Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Voodoos 9 - 8 Loan Wolves

Don't fear the Reaper
Libs had brought her new bat to the game, the formidably-named and heavy metal styled Reaper. It didn't prove a game-winning secret weapon, sadly, but the game was thrilling enough without being decided by a magic bat.
I took the London Overground out to Gospel Oak, then made my way to Parliament Hill for the game. It was a crisp, sunny evening, a welcome change after the deluges of recent weeks. The field was attractive and well-tended, but with a marked slope which caused more than one player to stumble running up to First or misjudge their downhill run to Third.
With the Voodoos a houngan down, an automatic out helped our cause somewhat. Still, we knew they had some strong players and we had to be at our best. We had a good First inning, getting four runs on the board. Sterling fielding saw us shut them out, and though they returned that favour, we had held onto that 4-0 lead up to the top of the fifth. We made three more, but they made good on the threat which their batting had hinted at earlier and a few key hits saw them narrow the lead to two. By the end of the Sixth, they had drawn level.
So the weather was good, the evening still young, and the ballgame was poised 7-7, with all to play for in the final inning.
One Wolf made it round. Just one. We were defending the slightest of leads, with our opponents in the middle of their batting order. Could we close them down, make the outs we needed? Two would probably have done it, with that automatic out coming up. Sadly, the Voodoos kept their nerve and batted well, good base hits pushing players towards victory. Inexorably they drew level. The pressure was on us now. The automatic out came and went, but a fine hit saw them bring one more round to end what had been a thrillingly close match in their favour.
A fine showing by the Wolves, without costly errors or fumbles. Solid batting, good backing up, and an overall excellent team performance. If we stay as sharp as this, we should get some good results out of this season, which has effectively started afresh after the rain-enforced break.
The Voodoo sorcerers can take the pins out of that cuddly toy wolf now. Though doubtless they'll go back in again when we meet them again in a couple of weeks' time.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Loan Wolves 4 - 31 Comets Yellow

It started so well...
A close first couple of innings, with the Comets' batting giving them a slight edge, gave way to a bit of a disaster as we made unforced errors which let the game get beyond our reach.
Still, on the positive side we made some good plays interspersed with the fumbles and misjudgments, and there were good performances by both Kate and Julian as pitchers. We were playing a good team, we just didn't give our best performance against them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Superball 2010

Early start on Saturday, as I headed to Richmond Old Deer Park for Superball 2010. The journey was delayed by having to find an alternate route after some poor soul went under a train at Richmond. I arrived in time to join the batting line up for our first match, against our friends the Meteors. An enjoyable game which we lost 12-9. then onto the next match - the schedule was full with only a short lunch break. We went on to face the Dazzlers, the Mob and Comer's Homers, then the Voodoos. Sadly, we lost each time despite some good performance. To be fair, they're pretty much all higher division sides with good batting and some very sharp fielding. And we weren't shut out in any game.
I missed our play off final for fifth place due to a prior engagement. I've heard how it ended, but I'm hoping someone who was there will post about it in more detail.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Loan Wolves 19 - 8 Strayz

The Devil Strays were the other development side in our first season, and there's always been a friendly rivalry to our games. With the league reorganisation this year, they split up - some of them became the Spartans, competing in Div 2 of the Majors, while a core of recreational players formed the Strayz. Who we were playing last night.
A close game for the first four innings, despite a depleted Strayz side playing with two automatic outs. Then a virtuoso fifth inning saw us turn from trailing 6-5 to leading 19-6. The very opposite of our "one bad inning" curse of yore saw the team batting and base running at its Wolfish best. The Strayz didn't give up, but we held an unassailable lead by the seventh and posted our first win of the season.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Raiders Orange 25 - 13 Loan Wolves

