept the pressure on the Knights and Blue Sox, as all three vied for the title.  As earlier in the season, while on a 3 game winning streak, the next fixture was the always tricky away trip to BA. The earlier fixture had been one of the games of the season and the first half of this encounter was following the same tight pattern. However, that stopped going into inning 3 and the confidence built from the impressive recent batting performance powered the Royals to an eventual 20-8 win.

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The Pendulum swings

With 4 wins in a row, Week 12 was the pivotal week, the visitors were the Blue Sox. A place and two point behind the Royals, but with a game in hand. A 6 pointer in the title race. The earlier season fixture had been rained out. So, this was the first of two encounters that could make or break each ones title challenge or hand the title to the Knights.  For the Royals, it was a Jekyll evening and while they did lead early on, it was the Blue Sox who dominated the middle innings and took the victory. This defeat was the biggest dent in the Royals title challenge so far. With 3 games left, the Royals were 4 points behind the leaders and needed favours from other teams to get back in the race.

Before a final showdown with the Knights, the Royals had the tricky trip to last season’s Kai Pitchingchampions. It was the home defeat earlier in the season that derailed the Royals initial title charge, and defeat here would have end any title hopes. The Royals started strong as they scored 10 unanswered runs. Phoenix, as in the earlier game, started to chip away, as soon 10-0 became 12-5. However, the runs kept coming for the Royals and the defence was standing firm and going into the last Phoenix inning a 19-8 lead looked to be enough to secure the points. As we have said before, Phoenix were not champions last season by giving up with bats in hand and when the Royals gifted them base runners through fielding errors they took full advantage. A Fence clearing home-run and more Royals errors combined to help Phoenix put 9 runs on the board and looked to be on the verge of a remarkable comeback win. But the Royals hung on and kept the race going for another week.

All Over.

The Royals knew going into this game against the Knights that victory was a minimum requirement to keep the title race going. Even then, a win would only guarantee the race would go to the last week. The pressure to win was on both teams, twelve months ago the Knights had the title in their grasp going into their last game, but failure to win handed the title elsewhere. This year they set out to ensure there was no repeat. The Royals, as too often this season, began slowly and coupled with some early fielding errors looked to be letting the game slip away. The 3rd inning saw a rally from the Royals, a good defensive inning was followed by a strong batting display as they pulled the game back to 7-5 in favour of the Knights. That was the high point of the evening, as the Knights took control for one final time. It wasn’t the way many had expected the race to end after the early season performances. Now it was down to a one-off game week the Blue Sox for the runners-up spot.

The Final Hurrah

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The Division 1 runners-up spot was decided in the a most dramatic season finale.  With the Blue Sox starting the night 1 point ahead of the Royals they started the game like a team intent on securing the runners-up spot in the quickest time possible and the 16-1 score line after two innings didn’t flatter the home team, they fielded better, batted better and were in complete control. Even in the 3rd inning when the Royals rallied a little scoring 4 runs, the Blue Sox responded with 5 to extend their lead to 16 runs at 21-5. This was the high point of the game for hosts as the Royals, who have exhibited spirit and the ability to overcome slow starts, throughout the season began what appeared an unlikely comeback. First, 5 unanswered runs brought some credibility to the score line and while they only added 1 in the 5th inning, a second shutout had the games momentum starting to swing in their favour. The 6th inning summed up the best of the Royals season, relentless offense and tight defence and they turned the game as they ran in 11 runs that took the them from 10 behind to 1 in front and while the Blue Sox still had a bat in hand, the belief that an extraordinary win was possible was all with the Royals. The Blue Sox were spent after a long season chasing the Knights, and in fading light a third shutout inning gave the Royals the most dramatic and unlikely win to seal the runners-up spot.

Come and Try Softball

MSC LogoWe run sessions on Friday’s throughout the year to enable anyone interested to try Softball. If you think you would like to give Softball a try, or to learn more about Maidenhead Softball Club and to get involved in Softball, contact us on maidenheadsoftballclub@outlook.com.

