Tag Archives: League

Season Review Day 6. It’s Tough in the top flight

Rebels-v-KnightsIt was another tough season in Division 1 for the Rebels. They did win more games, gain more points and concede fewer runs than 2017, but all that wasn’t enough to better their position from 12 months ago. That, in truth, was a little frustrating for the team, especially when looking at the table to see they were as close to 4th place as 8th.

Tough Start

The Rebels couldn’t have had a tougher start to the season, their first three games would be against the top three from last year, starting with a home game against the Knights.

In 2017, the Rebels open their season against the Knights and lost. 2018 started in the same way with a 31-10 defeat.  The positives from the game were that the Rebels scored 10 runs.

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The First Derby

There was little time for the Rebels to smart over that early defeat as the next game up was the first club derby.  This derby was one that wouldn’t live long in the memory. The Rebels had a night to forget with both bat and glove. 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 derby games, and both would have been happy to get this one out the way early.

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When will May End?

May just kept heaping pain in the Rebels. Following the heavy derby defeat an away trip to Farnham Phoenix capped a low month. the 22-1 defeat matched the margin of defeat inflicted by the Knights, but without the positive of scoring runs. The Rebels just weren’t able to score enough runs to give themselves a shot and when May ended in a rain out with the game against TV Typhoons, a team that the Rebels knew they had to take points off during the season to survive, being put off till later in the season it was a bit of relief.

June Starts with a Flourish

A new month and an early change of fortune. A win, an away win at that and an impressive run tally. The 26-1 win over the Tornadoes game the Rebels the “W” they had been looking for. It also kicked started their offense. While defeats against the Blue Sox and Jets would follow, the Rebels were at least scoring runs now.

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28-14 doesn’t sound that good, but 14 runs was a season high so far and the margin of defeat was the smallest, That was surpassed a week later with a narrow 17-7 to the Jets. The optimism that could have been taken out of those results vanished as June ended in the heaviest defeat of the season in the return derby. This was an evening when it was more the Rebels just has a severe off night as opposed to the Royals playing well. The Royals had, after all, come into this game on the back of two demoralising defeats. This derby is truly filled in the “Bad day at the office draw”.

Survival Comes in July

The business end of the season started with the return fixtures against the Knights and Phoenix. The league position was getting a little tense, TV Tornados had been having an equally rough ride, but a surprise win over Phoenix meant they were matching the Rebels record and only the runs being conceded by the Tornados was keeping them at the bottom. That position strengthened as the Rebels put in a strong performance against the Knights. The 17-12 defeat was the closet game between the teams to date and to only loose by 5 was a help to the Rebels cause. An equally strong performance against Phoenix saw the Rebels go down 22-11, in a game that could have gone their way.

With the season closing fast the Rebels dug deep and got their second win of the year. A tight 27-20 win at home to the Typhoons put Division 1 survival in sight. Nervy, close, at this stage as win is worth its weight and set the Rebels up for the game that all but secured their top-flight status. The 33-22 win over the TV Tornados put distance between the two teams at the bottom. The Tornados had to find two wins from somewhere and with games running out, it did look like only a matter of time before they would go.

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July ended with a bump, another away defeat came against the Blue Sox. The Rebels were on top for most of this game and lost out in the final stages. However, results were going their way elsewhere. The final official fixtures was a 33-6 defeat against the BA Jets, this result secured the Jets survival and a few days later in their make-up game against Tornados their victory secured the Rebels survival.

TV did have the final say of the year. The Typhoons gain revenge for the earlier defeat with a 26-16 victory to end the Rebels season with another defeat.

With 3 wins and 11 defeats, it was a really tough season, but the Rebels did finish 5 points clear of the relegation place and only 6 points off 4th place. It’s a tough tight league and while on paper it doesn’t look all that good, there were lots of positives during the season. For one, they are in Division 1 again next 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.

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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.

Season Review Day 4. Like Fine Wine, Rascals League Season in Review

IMG_1116Like a fine wine that gets better the longer you leave it, the Rascals got better the longer they played. With a very big squad to accommodate including a number of new players, it was not unexpected that it might take time to get the perfect blend. But, persistence and a lot of hard work on the training field paid off

 

A Good Start.

The season got off to the best possible start with a home win and a pretty convincing win at that. To get that first “W” on the board is all important with a new team and the bonus of scoring twenty plus runs was a real tonic.

The Drought

With that early victory under their, there was a lot of confidence going into the first away day of the season. That trip ended in a 13-11 defeat against the RG Blue Sox 2. Looking back, it was a game the Rascals should have gotten something more from and that may have changed the way things panned out over the next few weeks.

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As it was, that first defeat was the start of a run of 4 games without a win. The schedule also didn’t favour the Rascals as their next two fixtures we against the then lead leading Scorchers 2 and then the previous year’s Division winners, the Wildcats. The Scorchers 2 were two strong in every department and the 23-6 margin of victory was fair. The Wildcats can into town having recovered from their early season woes with a very strong team. In recent years the Wildcats had inflicted some heavy defeats on the Rascals, and this first encounter of the year followed that pattern as the Rascals went down 27-4.

clip_image002IMG_1842IMG_1835As we entered June, the opportunity to end the winless run was presented to the Rascals as they entertained the then bottom placed Scorchers 1. A close game again evaded the Rascals as the Scorchers 1 chalked up their first win of the year, 32-21.

Hurricanes Epic Part 1

Mid-June, the Rascals hadn’t won since opening night and while they had played well in patches, they hadn’t quite got the breaks and converted their good play into points. Away at the Hurricanes that changed. In one of the best performances of the season, the Rascals showed both their ability to score freely and then be strong in defence. This game looked over in 3 innings as the Rascals overpowered the Hurricanes defence as they raced into a 17-2 lead after 3 and half innings. The game looked over as the Hurricane came to bat in the 4th, but the host had other ideas and going into the last inning the Hurricanes had reduced that lead down to just two runs with the winning runs on base. It took a fine game saving catch from Anne-Laure Bugeja with the Hurricanes posed to complete a remarkable come-back.

