On Friday 8th July 2011 ten members of the Birmingham Bobcats Softball Club – also known as the TourCats – embarked on an epic trip to the Netherlands to play the Sittard Condors. The trip was organised by Reinout Mildner and Kate Page-Smith, who felt that it would be a good opportunity for team bonding, skill development and advertisement for both clubs.
Dancing in Bruges at 3am. The dancefloor was full of Bobcats!
Photoshoot on the city walls of Bruges.
After travelling in two cars through three countries, the first night was spent dancing the night away in Bruges, Belgium until 4.30am. However, by 8am the next day the TourCats were out of bed for a couple of hours sight-seeing before heading off to Sittard, The Netherlands. Upon arrival the TourCats were presented with an extremely professional looking team and pitch (including dug-outs) but the TourCats were not deterred. The Sittard Condors were established in 1978 in the Dutch province of Limburg, which is the southernmost province of the Netherlands. Their team was lead by Maarten Beks.
The TourCats dugout at Sittard, taken just before the game.
Maarten Beks and Reinout Mildner
The game started as it meant to go on with the TourCats leading the way. Every team member excelled themselves and had a thoroughly good time. Both Quentin and Tad achieved multiple home runs; Chris and Jonathan provided an impenetrable wall in the infield, Debbie caught a fantastic foul-tip, Reinout produced strike after strike as pitcher, Ed triumphantly slid his way to home base, Jim kept everyone on their toes with his outfield hits, Lisa made an excellent debut and Kate ... well she made enough noise so the Bobcats back in Brum could hear. The final result was 23-5 to the TourCats.
Jim and Jonathan feeling quite optimistic.
Quentin scoring his first home run, congratulated by Tad.
To round up the afternoon the two team mixed to create the ‘Tour-dors’ and the ‘Bob-cons’ for two innings and afterwards the TourCats presented the Condors with a gift and an invitation to Birmingham next year.
Reinout presenting Maarten with a framed photo of the TourCats, created by Jim.
The TourCats and the Condors after a fantastic afternoon.
To celebrate the TourCats hit the town of Maastricht for another memorable night, before driving back to England on Sunday – but not before a quick throw around on the beach at De Panne, Belgium.
Kate, Quentin and Chris doing some drills on the beach.
The trip was a huge success and we are keen to repeat the experience next year. There is certainly something to be said for a team to get to know each other outside of practice – the TourCats left Birmingham as skilled individual players and returned as an international winning team. For more details please see the TourCats blog: http://bobcatsontour.blogspot.com/