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Royals Add to early Season Honours

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The Maidenhead Royals started the outdoor season in the same way they finished the indoor season, winning a Trophy. Following on from collecting the Indoor League title, the Royals took part in the traditional season opening WMSL First Ball Tournament. The club had both their First Division teams competing on the day, and both faired differently on their opening games. The Rebels lost a tight game to the Wildcats, while the Royals eased to a 20-4 win over Blitz Havoc. The Rebels would improve on the day, winning their next two group games 12-5 against the Rattlesnakes and 27-0 against the Baffin Brewers. That was enough to see them qualify for the Cup Semi-final in the Rec section. The Royals, got imageoff to a bad start in their second game and trailed 9-0 after two innings. But a strong couple of innings helped them to an 11-9 win over Pav’s 40 Knicks. A 17-2 win in their final group game set them up for a Semi-final against RG Blue Sox. The two teams had different outcomes in the semi-finals, the Rebels played and lost to MK Diamonds, who would go on to win the competition, the Royals beat the Blue Sox to set up a rematch with Pav’s 40 Knicks. This time there was no need for a dramatic comeback and the Royals swept to a 17-5 victory and the first WMSL First Ball Cup win since 2006.

With a third competition win so far in 2018, Club has made its most successful start to a season in its history. With the 2018 League starting this week, the Royals are aiming to add that title to the growing list.

Mixed Opening Week for the Maidenhead Teams

All three Maidenhead teams began their 2018 league program with mixed outcomes. The Maidenhead Rebels hosted the Windsor Knights at North Maidenhead Cricket Club.

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The Rebels did very well to survive their first season in the top flight and played the Knights on opening night last year too. Then they lost 23-3, this time they managed to score more runs, but last seasons league runners up powered to a 31-10 victory. There were positives to take from this result and Rebels season won’t be defined on games against last season’s top 4 teams. The Royals travelled to TV Typhoons on the same night. Fresh off their impressive outing at WMSL First Ball, a lot is expected of the Royals this season. A 3rd place finish last year is the minimum requirement this term, but with the improvements in the squad there is optimism this team can go all the way. This expectation was not damped as they won 24-4. Next up for the Royals and Rebels is their first meeting in the club derby.

The Maidenhead Rascals started their season at home the BA Flyers. The teams finished 4th and 5th respectfully last season. Like the Royals, the Rascals came out on top 24-4 behind a very strong batting performance. Division 2 is sizing up to be very competitive this season and this was a very good start from a team that contains all the current group of development players. The Rascals next game is tough away trip to RGF Blue Sox 2, one of the Divisions favourites and joint runners-up from last year.

 

Royals survive Typhoon Scare to go 3rd

clip_image002[5]The Maidenhead Royals kept up their good start to the 2017 Windsor and Maidenhead League season with a narrow victory over newly promoted TV Typhoons. The Royals needs to show all their resilience in a game dominated by defence. The 10-8 road win put the Royals third in Division 1 on a 3-1 record. This latest win was their first on the road following two good wins in Maidenhead. This away win was particularly pleasing to coach Alan Le Marquand, who had seen his team throw a 12-run lead in two innings in their last road game. “That sudden collapse was as frustrating as it was surprising”, the coach commented, “We had been in total control for 4 and half innings, going into the bottom of the 5th we had just added 3 more runs to lead by 12. Then in two innings we conceded 17 unanswered runs and the game was gone.”

clip_image004[4]In Typhoons games, the opposition had an excellent start to the game, racing to a 4-run lead in two innings and completely shutting the Royals offense down. The Royals needed a spark to get themselves going, and they found it in the top of the third when pitcher, Martin Bitmead, scored the Royals first run with a solo home run. Bitmead would go on to be MVP for the game, his run was followed by 5 more Royals runs in this inning as Royals sparked into life and forced a number of errors from the Typhoons defence. The Royals defence, which had looked a little porous in the first two innings, tighten up significantly. Shutting the Typhoons down in the 3rd, they built on that with 4 more runs in the fourth to turn the game around. While the Royals offense would not score again, their defence and pitching saw them home as they conceded just 4 more runs in last 5 innings. At the end a happy coached commented “This was always going to be as tricky fixture. Newly promoted teams can sometimes be an unknown quantity, and we looked as bit off the pace to start. You can’t afford that in this division, however once we scored some runs we looked a different team. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.”

This excellent away result gives the Royals something to build on with tricky fixtures against the league’s top two in their next two games, followed by the club derby in June 23rd.

Club Review of the Year Part 12. The End of one Year, Start of Another.

So we’ve come to the final part of our journey through 2015. Over the last 22 days and 11 parts we’ve tried to convey the highs and lows of the year. So as 2015 draws to an end and we look forward to 2016, we can take one last look at the fond memories of this year. My personal favourites moments both came against London Flames at the Diamond Series, sorry London Flames. Our two encounters in 2015 Diamond series were both epic. The only regret about them was that so few people actually got to see them, especially the Diamond 2 final.

