Thursday, August 27, 2009

Raiders Green v Loan Wolves - Highs and Lows

Inspired by Gabby's emails I am going to kick off the highs and lows of the last game of the season. Remember, finish on the high point!

Low Point - A classic ground ball fumble from me which, if taken well, could have been an easy out at first and prevented quite so many runs getting round on the next big hit. It also really hurt my thumb :(

High Point - Despite striking myself out it was my best batting performance ever with two sweet hits to right field, one of which certainly alarmed the Raider's first base. Onwards and upwards I hope.

Lesson Learnt - warm up with the heavy bat.

Raiders Green 12 - 11 Loan Wolves

Our last match of the 2009 season was the rescheduled game against Raiders Green. Sadly, we weren't able to maintain the initiative from that abandoned match, where we were seven up after our first inning. This was a close match, with neither side managing to dominate with their batting but errors in the field keeping the scores ticking round. Kate pitched well, and we had some great base hitting from Julian and Vic (hitting to right field to avoid the strong fielding at Third and Short Stop). We'd managed to post a three-run lead by the bottom of the seventh, but the Raiders had home team advantage and managed to get runners on bases without losing any outs then made the runs they needed to take the game.
This leaves us on the same points as the Tornadoes, but they played fourteen games and we played fifteen, and if I understand the cobbled-together league rules for this season properly we are going to have a 14/15ths multiplier imposed on our final points. This would leave us in the bottom three of eleven by .8 of a point, so if there's a Division Six next year we'd be relegated to it. Well, technically, it would be Division Three due to the planned splitting of the league into two.
It hasn't been as successful a season as we'd all have liked. There are areas where we have all improved, but game after game could have gone our way and didn't. Sometimes umpiring decisions went against us - this time, Matt ran into First, was called safe by the field umpire, who was then overruled by the plate umpire on their judgment call. Sometimes we had personal matters intrude into our softball - three of the Original Wolves, including one of our starting pitchers, going through redundancy through the season, for example (well, that's my excuse for turning up at the wrong park the other week). The heavens themselves intervened when we were on our best form all year in the match that was rained off. Still, though, we have to look at ourselves and how we could have done better. Batting overall is coming along well, but we need to make more of it and build the big innings that bring wins. We need to be able to have confidence in each other in our proper fielding positions, and to keep cool heads to make the right tactical choices quickly and decisively. As Michael says, when we play to our ability and work together as a team we can be a force to be reckoned with. We have the Winter ahead of us, with bi-weekly indoor training lined up. We are going to practice, to build up on what we've already achieved, and take it further. This was the toast at the pub after the game: "next year, whatever decision we end up in, they are not going to know what hit them - HERE'S TO NEXT SEASON!"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Loan Wolves 4 - 9 Meteors

Sociable softball
The Mets are a team we've known and liked since we started playing softball. Tonight's game was hard-fought, but entirely good-natured. Determined, effective fielding from both sides kept the score low, and for three innings it stood at three all. Then the Mets nosed ahead by one, and in their sixth at-bat they managed to increase the lead to five. We still didn't waver, though, and refused to let it turn into a rout. Sadly, we didn't manage to pull that lead back, and the match ended as it grew dark. Considering our relative places in the table, though, we can be proud of our performance.
The Mets had advised us beforehand to bring food, and as the match ended they fired up the barbecue. A picnic table was soon groaning under the weight of food, and the satisfying smell of burgers, sausages, chicken and salmon being cooked over coals filled the air. Wolves and Meteors gathered together to break bread and toast each other, and the sound of laughter and friendship rose into the summer night. The Meteors were celebrating the eighteenth birthday of one of their number, and bidding farewell to Di, stalwart of their team and a credit to the sport, who's off overseas for a while. It was a lovely occasion, following a great game. And somewhere above our heads, hidden by the cloud cover, our friends' Perseid namesakes were streaking through the heavens...

Monday, August 10, 2009


On saturday, the Loan Wolves entered the Lastball tournament. Which, for some reason, is nowhere near the last tournament of the year. Lovely sunny day in Richmond Old Deer Park. By the time our first match, against the "Werewolves", a new development side, was due to start, we only had seven players. Most of the others were still on their way in Michael's car. So we were taking our time at bat, letting strikes get past us to give ourselves more time, and praying for rescue. We had just run out of batters when we spied the others, running across the field to our rescue like the Seventh cavalry in Stagecoach. Despite the chaotic,. unprepared start, we won the game comfortably. Next up were Comer's Homers, who defeated us solidly. Then the Thundercats. The Sword of Omens must have been working overtime, as we started with our worst ever fielding inning in a tournament game. Although we got our act together by the end, we were never in contention. Only a sterling base hit by Donnacha prevented their pitcher from achieving a perfect game. We were wilting in the sun by that stage, but we still should have done better.
As there was a plate as well as cup competition, every team was assured of a semi-final. We found ourselves playing a mixed Meteors and Marauders team, and though we started better this time we couldn't quite force the win. We then had a warm-down practice among ourselves and including ex-Wolf Ben, while a couple of our women players filled in for the Mob who were short of girls for their final. It was a fun end to the day, and I noticed we were the only team not in the finals to have stayed around en masse. Which was good, because Ben had set another quiz - this one much harder than the last - and we had won once again. As we had a tournament victory of sorts, we went to The Sun to celebrate. Nice place, but a bit pricey.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tecumsehs 19 - 5 Loan Wolves

I was a bit distracted last week at work. Came late from the library to the game, having calculated that I'd be there for ten to seven. Which I was, only to instantly remember that we wer not playing at finsbury Park and I should have turned right rather than left from the Tube station to go to Clissold Park. Oops. I hurried to the correct venue, but the game had already started when I arrived at five past seven. We were fielding, which meant we must have already batted and got out. I hunkered down at Catcher in my jeans (had only had time to change my top before setting off) for a match with Duncan Devil Stray at umpire, giving his usual running commentary on the game in progress. We were unable to repeat our early season win vs the Tecumsehs, I'm afraid. Some great plays by our outfield were let down by us not keeping a tight enough control in the field overall and not having the batting strength to keep ourselves in contention. After the match we went to the Brownswood, a pub I'd never been to before, for a beer.