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.”
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.
The Rebels survived a late surge by the Rattlesnakes to edge a tight game 20-17. It was an amazing game, that going into the 5th inning looked like the Rebels could win on the run-ahead rule. But a spirited fight back from the 9 man Rattlesnakes kept them in the game and they had the chance to win it right at the death.
The Rebels, who were forced into 6 changes from the team beaten against Marlow the previous week, fielded a pretty strong team. Missing both Captain and Vice-captain through injury, it still looked a tall order to overcome a Rattlesnakes team who sat second in the league and were looking to close the gap at the top. The task didn’t look any easier when the Rattlesnakes jump into a 6-2 lead after the first inning. A couple of towering hits from their 2nd and 4th girl batters seemed to be setting the tone for the night. The Rebels then rallied, a 5 run 2nd inning and 3 more in the 3rd put them 10-6 up going into the 4th. The game then looked won as a huge 9 run 4th inning put them close to victory, batting around the order and with the Rattlesnakes suffering a few injuries, it really only looked a matter of time before the game was done. However, the Rebels don’t do anything the easy way. The Rattlesnakes pulled the 9 runs back in the 5th and with the Rebels failing to score in both 5th and 6th inning the lead was cut to 19-16. A single run in the 7th gave the Rebels a 4 run margin, but with two outs, and having cancelled that run out the Rattlesnakes had bases loaded and their best male hitter at the plate. He went for the right hit, but unfortunately got under the pitch a little too much giving Rebel shortstop for the night, Steve Gilbert, time to get out and take the catch at the second attempt.
Another Thursday thriller went the way of the Rebels and improves their record to 3-3 with them sitting pretty in 4th spot in the league. Next up for the Rebels a home game against the Bracknell Scorchers.
Kayleigh Chamberlain (Rebels), Billy Bryce (Rattlesnakes), Tracey Ellis (Rattlesnakes)
The Royals, sporting their new 2014 kit, made a disastrous start to their match against the league leading Phoenix. Dropped catches and a poor fielding display cost them 10 runs, that would eventually cost them the match. It was a carry on performance from the Wildcats game and after conceding 4 more runs in the second to trail 14-1, the chances of this game getting beyond 4 innings looked remote. The 3rd inning was the highlight of the Royals night. They finally got some batting going and moved runners round and fielded well in return. A 7 run blast did at least bring some respectability to the score, but even with the improved fielding, Phoenix stull added 3 runs to leave the Royals trailing 17-8. The 4th and 5th inning saw the Royals stem the Phoenix run follow to a trickle, but the lack of runs in both innings put them 3 runs away from the run-ahead rule at 20-8. Another blank 6th inning left Phoenix with the easy job on knocking off the 3 runs required and a disappointing evening ended 23-8 to the home team.
A night to forget all around, seven dropped catches and four scoreless innings out of six now leave the Royals one off the bottom. With a home game against BA Jets next and then a crucial home game against bottom team Flames in two weeks, the Royals season is at a pivotal moment.
Royals: Alan Le Marquand, Ellie Wheeler,
Phoenix: Natasha Humphries, Chris Snelling
The Rebels improved their league record to 2 and 2 with a 16-15 win over RP Hawks. In a really good Division 2 encounter, the Rebels were on the right end of a thrilling finish for once.
It didn’t look good to start with, a poor first innings for the Rebels saw them concede 4 runs, due in part to walked batters scoring and dropped catches, then scoring 1 in replay. The Hawks took advantage in the second inning, adding 2 runs without reply to put them 6-1 up. The Rebels rallied in the 3rd, with a first Home run of the year for Anna Dicker, followed by one from Chris Fletcher, set the Rebels on their way to a 5 run inning, closing the gap to 7-6. That gap was removed in the 4th, Hawks scored 3, but Rebels scored 4 to tie the game going into the 5th at 10-10. The Rebels held the Hawks in the 5th, which included a stunning catch by Ellie Wheeler, saving two runs. Then good batting from the Rebels middle order, saw then take the lead for the first time, 14-10. Both sides traded 2 runs in the 6th Leaving the Hawks training 12-16 with a final bat to come. A final rally looked on, as the Hawks scored 3 and looked like making the Rebels bat it out, but a final leaping catch by Shortstop Chris Fletcher cut the rally short and sealed the game.
This was a really good game, played in a good spirit by two equally matched teams. The result moves the Rebels to 4th with a 2-2 record, the Hawks drop to 1-2 with game in hand over their rivals.