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But enough from me, let’s celebrate the winners ones last time before we look ahead to 2016. Congratulations to the players, Giannah, Julia, Natalie, Alex, Evan, Grant and John “Eddy”, the 2015 Club MVPs and MIPs. To the teams, the Royals team that came top of the tree in the Diamond Series, the Rebels team who won at BA, the development team that came so close at the Raiders tournament. The Marlovians for their best league finish. To be honest, everyone was a winner in 2015, it was that kind of year, everyone played a part in all the successes.

Let’s not forget the other events.

The past 11 posts focused on the main events of 2015, but the club did enter other events and did well in those too. The first outing outdoor was a trip down to the south coast to the Chichester Charity event and out outdoor year started as Plate Winners. That was soon followed up with a Runners-up slot in the Plate at GB Open. We played at MLB and Leicester Labour day, without success this year. The last honour of the year can in the last main tournament where we reached the Cup final of the Windsor Last Ball event. Sadly that ended in defeat, but was the gauge for what will come next year.

History on Display

All those events have helped fill the trophy cabinet we finally got installed Cabinetthis year. 38 different honours spanning 15 years. The club history on permanent display in the club house at our own ground. To get this point we needed to collect the spoils from all those years. Without a home before, the trophies have spend many years hidden away awaiting the cabinet. So we reached out to past members who helped build the foundation of this club, they helped us fill in a number of gaps we had in our history and the gaps on the shelves too. It was not just trophies they provided, but cuttings and photos. So it was interesting to see that the earliest photos we have show the club playing in white, we spent a long time playing in blue before switching to white a couple of years back, a decision that now harks back to those early days.

What is next?

The indoor season is nearly upon us and a time when we try and blood as many new players as we can in preparation for the outdoor season. The club plans to make the step up in grade this year. The tournament Royals team will play in B-grade and the Rebels team will be the primary C-Grade team. It will be tough, especially for the Royals, but a step that is needed to keep developing the club forward. The ladies team will be invested in, both in training time and tournament entry. The club plans to hold an all-female event in May 2016, something we’ve been planning for a couple of years in conjunction with Hit and Run, which will be back for a 4th year. The Newlands satellite will continue and be the corner stone of the development program for all ages. We also hope to start of improvements to our home ground, that will be a long process but worth the journey.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016.

It will be sad to say goodbye to 2015, we had a such a great year and will be fondly remembered. Now we look ahead to making 2016 even better.


The review of the year in full.


What is Softball?

Co-ed slowpitch softball is a social and enjoyable game that’s easy to learn and play, even for people who are not “athletes” or don’t have much experience of team sports.

Softball is a lot like baseball in terms of the rules, but because the ball is pitched slowly to each batter (as the name implies!), it’s easy to hit the ball and succeed at the sport’s central skill. The fact that men and women play together in the same team and on an equal level gives the sport a social buzz, and most softball games are followed by sessions at the local pub!

Come and Get Involved

Maidenhead Softball Club runs weekly sessions every Friday at Newlands Girls School in Maidenhead. Sessions from 6pm until 7:30pm and are open to anyone 11 and up.

All sessions are free, no experience needed and all equipment to get you going is supplied.

For all under-18’s attending, a parent must be in attendance at the beginning of the first session to sign permission paperwork.

For more information, email maidenheadsoftballclub@outlook.com or visit www.maidenheadsoftballclub.co.uk

MSC Review of the Year Part 11. A look back at Hit and Run 3

We have come to the penultimate post for the year and we’ve come to the final games for the club of 2015. RebelsThis year saw the third Maidenhead Softball Club Hit and Run tournament. this annual tournament is aimed at teams and clubs with new and youth softball players, with MSC themselves fielding 8 under 18s in their squad. The tournament comprises 8 teams, playing in two groups of 4. The teams this year came from as far as Solent and Redhill, as well as local teams from the Windsor and Maidenhead League.

While running later in the year than the past, the weather was again friendly and perfect for some late summer softball. After 6 hours of round-robin action, the competition split into Plate and Main Cup competition. Last year’s winners, BA Flyers were matches against Bracknell Scorchers, while last year’s Plate Winners, Vampire Batters were looking to go one better this year, faced Richings Park Hawks.

Two hard fought semi-finals resulted in Vampire Batters Vamps Cup Winnersmeeting BA Flyers in the Cup Final. In the Plate Competition, the London based Piranhas, faced Slough based Lonza, while Maidenhead Rebels faced Solent based Redbridge Raiders for a place in the Plate final. With three of the four teams making their first appearance at Hit and Run, a new team would be guaranteed a final slot, this year that was Piranhas, would ended up facing the Maidenhead Rebels team. Unfortunately for the Rebels, for the second time in three years, they fell at the last with Piranhas taking their first plate award.

