Tag Archives: Season Review

Season Review Day 12. Back where we started.

As we come to the end of this series we are back full circle to our last big event of the 2018, Not Jingle Balls 2. There was no snow to interrupt this second running, and it’s huge credit to the teams that attended that they supported the event twice in 2018.

IMG_4278We try to encourage everyone to get into the Christmas spirt, dress up and just have fun. The 10 teams who competed didn’t disappoint as they really got into the spirit of the event, firstly dressing in a variety of Christmas based outfits and generously taking part in the tombola.

The idea behind NJB is to get everyone into the Christmas IMG_4328mood, plays from ball and raise money for good causes. The first NJB earlier in the year raised £1,082 that went to helping the children at Hope Mosjoen Skole school in Gambia. While we didn’t set any targets for the second edition, the aim was to at least match that total. As before, we want to say a very big thank you to the Nuffield Gym, who run the Royal Masonic School for Girls Sports Hall, for being very generous in their support of us using the hall. they bought into the idea right away and they get our fund raising off to a great start.

IMG_4474The 10 teams, a mix of 6 local WMSL teams from Bracknell, Thames Valley, Reading and an MSC team, plus teams from Swindon, Milton Keynes, Portsmouth and London. were split into two groups of 5, appropriately name Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings. (Group names no reflection on the teams.). Using a variation of the outdoor rules the 5 teams in each group fought it out, in a typically seasonal manner.  The results from the two groups fed into the again appropriately named Bauble and Tinsel competitions.

IMG_4536The entire days saw some extremely close games, with lots of fantastic hitting and fielding, even more so when the outfits were taken into consideration. It’s great to see a group of Santa’s trying to make an out at second.

As we entered the final stages of the competition, the Bauble Semi-finals saw Mad Batter and Panthers face off, while perennial Indoor winners KK’s took on the host team Maidenhead Santa’s. The Tinsel semi-finals saw RG Blue, Portsmouth Dodgers, Thames Valley the Yellow team from Bracknell face off. The bottom 3 teams in both the Mince Pie and Christmas Pudding group had to go to the 3 deciding factor, as all 3 teams finished level on

IMG_4477points and also 1-1 records against each other. The two teams that missed out on the main competition were the Red’s from Bracknell and the Elves from Milton Keynes.

They played their own little final, and it was, in good tradition, the Elves who triumphed.

The finals themselves were between the Mad Batters and Maidenhead Santa competing for the Bauble, and Bracknell Yellows playing the Portsmouth Dodgers for the Tinsel.

The Results

  • Bauble Competition Winners: Mad Batters
  • Bauble Competition Runners-up: Maidenhead
  • Tinsel Competition Winners: Bracknell Yellow
  • Tinsel Competition Runners-up: Portsmouth Dodgers

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Thank You , Thank You, Thank You

While the Mad Batters and Bracknell may have walked off with the winner’s awards, it will be the good causes that will benefit from the over £1100 that was raised during the day.

Everyone at Maidenhead Softball Club, would like to thank everyone who helped make the tournament a success, from the Umpires who volunteered their time freely, the members of MSC that put on the food and tombola, and of course a big thank you to the teams, without whom the event just wouldn’t work.

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As the year goes on we will post details of the good this money is doing.

A date for your diaries, Not Jingle Balls 3 will return on December 8th 2019.

Remember, There is Still Time To Make a Difference

Of course, this is not the end, outside of the NJB event, we continue to support the Hope Mosjoen Skole through donations. If you are reading this and would have any children’s clothes, games, books or other items you would like to donate, or even items you aren’t sure about, please contact maidenheadsoftballclub@outlook.com and we will arrange collection.

And that is it for another year.

Another year over and another series over. There was an awful lot that happened in 2018, more than we manged to get into 12 episodes. As usual there were lots of highs and lows and we expect 2019 to be the same.

For this year, we will sign off remembering someone we lost – Don Chester, Player, Umpire and Friend.