Rebels: Chris Fletcher, Gemma Jones,
Hawks: Nigel Davison, Ellie Markham
The Rebels suffered a 7th inning heart break as they lost 17-10 to Chalfont Firebirds. The game was there for the taking as the Rebels had fought back from a early deficit to grab the lead, only to see if taken away at the end.
The game started pretty evenly, Firebirds scoring 3 then conceding 2 in the first. A strong defensive performance from the Rebels, helped by two catches by 1st base person Gemma Jones, set the Rebels up to take the lead 4-3. Firebirds rallied to regain the lead with 5 runs in the 5th, to the Rebels 2. After 3 innings with the Rebels scoring consistently and the Firebirds struggling with pitching, it looked like the game was going the home teams way. This looked more favourable when a 4 run 4th inning to zero game the Rebels a 2 run, 10-8 lead. However, the offensive jitters set in, and failure to score in the 5th and 6th inning and conceding two left the game in a 10-10 knife edge going into the last.
It wasn’t to be, the Firebirds, rallied one last time and taking advantage of a few Rebels errors, put on an impressive 7 run burst. The Rebels couldn’t follow and failed to score for the 3rd inning in a row. It was a big disappointment after getting into a good position. On the positive note, this was a far closer game than either of the two last season.
Rebels MVPs for the evening: Chris Fletcher, for a good batting display and solid fielding display, Gemma Jones for a good display on 1st.
Next up the Rebels entertain RP Hawks at home as they look for a first home win of the campaign.
The Royals suffered a nightmare evening as a 9-man Wildcat team won for the 4th time in a row at Maidenhead. The Wildcats took the lead in their first at bat, but with only one on the board, the Royals looked to have a good chance to take the advantage. It wasn’t to be as the Wildcats made quick work of the top order. The game turned on the 2nd inning, Wildcats taking advantage of Royal errors to score 7 and increase their lead to 8, a lead they never looked like surrendering. The Royals did manage to half the deficit in the 3rd inning but another Wildcat surge in the 4th and 5th inning pushed the score to 19-8. A small rally by the Royals in the 7th did make the score more respectable, but the game had been lost long before.
This was a far cry from the performance last week against the Flames, silly mistakes doing the basics and a very indifferent batting performance all contributed to the end results. Area’s to work on over the next week as the Royals have a bye week, then it’s off to face Chalfont Phoenix on June 3rd.
Royals: Martin Bitmead, Ellie Wheeler (Ellie’s 2nd nomination of the year)
Wildcats: Sonny Doyle, Chantal Hankin.
Both the Royals and Rebels enjoyed successful road trips this week. Both registered their first wins of the campaign and both were involved in close games. Tuesday saw the Royals travel to Farnham Park to play the Chalfont Flames. The Flames were coming of a defeat against their other club team, the Royals having narrowly lost at Richings Park. That narrow loss at RP seemed to have an effect on the Royals, who started the game extremely slowly and found themselves 9-1 down after 3 innings. A minor recovery in the 4th and 5th innings saw the Royals at least stop Chalfont from adding to their score, but going into the 6th inning they still trailed by 4. The story of the Royals season has so far been late rallies and this games was the best yet. From 9-1 down, the Royals posted 7 runs in the 6th to lead 12-9 with the Flames to bat and going into to the 7th held a one run lead. Another big inning in the 7th added 6 and game the Royals an 18-11 lead, Flames tried to rally, but could only manage 2 in reply as the Royals ran out 18-13 winners. That win, put the Royals 3rd in the early table, with a first home game of the season against the Wildcats next up.
The Rebels were involved in an equally close encounter away at Bracknell Scorchers. The Rebels lost a close game here last year and this game seemed to follow a similar pattern as they jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first. Scoring would be at a premium in this game, neither side really taking advantage of getting runners into scoring position early. With scoreless 2 and 3rd innings, it was going to come down to which side could force an error and get something going. In the 4th the Rebels finally added to their score, 3 more unanswered runs gave them a 6-1 lead. Both teams exchanged a run in the 5th, to set up a grandstand final two innings. Bracknell finally got something going, they, first, kept the Rebels off the scoreboard, and then began to eat away at the lead. In the end, they reduced the deficit to 7-5, but it was just a little too late to save the game and the Rebels had their first win of the season. Following other results, the Rebels are 4th in the table behind the Blue Sox, Rattlesnakes and Flyers. Next up for the Rebels is a home game against the RP Hawks.
As part of Get Berkshire Active week, Maidenhead Softball Club is holding a taster evening on May 27th from 7pm at North Maidenhead Cricket club. This is open to anyone aged 14 and above. No prior experience needed, not equipment needed, just outdoor sports wear.