The main final, ebbed and flowed and eventually went the way of the Vampire Batters 20-11 for their first Cup win. The whole day was another huge success for the Maidenhead head club, with over 100 people visiting the tournament, enjoying the weather, the facilities and the competition. Planning is now well under way for Hit and Run 4.


Missed Parts 1 to 10?


What is Softball?

Co-ed slowpitch softball is a social and enjoyable game that’s easy to learn and play, even for people who are not “athletes” or don’t have much experience of team sports.

Softball is a lot like baseball in terms of the rules, but because the ball is pitched slowly to each batter (as the name implies!), it’s easy to hit the ball and succeed at the sport’s central skill. The fact that men and women play together in the same team and on an equal level gives the sport a social buzz, and most softball games are followed by sessions at the local pub!

Come and Get Involved

Poster_thumb_thumb_thumbMaidenhead Softball Club runs weekly sessions every Friday at Newlands Girls School in Maidenhead. Sessions from 6pm until 7:30pm and are open to anyone 11 and up.

All sessions are free, no experience needed and all equipment to get you going is supplied.

For all under-18’s attending, a parent must be in attendance at the beginning of the first session to sign permission paperwork.

For more information, email maidenheadsoftballclub@outlook.com or visit www.maidenheadsoftballclub.co.uk

MSC Review of the Year Part 9. Royals Win 2015 Diamond Series

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The Maidenhead Royals capped their 2015 Tournament campaign by claiming the C-Grade Diamond Series title. The Diamond Series is played over 3 events, by 24 teams from all over the UK. Points are award for positional finishes over the three events. The Royals campaign began back in May with a very successful first day. Winning all their first round matches, put the Royals into main knock-out competition and an early win on day two over Farnham Park put them in the semi-finals. That game was the only one the Royals lost over the weekend, going out to the Oxford Oddsocks, who would go onto in the competition. A 3rd/4th Play-off win over the Vampire Batters, end the weekend for the Royals as 3rd overall and with a 7-1 record.

The second Diamond tournament didn’t start well for the Royals, losing their opening game to the Lucky Strikes, however they recovered well to win the next 3, but a late defeat on that first Saturday did look to have ended any chance of a top 8 finish. However, the Royals group was very tight and thanks to wins over the teams vying for top spot the Royals went into the Cup competition as group winners. That second Sunday saw the Royals play some of their best softball of the year, starting with an emphatic win over United Nations to semi-final against London based Death Stars. In a dominate display the Royals over powered the Death Stars to face the other unbeaten team, London Flames, in the final. A final that went right to the final inning and final two outs, at 17-17 a solo home run in the bottom of clip_image004the 7th saw the Royals over the line and take a lead in the overall series.

Holding an 11 point league in the series going into Diamond 3, the Royals made a positive start on the Saturday and with a 4-1 record achieved the first objective of the weekend and reaching the last 8. The quarter final that followed was effectively the championship game. London Flames were the only team left in the competition who could win the title over the Royals, so the quarter-final was a winner take all. In no less an epic game, the Royals came out on top to clinch a 3rd semi-final slot and guarantee the series win. A final win over London Raiders meant the weekend ended with a second consecutive final appearance. Although the tournament didn’t end with a second final win, 2nd place was more than enough to go one better than 2011 and give the Royals their first Diamond Series victory.


Missed Parts 1 to 8?


What is Softball?

Co-ed slowpitch softball is a social and enjoyable game that’s easy to learn and play, even for people who are not “athletes” or don’t have much experience of team sports.

Softball is a lot like baseball in terms of the rules, but because the ball is pitched slowly to each batter (as the name implies!), it’s easy to hit the ball and succeed at the sport’s central skill. The fact that men and women play together in the same team and on an equal level gives the sport a social buzz, and most softball games are followed by sessions at the local pub!

Come and Get Involved

Maidenhead Softball Club runs weekly sessions every Friday at Newlands Girls School in Maidenhead. Sessions from 6pm until 7:30pm and are open to anyone 11 and up.

All sessions are free, no experience needed and all equipment to get you going is supplied.

For all under-18’s attending, a parent must be in attendance at the beginning of the first session to sign permission paperwork.

For more information, email maidenheadsoftballclub@outlook.com or visit www.maidenheadsoftballclub.co.uk