Category Archives: Royals

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.

IMG_5049KaiPicture 006 (2)

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.

SteveThrowZaraCatchKiaCatch

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.

ZaraPickUpIMG_1881IMG_0014

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.

IMG_5573Picture 005

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

IMG_1888IMG_1885IMG_1893

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.

Advertisements

Season Review Day 3. Maidenhead at First Ball 2018

It didn’t take long for Indoor to become a distant memory. No sooner had the indoor kit been put away we were right into the outdoor season. The one thing that is striking looking back is how cold it was at First Ball. It’s hard to imagine now, looking back at the images and seeing the grass so green and the dirt so dark, when for rest of the summer we just see everything brown, dry and hot.

So, with the weather update out the way, on to First Ball. Unlike Indoor, First Ball and Maidenhead teams do have a good history. Both the Rebels and the Royals have won trophies in three of the last four years, the Rebels doing especially well with both a Cup Winner (2016) and Runner-up (2017) trophy in that haul. IMG-20180429-WA0006

The Royals went into the event fielding a very strong team, First Ball was the testing ground for the League team and the target of a push for the league title. 10 of the 12 players who played would eventually play the majority of the league program. The Rebels weren’t in the same boat, they could only field 7 from their 12 who would go on to play league. It was still a strong team, bolstered with tournament players, and expectation of victory were as high with them as with the Royals.

The Rebels Story

20180429_165619The Rebels days didn’t start the way they had hoped, a 5-run defeat to the Wildcats, a team who have had the Rebels number over the past few years, put them on the back foot right away. In a 4-team group you have to win 2 of 3 to stand any chance of a Cup place and the pressure was on now. The Rebels bounced back after that early disappointment with a confidence building 12-5 win of Rattlesnakes. Early disappointment was then completely put to bed as they quickly followed their first win with an emphatic win 27-0 win over the Brewers. Their 2-1 record left then 2nd in the table behind the unbeaten Wildcats and set-up a Cup Semi-Final against the other unbeaten team in the competition, the MK Diamonds.

This was the Rebels third consecutive Cup Semi-Final and having won the last two, confidence was high of making it three finals in a row. However, the MK Diamonds had other ideas and ended the Rebels trophy sequence as they won out 11-4. The Diamonds showed they were the class act of this park of the competition as they would go onto win the Cup, beating the Wildcats 17-11.

The Royals Story

The Royals day started with a bang. A 20-4 win over Blitz Havoc put down a marker to the other 20180429_183619teams in the competition. If that win didn’t establish the Royals as the team to beat, then the win over Pav’s Knicks surely did as the Royals came from 9-0 down to win 11-9. The Royals then finished off their group games to top their group with a 17-2 win over the TV Typhoons. That set up a semi-final against the Blue Sox. This was a potential rehearsal for the league title encounters later in the season, and it was the Royals who made the first statement as they progressed to the Cup Final with a hard fought 10-5 win. The Royals group dominated the Cup competition as the Knicks overcame the Blitz Bombers to set up a rematch of the earlier encounter. The final didn’t live up to the earlier game. The Knicks never really got going and the Royals never let them. The 17-5 win gave the Royals the Cup, a perfect 5-0 day and the best platform to go into the league season.

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.

 

Top 6 finish for Royals and Rebels at Diamond 2

It was a good weekend for the two MSC team playing in B Grade at Diamond 2. Both teams finished inside the top 6. For the Rebels this was a huge step up from Diamond 1. The Royals improved their standing from Diamond 1 by 1 place with a 3rd place finish.

The Competition Begins

Rebels D2The Rebels failed to win a group game at Diamond 1 and faced a tough opening game against the Oxford Angels. In a hard fought game, the Rebels came out 11-10 winners to record their first win at this level and get off the the perfect start on a day that would see them play 6 games. The Royals started the day against The Mob. Neither team had played each other in the first event, so this was the first encounter of the season for both. Like the Rebels this one went down to the wire with the Royals coming out winners 8-7.