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Season Review Day 11. The Lighter Side of the Year

As we reach the penultimate edition and Christmas is just a couple of days away, it’s time to look at some of moments from the year, that were, well frankly, Good, bad and bizarre.

1, When you just need a Canoe.

DSCF0633Let’s start with something you really don’t see every weekend at a Softball Event. In the middle of the hottest summers since ‘76, the Blitches at C.W.S 3 thought they might need a canoe.

They didn’t need it at this event, but would have been very useful come the SPAM tournament.

2. It’s all in the game

The one thing we can always guarantee at any event is a lot of laughs.  There was a little moreIMG_4903 that happened before this was taken. Needless to say the play didn’t quite go according to plan, from a defensive point of view at least and Lucy did see the funny side. This is one of the photos that made it into the picture of the  year category, simply because it shows the sheer enjoyment we all get from the sport and it embodies what C.W.S is all about.

3. Where did they come from?

There is a lot going on on a softball diamond at any one time. You could IMG_5568be set up right where you think the play is going to happen and then a player comes out of no where and the shot is gone. There are however, those times when the players get out the way at exactly the right moment. Thank you MartiIMG_5573n for deciding to duck and stay out the way for the entire shot this time.

This was taken during a Maidenhead Royals league game against the TV Typhoons. Games against the TV Clubs did produce some of the more bizarre images of the year.

4. A Catch is a catch

These three all came in the warm up before the game. All three ended with the ball in the glove.

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5. Keep Calm and have a break

Tournament Softball can be a very draining sport. We are lucky in a way that there are at least hour breaks between most games, because there are times when you just have to have a break.

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6. Game Face

Once you cross the chalk line, it’s time to get that game face on, focus on the job at hand.

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7. What a Difference In a Month

What make the year so interesting was the sudden difference in the conditions between August and September. August 2018, dry ground, dust clouds and short selves. September 2018, Heavy ground, water spray and waterproofs.

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8. Flying is the Safest Form of travel

Statistically speaking it’s the safest form of travel. Although, you don’t always get their on time and your luggage doesn’t always travel with you.

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9. Where is the Arc?

WellyInTheRainThe Rascals last game of the Season was in Wokingham playing the TV Rattlesnakes, IMG_1082after a hopeful start the heavens opened. It honestly looked like the game would be called. Incredible to even imagine after the summer we had had. 15 minutes of torrential rain stopped play completely.

But like all good softballers, the first break in the rain and they were back out there. The result didn’t quite go the Rascals way so it was definitely not the way they wanted to end the season.

10. It All Ends with a Bow Tie

Every team needs a player who is just an absolute sport when it comes to the odd awards. Our Kai, is that. Not only did he gain his fair share of MVP awards, including the Club Tournament award, he took the “Donkey” award each week with such a good attitude, even when he didn’t do anything to deserve it.

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That was the year. There were so many images that it could have made it into this review, but these were my favourites, and since I’m writing this I get to choose.

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 10. PSL All-Stars Shine at Hit and Run 6

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The London based PSL All-Stars make it back to back London team success at  Hit and Run 6. The  annual 8 team event is aimed at helping developing teams provide game time to new players.

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This year, along with four teams who play within the Windsor and Maidenhead league, there were 2 London based teams PSL All-Stars and COMO hotels, Herts Buzzards from Hertfordshire and the longest travellers of the day, Eastbourne Bombers. The first half of the day saw the 8 teams compete in a 2-group round-robin and from the first games it was clear the days front runners would be PSL All-Stars and RG Blue Sox.