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We Spoke too soon.

It looked like the Hurricanes games was the turning point, Going into the game against the title chasing Rattlesnakes, confidence was high. Unfortunately, unlike the previous week, the Rascals came up against a team right in form. The Rascals did very well to hold the Rattlesnakes to just 3 runs in the first two innings, the area the Rascals couldn’t get going was their batting, 3-0 become 10-0, then 16-0 after 4 innings as the Rascals failed to convert their runners in scoring position into actual runs. The Rattlesnakes controlled the game from the start and 16-0 was in the end a fair reflection of the game.

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You don’t always get what you deserve.

The next encounter was a enthralling 7 innings of hard fought game against the Blue Sox. This was the Rascals best all-round team performance of the season. On defence the Rascal’s did not commit a single fielding error, so it had to be a very good performance from the Blue Sox to win 15-9. The difference in the end was the batting, the Blue Sox hitters found a couple more gaps than the Rascals, and when the Rascals needed a bounce to go their way, it favoured the Blue Sox.

Building to a climax

It was starting to look like the Rascals would have one of those seasons as they faced their longest trip of the season with an away to the BA Flyers. The Rascals performances have been getting better and better and against the Flyers this continued as they quickly jumped into a 13-4 lead after 3 innings. In extremely hot conditions 13-4 became 18-4 after 5. Two years ago, the Rascals had lead 10-1 going into the 6th inning and lost and when a poor 6th inning saw the Flyers reduce the deficit to 18-10 history looked to be repeating itself, but this time around 4 runs in the last gave the Rascals their third win of the season 22-10.

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The up and date rollercoaster of the season continued. A good win then followed by a tough fixture as week 10 paired the Rascals against the title chasing Scorchers 2. This was another good performance from the Rascals and they were in the game at 14-10 till the 6th inning. It took a gear change from the Scorchers to finally put enough on the scoreboard to end a valiant Rascals challenge. 21-10 doesn’t really reflect how close the game was and how close the Rascals came to denting the Scorchers title chances.

The Run

After Scorchers 2, came Scorchers 1. Having pushed their sister team so close, the Rascals showed how it could have gone seven days ago. The final score of 33-17 was even a little misleading as to the total dominance shown by the Rascals, who lead 33-6 at the bottom of the 6th. A little compliancy crept in near the end, but that takes nothing away from a result that saw them score over 30 runs for the first time this season.  One win was followed by two as the Wildcats forfeited. Then, just like buses, a third came in the the return fixture against the Hurricanes.

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It all ends in the rain.

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After 13 weeks of glorious sunshine and some fantastic ball, the final game of the season saw the heavens open. A rain and hail-soaked Rascals couldn’t raise themselves for one final game. The Rattlesnakes took control from the off, scoring 5 to the Rascals 1 in both the first and second inning, which was extended to 13-2 in the third as they shut the Rascals out. The high point of the game was the 4th as the Rascals scored twice and held their hosts to zero, but that was it for the evening as a 7 run 5th ended the game and the season.

What did it all mean?

The Rascals finished 6th.  While this was a place lower than last season, this was the first full season for half of the players and this bodes well for 2019.

Come and Try Softball

MSC Logo_thumb[1]We 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.

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.

 

First Inning Collapse Costs Royals

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.

MVPs:

Royals: Alan Le Marquand, Ellie Wheeler,

Phoenix: Natasha Humphries, Chris Snelling

Rebels beat Hawks 16-15 in Thursday Thriller

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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.

MVP:

Rebels: Chris Fletcher, Gemma Jones,

Hawks: Nigel Davison, Ellie Markham

Rebels leave it late,again, against Scorchers

This is going to sound very familiar to the last Rebels report. A similar story of leaving it late to take the points. This time the hero was a different player, but the outcome was the same.

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The unfortunate recipients of the late Rebels rally this week were the Bracknell Scorchers. The Scorchers had inflicted the Rebels first defeat of the season when they meet in May, so not only where the Rebels seeking revenge for that defeat, but the Scorchers were also the team one place above them in the table.

The game started as many Rebels games do, getting two outs without conceding a run, then letting the opposition in. This time they allowed 2 Scorcher runs, but responded quickly with 3 runs of their own thanks to hits from Naj Khan, Gemma Jones, Joe White and Gary Green. The second inning saw the Scorchers hit back with two more runs to take a 4-3 lead as they blanked the Rebels.

That Rebel out then began a sequence of 3 scoreless innings from both teams. A combination of indifferent batting and excellent fielding that included a double play between Chris Fletcher and Gemma Jones and a great line drive catch by Charlotte Trimby.

As with the Ascot game, the drama started in the 6th. Finally a team managed to score, with the Scorchers adding to their 1 run lead. This mean the Rebels had to hit back quick, which they did by repeating the 3 run sequence they managed back in the first. Going into the 7th they had a slender 1 run lead, which the Scorchers erased to tie the score and keep the game going. That run ensure the Rebels would avoid a league double by the Scorchers, but they wanted more. The inning started well, with Ellie Wheeler reaching first base, in part thanks to an errant throw, but the Rebels had a base runner. Now could Paul Roche, (pictured above) drive in the winning run? His triple down the left field line allowed a quick Ellie Wheeler to make the long run from first to score the required run and seal a dramatic victory.

The Rebels win allowed them to close the gap on the Scorchers to 3 points, with a game in hand, without change their respective league positions.