A sunny afternoon was followed by a chilly evening at Wandsworth Common. The Raiders colour-code their various teams, but they all play in navy blue. So it was "Orange" by name v "orange" by shirt colour.
We had support again - Gaz's daughters were off school due to it being used as an election polling station, and they were happy to cheer for us and act as bat girls. Sadly, they didn't get to see us win - though there were some fine performances, not least from Gaz himself. It was reassuring for Tigger and myself on base to see him coming up to bat to hit us round.
Raiders built a lead in the first inning, and though we fought hard we couldn't close on them. Kate pitched a good game, despite taking a nasty hit to her foot from a batted ball halfway through the match. One inning saw Libs take three outs at Third, and Donnacha had a good game with bat and playing Second. Nice home run from Blasey. Aside from getting caught out once, I enjoyed batting and base running. But then I always do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Loan wolves 17 - 17 Werewolves

Dog Soldiers

Our first opposition for the new season were the London Werewolves, who had been last year's league development squad. We'd played them in a tournament last Summer, and won, but they were a stronger, more experienced side now . And yesterday was the night of the full moon...
It was great to be back on the field. Finsbury Park looked lovely, the softball grounds had been newly-mown, and the weather was good - a mild, slightly cloudy Spring evening.
The Werewolves had a good first inning, putting five runs on the board. I had the honour of leading off our batting. Which I promptly threw away by hitting straight to the shortstop. The Werewolves extended a lead in the first few innings, but we managed to keep in the game and start a fight back. Some fine batting and clever base running kept us in contact with their lead. Determined fielding, spearheaded by Kate's pitching, held the Werewolves in check. We suffered a shut out inning, but returned the favour thanks to two back-to-back strike outs. Our spectators, former Wolves Paul and Joel, were gripped by the thrilling game.
The sun had set now, and the light was failing for the last two innings. Our opposition seemed to be hulking larger in the gloaming, light glinting on fangs and claws. Of course, it's harder to throw a ball or hold a bat with claws, so perhaps this helped us. Tense play led to us facing the bottom of the seventh with a five point deficit to overcome. We made three by the time welost our first two outs. Julian came in to bat, with captain Michael's orders to take a walk if he could. He kept his cool and did. We walked Tzippy next, bringing Gareth up to bat. This could be the decisive moment. All was silent and tense in Finsbury Park. Then the pitch - and a strong left-field hit brought two runners home, tying the game! The werewolves managed to get the next out before we could get another runner round, and light meant that the umpire wasn't going to call for a tie-break innings. So the first Wolf v Werewolf match ended honours even. We retired to the pub along with the Weres who turned out in fact to be Warren Zevon fans rather than lycanthropes.
[X-posted from my Livejournal]

Were Wolves @ Loan Wolves 28th April 2010

Low Point: My batting - or rather my judging of the pitches. Swung at completely the wrong pitches and just didn't get any power behind it.

High Point: My last at bat! Finally a good hit and easily getting on fact, if I'd not been going so fast I might not have overshot first so much and been able to try for second... (next time!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nice day for a Wolf wedding

Queen Vic's wedding day
Loan Wolves' redoubtable Second Base fielder Victoria got married yesterday. The Wolves, as well as Tainted Glovers, were invited to the reception. We had co-ordinated our journeys to Strawberry Hill, so I joined the train at Clapham Junction to find a large party of Wolves already aboard. We all assembled at the Prince of Wales for a couple of drinks and a chance to sign the card. We sat outside in the sunny Spring afternoon, had a good old natter, and posed for pictures. Never had so many Wolves been seen together so smartly dressed. The Wolfettes were all stunning, and we guys didn't do too badly in our jackets and ties
We made our way to the reception venue, the attractive but warren-like St Mary's College, where we congratulated the happy couple and posed for further pictures - Vic had insisted there be a photo with the Loan Wolves on her wedding day. There was a buffet laid on, and the delicious home-made wedding cake was probably the best I've ever tasted. The atmosphere was good, and a great time was had by all. There was a live band fronted, apparently, by one of the girls from B*Witched. They played for the first dance - Vic and Mike had gone for an excellent old school choice of song:

We all had a dance, and the band reprised the Andy Williams at the end of the evening as we all formed a ring for the bride and groom to dance in. Things wound down after they left, and of course the Wolves ended up being the last ones to leave the party, loading up on the last of the cake to fortify us on our long roads home. I managed to cadge a lift into central London from Garry, and I was lucky with my bus connections, so I was home by half past two.
We'd had a great time, and it felt good that Vic had wanted us to be part of such a special occasion.