The Round Robin – Group 1

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The All-Stars started with an 15-8 win over the Eastbourne Bombers, while the London based Hotel team COMO edged passed home team Rascals 13-12 in a thriller. Round two was a little more convincing all around COMO put 20 on the Bombers in a 20-7 win, the All-Stars posted 19 as they beat the Rascals 19-9. With both winning teams from the opening round playing winning their second games it meant the Cup/Plate divide was already decided before the last round. That last game was simply a way to decided the semi-final line up. In another 13-12 score line, the All-Stars pipped COMO for top place. The Bombers and Rascals played out an exciting 11-11 draw that left both teams in same 3rd and 4th order they started the game in.

The Round Robin – Group 2

Group 2 started with a local match-up at the Blue Sox and Hurricanes faced off. The Blue Sox triumphed in a 11-8 in a close encounter. The other teams in the group, Herts Buzzards and Bracknell Scorchers, played in the other opening game. Again, a local team came out on top as the Scorchers won 13-6. Unlike group 1, round two in group 2 pitted the two winning teams from the first round against each other as the Blue Socks and Scorchers played out another local derby. As the first round, the Blue Sox over came their local rivals 14-5. The other game was the highest scoring game of the day as the Hurricanes beat the Buzzards 20-10. Going into the final round, the Blue Sox already had a Cup place booked and the Buzzards knew they would be in the plate. The Hurricanes and Scorchers would play for the last Cup place. It was the Scorchers who sealed the place with a 15-5 win. The Buzzards pushed the Blue Sox all the way and took a lot from a narrow 10-6 defeat.

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The Semi-finals

The Cup semi-finals saw the local teams fair very differently. The Scorchers found the All-Stars too strong and went down 30-1, the Blue Sox had a much tighter encounter and only just overcame COMO 12-11 to set up the final that looked on the cards from the start. The Plate semi-finals saw both local teams fair a lot better as both overcome their oppositions, Rascals beating Buzzards 21-9, while the Hurricanes went on to beat the Bombers 14-2.

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The Finals

The Rascals have been perennial finalist over the 6 years of the competitions, but have consistently fallen short, and 2018 was another instance of that as the Hurricanes, who only just missed out on the Cup competition, took the Plate title with a convincing 18-8.

The Cup final was an encounter that was a fitting end to the day, both teams unbeaten on the day and both playing well. The was also a first appearance in the Cup final for both teams, the All-Stars had been Plate runners-up last year, while the Blue Sox had the same fate in 2016. This year both teams took the next step to Cup Final and it was the All-Start who took the crown as they squeezed past the Blue Sox 12-9.

clip_image002The standard of play and popularity of the event have gone from strength to strength over the past 6 years and looks to continue next year, now with a new winner’s name on the Roll of Honour.

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 9. Familiar Name on the C.W.S Honour Board

Our first big event of the year was C.W.S 3 way back in May. Back at Farnham Park for 2018 and under blue sunny skies we hosted 10 teams coming from far and wide. Making up the 10 this year, we had two teams ventured up from Solent, regulars Ladyheath, Chavs and No Balls took their place along with 4 teams made up of the ladies from 4 of the clubs in the Windsor League entered and new team Blitches from the Blitz softball teams.

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Group 1

We did our usual of dividing them all into two groups of 5 playing out a round-robin. The action in Group 1, which contained the reigning CWS Cup winners, No Balls, saw the all the teams being a little inconsistent to say the least. With everyone beating each other this was turning into a very interest group. At one point No Balls looked to be in trouble when they lost their 2nd game of the day and their qualification into the Cup was in the balance. It all came down to their last game, and it took an edgy 8-6 win against Pitches Be Crazy to top the group by a solitary run and avoid a potential clash with last year’s runners up and previous winners, LadyHeath.

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Group 2

Group 2 was an equally hard-fought group by all teams, and up to the last game any two of the top 3 teams could have all qualified for the Cup, (Never a good thing for the organiser when trying to get teams to the right pitch for their play-off games).

