Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Practice with the Devil Strays 28/10/06

Alex, Vic, Richard, Tiggs, Peter, Kate and Julian turned out for the first winter practice of 2006/07. Some of us arrived early and got in some throwing and batting practice. Tiggs and I went for a run round the pitch. I didnt find this too bad and will definitely do some more running to improve fitness.
Duncan and some of the Strays arrived and we did some throwing drills and then played some games with 7 a side.
Tom from the Strays showed how effective you can be with long distance accurate throws to first base.
Kate was very quick to spot a ten pound note of mine which had blown out of my carrier bag.

Afterwards we went to the pub and played pool which I hadnt had a go at for years.

It was a very good day and exceptionally mild for late October.

Practice and lots of pool!

A small but perfectly formed bunch of wolves met on Saturday for a practice session at Finsbury park. I thought it worked really well to get there at 10am for some wolves only practice and then have some strays join us from 11am. It meant we could practice on some skills that we wanted to focus on (pitching and batting) and then also have enough people later on to get a game going.

Low point of the morning for me was taking a powerful line drive from Richard right on the arm - my whole arm went dead for a good 5 minutes and I now have a very impressive bruise to show for it! High point was the fact that the morning led into the afternoon.

We all decamped to the Finsbury for 'just a quick one', at around 1.30ish...Well, what can I say, famous last words indeed - many rounds and a considerable number of games of pool ensued... and suddenly it was 9pm. Alex demonstrated his ample ability at potting balls and much hilarity ensued as myself and Manjiv chased balls around the table.

I feel slightly guilty that we spent longer playing pool than we did playing softball, but we once again proved that the Loan Wolves will be the last men and women standing (albeit slightly wobbily) in the pub!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

LW Update

I'm afraid the Loan Wolves are still recovering from the heavy softball weekend of a week ago....I'll try my best to keep quiet and not annoy the LW's too much... shhhhh...

p.s. plus Gobby is away in Sri Lanka....no wonder it's quiet :-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Low Point - High Point of Tournament

To continue the Wolves tradition, I thought that I'd start the final Low Point/High Point of the season:

Low Point- Watching a line drive speed impressively off my bat, right into the glove of the great shortstop on the Development team in the second match, for an easy out.

High Point- Hitting the ball exactly where I was aiming it (a real first for me), resulting in a morale boosting home run.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What a Team!

Weekend of Wolves

[X Posted from my LJ]