So, with winning starts for both teams confidence was high for the next games. Both teams faces opposition they had meet in Royals D2Diamond 1, Rebels face Bristol Monkeys whom they faced in the knockout phase and had beaten. Royals faced Pyros, whom they meet in group play and had narrowly lost to. History repeated itself. The Rebels won easily the Royals again lost by 1. The Rebels were enjoying an excellent run and would extend that run as they faced and beat TV Typhoons.

Long Afternoon For the Rebels

With a record of 3-0, the Rebels now faced the hardest part of their day, The odd schedule meant they would play 3 games in a row. After that, their worst result of the day would be eliminated. Three games in the heat of Saturday afternoon was a lot, and while they came close against Ducky Fuzz but the winning streak came to an end here. Next up the London Raiders, who were too strong in the batting line up for the Rebels. This was their biggest defeat of the day and would be the result that would be discarded. Going into the last game against Dodgers East the Rebels were are 3-2. But this was a game to far and a third lose did take a little shine off the day. However, with an overall record of 3-2 this was a vast improvement over Diamond 1 and was good enough to qualify for the Cup competition on Sunday. 

The Top four all meet.

The Royals afternoon was equally as tough as the Rebels, but in relation to opponents rather AnnaCatchthan game timing. The Top 4 from Diamond 1 were, Pav’s Knicks, Misfits, Spitting Camels and Royals. All four were in the same group and the Royals had to face al three starting with the Misfits. The Royals had played the Misfits twice in NSL 2 and once at BA last season and managed only 1 win. This was the first encounter this season and the Royals came out on top to improve to 2-1 on the day. Next up came Pav’s Knicks for the 4th time this year, The were Royals leading the overall series 2-1, but had yet to beat the Knicks at Diamond event. That was soon put right and whereas the Semi-final at Diamond 1 was  a disappointing performance from the Royals, this was more like the norm. Good defence and excellent offense saw the Royals over the line and improve to 3-1 on the day. With a top 3 finish in the group just need to qualify for the cup, the Royals were in strong position with one game to go. Diamond 1 had started with a lose to Spitting Camels, unfortunately Saturday at Diamond 2 ended the same way. The Camels again proved too strong offensively and left the Royals 3-2. That was good enough to make the top 3 and a place in the Sunday Cup competition along with the Rebels.

Derby Sunday

The Top 3 teams in the two groups from Saturday formed a new group for the Cup competition on the Sunday. Teams in this new group played a cross over schedule against the teams from the opposite group to the one they were in on Saturday. This meant the Royals and the Rebels would meet in a Tournament at B Grade for the first time. With only the top two in the Cup group making the final and only 3 games it was critical to get a good start. As you would expect when two club teams meet, there was banter, nerves and someIMG_5190 great plays. On this occasion it was the Royals who came out on top 8-5. It made the Rebels chances of a final spot extremely slim. That didn’t stop them putting it all into their remaining two games. They would face the No. 1 team and No. 3 team from Diamond 1 in Pav’s Knicks and Spitting Camels. Unfortunately neither game went in the Rebels favour and they would end the day bottom of the cup group. While that sounds a poor result, to come 6th from 16th in Diamond 1 is a huge improvement and tribute to how the team adapted to the higher level they are playing at this year.

So close for the Royals

After victory in the derby match, the Royals were in a good position to to make the finals, next for them where the winners of the other group from Saturday, the London Raiders. This was a different encounter for the Raiders compared to their match against the Rebels the previous day. In the end, 1 run in the last inning settled it in the Raiders favour. The result dented the Royals chances, but with one game to go and the other teams at the top all playing each other it was getting tight. Last up for the Royals were Ducky Fuzz. The two had clashed in the quarter final at Diamond 1. The Royals won that encounter by some distance. This time around it was a much closer affair. Having already been in 3 games settled by fewer than 3 runs, it wasn’t a surprise that this one went the same way. The Royals edging the game by two.

The long wait

With both teams having finished their programs the wait was on. Rebels lost all 3 games and were out. The Royals had a chance thanks to their defence on the Sunday. With one more round of games, The Royals were hoping the London Raiders could beat the Knicks or at least score 11 runs. In the end neither result happened and the Royals were left 3rd missing out on the final by a couple of runs.