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Tropi-gal Twisters lead the group from round 1, Chavs and LadyHeath had vied for second spot through the first two rounds. With pen and paper in hand, the permutations were simply really, if LadyHeath won their game against Cleats and Cleavage that would be enough to put them through, Chavs had to win otherwise they would miss out on the Cup competition altogether. Tropi-gals, who faced Chavs, just needed to match Ladyheath’s result to win the group, anything else and they could drop into the Plate competition.

In the end it was the Tropi-gal Twisters who unfortunately lost out in this final game shoot out as they lost to Chavs. They then needed Ladyheath to loose, but they beat Cleats and Cleavage to secure the final cup place. The group was that close, that 1st ended up 3rd with just one loss in the group phase.

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Progress

Group two saw the Scorch-Hers, returning for a second year, not only score a run this time out, but also win a game. Scorch-Hers had the mis-fortune to go through the 2017 event without a run or a win. They are now, not only on the board, but also took their place in the Plate competition for real.

The Trophies start to be handed out.

The bottom team in each group played out their own Spoon final, this year that was between Cleats and Cleavage and RG Blue Sox, with Cleats and Cleavage taking the honours. IMG_4952IMG_4962IMG_4901

The Plate semi-finals saw the Tropi-gal Twisters again miss out, as they fell to the Diamond Squeezers. Blitches halted Scorch-Hers winning run in the other semi. The Cup semi-final saw No Balls beat Chavs to set up a final against Pitches Be Crazy who somewhat surprisingly defeated last year’s runners up, LadyHeath.

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The finals saw Blitches over come Diamond Squeezers to win the Plate competition in their first outing in a female event as a club. The main final saw No Balls retain their title beating Pitches be Crazy. The team from Solent were the first team other than No Balls or Ladyheath to reach this stage, which was a huge step forward for the girls from the south coast.

clip_image006This was the third running of C.W.S and each year the level has risen. The group stages this year were the most keenly fought of all previous events, and while No Balls have reached the final each time, the other teams are certainly catching them.

A third straight win is not a foregone conclusion when C.W.S 4 returns in 2019.

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 8. All That Glitters Is Gold

Rebels2018NationalsGroupAugust saw the Rebels take their place at the BSF League Nationals. Having won the Bronze competition in 2017, each section winner was given a place to defend their title. Twelve months ago, Saturday at the Nationals wasn’t very kind to the Rebels, they lost all four games in their group.

Better Than Last Year

This year the Rebels started with a high scoring encounter against Golden Sombreros. A high tempo start from the Rebels was matched by a late rally from the Sombreros. It got a little closer than the early exchanges would have indicated, but the Rebels managed to win the game 23-15.

Next up was a familiar opponent for the Club. Games against the Leicester Royals are usually close encounters and while they are rare these days, this one was right in the tradition.

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Close all the way through and right down to the wire, the Rebels pulled out a 16-14 victory to move to 2-0 on the day.

A Small Blip

So far, the day was being defined by close, but high scoring encounters. The game against the Chokers only fill one of those traits. This was also the first game where the Rebels trailed and had to chase. Both defences ruled the game and after 70 minutes of frantic softball, it was the Chokers who came out on top 9-8.

IMG_1174IMG_1225IMG_1244IMG_1250It was a little set back on the day, but even at 2-1 this was a already a good day. With one more game to go, the next day’s seeding was still up for grabs. Win and it could be the Gold section, loose and it could even be a return to the Bronze section.

Meet the Fockers

The trend of close games continued into this last game on day 1, also the trend of the games becoming lower scoring continued. The Rebels continued their strong day and ran out 10-6 winners and earnt themselves a 3-1 record and a place in the Gold competition.

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In With The Big Boys

The second day couldn’t have started any harder. Current reigning Gold Champions, the Fuzzy Ducks. The Rebels fought hard, pushed the Ducks all the way to the last inning and with a 12-5 lead, an amazing victory was within grasp. The Ducks were not the champions without being able to get out of tight situations and in true champion form a stirring final flourish snatched victory 17-12.