On Saturday, the Loan Wolves turned out, braving the sunny but chilly Autumn afternoon to cheer on SuperBen and Jane A, our representatives in the North v South all-star game. Tremendous performances by our star Wolves accounted for five of the runs scored by their side – better than any other team. Sadly, they were subbed out to let other players have a go, and the North promptly lost the game. However, we Wolves won the wholly appropriate prize of a crate of beer for bringing the most supporters to the all-star match! We may not win games, but we can at least win something. We celebrated this great achievement in the pub, leaving our prize beer in the clubhouse till Sunday, the day of the end-of-year tournament.
The tournament should have been held two weeks ago, but local authority people decided not to play ball, as it were, and it had to be rescheduled. Sadly, the other teams from the bottom of the division couldn’t make the new date so we were mostly facing stronger opposition. Always outnumbered, always outgunned. At least we were lucky in getting a sunny, relatively warm, day for it.
Early start for all of us – in my case, earlier than a weekday – to get to Finsbury Park on time. Laden down with bat, kit, folding chair, food, drinks, picnic blanket etc, I got to the venue by 8.45. We did some stretches, and got ready for first game vs Glove Me Tender. We played well, really, but were just warming up, and were sadly defeated 15 -1. I think Paul got that 1, with a home run.
Somewhere in the first game, Frodo turned up. She had decided to go on from te pub on Saturday to a house party nearby. Where she had stayed up till 6 am, apparently. She turned up from her friends’ place clutching a pottery mug which we assumed held strong back coffee. No. It was vodka. Other stimulants of choice for the Wolves during the day included fruit, cocktail sausages, jelly babies, the few pieces of maple candy I’d scrounged from the meet-up with Emperor Fool, and that crate of beer from the all-star game.
On to a game vs this year’s development squad, which contained several baseball players who could hit the ball for miles, and had Kim from BSUK on First catching anything thrown within twenty feet of her. Lost, 13 – 9.
Third up were Oblivion. The Bolivians (as I’m sure I heard one confused Wolf call them) were pretty useful, and two outs at First spoiled my batting stats (otherwise batted .1000 for the day). This was in spite of Ben’s dad offering me the incentive of a Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar if I made it to base that game. I did suggest to him that if I ate fewer chocolate bars, I might have been able to run fast enough to beat the throws to First. Another loss, though I can’t recall the score.
Lunch interval of half an hour followed. Just about long enough to polish off our sandwiches, crisps, fruit and what seemed to be the contents of Ben’s family’s kitchen cupboard.
First afternoon game was vs Italian Suede. I managed to stop a fast-moving grounder to Right Field, throwing it in to hold the batter at First. We lost that match, by the way. Just in case you wondered. But I did get a Fry’s Chocolate Cream, so that was all right.
Then we played our arch-rivals, the Devil Strays. And, um, lost. Despite a great performance from the Wolves. Reinforcements arrived at this point – the rest of Ben’s family, and also Kate. She had a pretty good excuse for turning up late – she’d completed the Nike 10K that morning. Time of 1 hr 2’18”.
Having lost all our games, we were in the bottom-place play-off. Vs the Dev side again. This was a tense match. I was sitting it out, scoring, calling out batting order, and doing lots of shouting. We had a slim lead, but one big hit from one of the bad guys reversed that. The game ended 8 – 7 to them.
So we ended the day with our record unbroken. We won some new match balls, in an “everyone gets a prize” sort of way, and baffled everybody with our cheerfulness in the face of losing. Also escaped major injuries, which was a bonus for us.
On to the pub, where we celebrated our achievements. It was turning chilly, and we were defiantly the last team to go indoors. Another Loan Wolves Little Victory™. Inside, we found a cosy corner under a TV projector screen. Rather than MTV, this was showing, sound off, a wildlife documentary about wolves. Kind of appropriate. We watched our namesakes hunt down and devour their prey savagely, wondering perhaps why we never manage to do that.
Duncan of the Devil Strays came over to tell us, apropos of nothing, that he thought; “you guys rock!”. He promised to buy our whole team a drink when we eventually win a game. We intend to hold him to that. Coach Darren despaired at our laid-back attitude to failing to achieve victory. But then he is American.
OK, so we didn’t win. But the difference between the clueless, confused bunch of no hopers we were last year and the focused, skilful, committed team we’ve become was really marked (even if we still can’t win a raffle). We’ve survived our first season, we haven’t given up, and if the other sides have yet to fear the Wolves, I think we have at least earned their respect.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Went for a softball practice after work last night.
Five Wolves including three of our pitchers were there.  We got some practice in ahead of Sunday's tournament.  Didn't have a long practice, on account of it getting dark.  Really, really quickly.  But it was good fun. The pitchers pitched. Peter fielded brilliantly.  I made one good hit that I'd love to reproduce on Sunday, and plenty of OK contacts with the ball.  We ended with catches in the outfield, and stopped after all four fielders in turn held onto their catches - and before bad light led to someone (and let's be honest, it would have been me) being hit in the head.
My favourite moment was actually in the throwing and catching practice at the start.  A toddler, out for a walk with his dad, saw us and shouted in excitement.  His father stood and let him watch for a few minutes.  And those few minutes, with the little kid watching as Ben and I threw high balls for each other to dive in or leap up for, taking catches and making high throws, were a lot of fun.

End of Season Awards - wrap up

The “Chatterbox” Award for most chatting while on base ....Jane “JC” Clark

The “Bravery” Award for the most daring quick change behind a bush in a park ....Jane Ackroyd

The “Botham” Award for the wolf who hasn't quite realised we're not playing Cricket...Peter “PW” Williams

The “Weebles Wobble but don’t fall” Award for the wolf with the most grass stains...Olivia "Foxy" Fox

The “rackinfrackinvarmint” Award for most impressive swearing on the pitch...Richard Hornshaw

The “Four Cheers” Award for numeracy ...Ben “SuperBen” Woods

The “gloves are for wimps”” Award for most attempts at fielding barehanded...Julian “The Machine” Allen

The “Fanclub” Award for 'The President: Loan Wolves Supporters’ Club (Dublin chapter)...Tony McMahon

The “appreciation” Award for being the most dedicated Loan Wolves supporter and provider of chocolate..John Woods

The “Starlight Express” Award for wearing the most visible shinpads...Kate “Rabbit” Scott

The “I make this look good” Award for best use of a crutch as a fashion accessory Alison “Fordo” Ford

The “Psychedelic Chameleon” Award for most frequently changing hair colour...Alex Allen

The “Social” Award for most dedication shown to Loan Wolves related social events and stuff...Karen “Social”Wolf “ Shackleford

The “Do as I say and not as I do” Award for most valuable coaching tips...Paul “Gobby” Duncan

The “Full Contact” Award for most impressive collisions with base runners...Vic “The Target” Eves

The “Florence Nightingale” award for thewolf with the best first aid kit....
…who coincidentally also needed the most treatment...Andy “Cooler King” Horton

The "Red Bull" Hyperactivity award for the most leaping and yelping during a game...Manjiv "Tiggs" Dhaliwal

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More Partying Wolves

For those who missed the email there's more Party Photos on Flickr

Thanks for my awards :-)