A 3rd place finish was an improvement on Diamond 1’s 4th place and there were lots of positives from the weekend. Pav’s Knicks went on to win the Cup and are in pole position for the series. For the Royals to win the series now, they will have to win Diamond 3 and hope Pav’s fail to make the top bracket. Regardless of whether that happens, this has been a fantastic Diamond series and sitting in the top 3 and a chance of a runners-up spot is the result performance at B grade by the team. it will be a long wait till Diamond 3 at the end of July.

Royals make top 4 at Diamond 1

imageThe Maidenhead Royals began their quest for the 2018 Diamond Series championship over the weekend of May 19th and 20th. Following the disappointment of relegation from NSL 2 last year, the Diamond series represents the first steps in trying to gain promotion back this year.

The Diamond series runs over 3 weekends during the summer. Teams compete for the individual event titles, but also the series championship. The Royals are back in the “B” Grade competition and are looking for a high finish in the series.

The “B” Competition this season consists of 16 teams who are divided each event into two groups of 8. The teams play each other once to determine places and who progresses to the Cup and Plate competitions. The Royals were drawn in Group 1, along with Spitting Camels, TV Typhoons, Bristol Monkeys, Nottingham Pyros, OAPs, Dodgers East and London Flames.

The day didn’t start as well as the Royals had hopped. In a very imagetight game, they fell just short 9-7 against the Spitting Camels. Game two was a local derby as the Royals faced the Typhoons. Both teams had just meet in the opening week of WMSL League season, and this encounter was their 3rd so far, having also played in the WMSL First Ball competition. The Royals ran out 22-2 winners. That doesn’t tell the story, the Typhoons had the misfortune early on as they lost their right fielder, Sam Croft to what turned out to be a broken hand. We wish Sam well and speedy return to the diamond. The Royals were making hard work of their group games, and OAPs, didn’t make it any easier. This game went right to the final minutes of the game and a Home Run by Dom Shepherd drove in the winning run as the Royals came from behind to win 9-8.

The Royals weekend was series of outstanding batting games followed by a drought. Against Bristol Monkeys, the runs poured off the bat. The 24-5 win was the third in a row and set up the final game of the day against the Nottingham Pyros. Late on Saturday, the Royals wished they could have some of the runs from the previous game as a dogged Pyros teams kept edging in front every time the Royals seemed to have got ahead. In an almost identical finish to game 3, it was the last hit of the game that sealed it, unfortunately it was a Pyros hit and they edged the game 9-8.

The Royals started very early on Sunday against Dodgers East. Both teams starting the day 3-2 following Saturdays games. It was the Dodgers who woke first raced into an early lead, the Royals rallied and won their fourth game of the competition 10-5. The last group game was against a familiar foe, the London Flames. The two teams have met in some epic encounters over the years in the Diamond tournaments. This latest encounter will be added to the list. A back and forth encounter again went to the wire, with the Royals coming out on top 13-11 as the Flames just feel short in the last inning.

Their 5-2 record put the Royals in the Cup competition following a 3rd place finish and encounter with Ducky Fuzz in the Quarter final. Ducky Fuzz came into the game as the higher seed, but from the off the Royals demonstrated how potent their offense had been at it’s best on Saturday. Two huge innings against a fading opponent saw the Royals into the Cup Semi final with a 24-4 win.

The Semi-final was a rematch with Pavs Knicks, a team the Royals beat twice in the WMSL First Ball competition, including victory in the final. The game was the mirror opposite of the Ducky Fuzz game, with the Knicks on the front foot from the start and the Royals could not get anything going at all. As with Saturday, the batting deluge in one game was followed by the drought in the next. So, the day belonged to the Knicks who ended the Royals quest for a Diamond Cup title, with a 15-7 win. The Knicks would go on to win the Cup themselves and will be a force to be reckoned with over the summer.

A top 4 finish was a very good return to the Diamond series. In Diamond 3 last year the Royals fail to win a game, so 6 wins and 3 defeats over the weekend was a real morale boost and keeps them right in the hunt for the series championship. The Royals now look forward to Diamond 2, which starts on June 9th, with real optimism.

Royals Add to early Season Honours

image

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.

RebelsvKnights080518

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.