It was a big disappointment to have come so close and lost out. Maybe there was a hangover going into the next game against Mouse Rat.

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The game was back to the traits of Saturday, low scoring and very close. The Rebels had their chances to win the game, but couldn’t get their offense going enough to finish the job and finally went down 10-11.

The second defeat put further progression in the competition in the balance. The Rebels previous day record was in their favour, but they simply had to win their last game against Raiders Gold.

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A Valiant Effort

0-2 on the day and it was now a win or go home game. The Raiders faced a similar situation, along with Mouse Rat, all 3 teams were now playing a one-off game for a Gold Semi-final place, With Mouse Rat losing to Fuzzy Ducks to finish 1-2, this meant a Rebels win would leave three teams on 2-1 and a tense wait to see who would go through. The Rebels put everything into the last game, but the Raiders were in the end too strong and took the game 12-6 and clinched the semi-final place.

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It was a valiant effort from a team that 12 months ago had to wait until the Sunday to win a game. It was a big jump from Bronze to Gold, but in no way did the Rebels just make up the numbers. They had chances to advance and on another weekend the games might have gone their way. As it was, their adventure finished in the Gold Group stages

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 7. Rascals Grove to a Disco Ball Title

clip_image0022018 was the year the Rascals won their first ever trophy with victory in the “Grove” Final at Disco Ball. This was the third time the Rascals have entered this Disco themed development tournament and the first time they have progressed beyond the semi-final stage.

Made up mostly of the team that was putting in good league displays but getting little reward, there probably wasn’t much optimism that the team would get any future than in past years.

It is amazing what a lot of glitter can do for a teams performances.

Getting their Grove on Early

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The Rascals got off to the best possible start with 10-5 win over Baffins. In a small group event, winning early is key and while the Baffins had fought back from 6 runs down, the Rascals showed early league form and held their nerve and the lead.

A “W” on the board and time for a Mexican, Mexican Mashup to be precise. This was a game decided by a tactical mistake by the Mashup. Their pitcher has a game to forget and it was a mistake not to replace them sooner than they did. Unfortunately, by the time they did two innings in, the damage had been down and the 14 runs had been conceded. The Mashup did very well to pull it back to 16-13 and it was even their grasp to win the game, but the Rascals showed resilience and not a small amount of skill to end the game on an outstanding tag play at the plate to end the Mashups revival.

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Unbeaten going into the last game!

The last game of the group stages was a match-up of the two unbeaten teams. This was indeed uncharted territory for the Rascals. Usually this is when they working out which final they will be going to watch. The opponents, Bristol Bam, would test the Rascals to the full. The Rascals did very well and kept in the game, they pushed Bristol Bam all the way, but in the end just fell short going down 7-4.  This was just a minor trip on the Disco floor. Two wins and only 1 defeat, this was already a good day.

Semi-Final Time

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Second in the group meant a semi-final against Game of Throws, a familiar foe on the tournament scene. On paper, Game of Throws where the stronger, more experienced team, but Rascals started on the front foot took an early 5-3 lead and following some power hitting and intelligent base running took the game 12-4 with an impressive performance.

Grove Final Time

Victory in the Semi-final set up a final against the Tournaments host team, Disco Inferno. It isn’t good form to beat your hosts at their own party, so totally against protocol the Rascals raced into an 8-0 lead. Whether it was shock, or maybe manners, but the Inferno let the Rascals play. When they did finally get something going late on and get on the board, it was too late to stave off the inevitable. The Rascals saw out the final inning of the game and were very deserved 9-3 winners, and off to lift their first trophy.

20180630_20015020180630_20060320180630_200759 - CopyThis is a fantastic achievement for the club’s development team, the new players excelling themselves and were ably led by Silvia Rosenmayer. To top it all off, Bala then picked up the MVP award for the final.

The team of 2018 have set the bar for the team of 2019, the Glitter ball is pride of place in the club’s 2018 honours list.

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 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.

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.

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.