Thursday, 10 November 2011

Monmouth Halloween Tournament

On the 30th October the Birmingham Bobcats joined the Monmouth Rockets, the Cardiff Hammers, Team Phoenix, Winter Monkeys and Go Balls Deep for a fantastic day in Wales.  The tournament was organised by David Lee from the Bristol Softball Association and Gareth Dunn from Monmouth School to promote support and communications between new centres of Softball and to give everyone a last chance to play outdoors before the Winter. 

The day started off drizzly but it soon turned into a glorious sunny and warm day, very unusual for the end of October, or indeed any time in Wales!  
The venue was very impressive - beautifully manicured spacious pitches and a new pavilion  - all nestled in the river valley surrounded by scenic Welsh hills. 

Following the comments and requests made at the Cotswold Tournament, Kate had made our own medieval style war banner.  It was marched in front to our first game and boosted everyone's team spirit.
As the tournament was held the day before Halloween, the Bobcats entered into the spirit of the season and came dressed as cats - not particularly scary, but appropriate and very funny!   

Pete's costume was particularly good - as it very similar to our Bobcat!  Unfortunately it was not so great to play in! 
The Bobcats had an hour to train before their first game against the Monmouth Rockets so the team captain for the day - Meg Gallahan - had everyone practicing pickle drills to enhance our tagging skills. 
For some however, the hour was a chance to catch up on all the news - we hadn't seen each other for one week!
As the tournament was a friendly, Meg and Kate thought it was a good opportunity to try some new things.  As we had 10 guys and 5 girls we had to address how everyone would get enough game time. 

The team was separated into two - Team Lynx and Team Rufus (Lynx Rufus is the Latin name for Bobcat).  Each team would alternate to make sure everyone got to play at least two games. 

First cat up to bat - Debbie! 
 Katie cat on first - the tail certainly helped!
John makes it to first - as long as he 'STAYS ON THE BASE!' - this became a long running joke of the day. 
Debbie and Kate waiting to bat - an excellent technique of warming up (Kate did have food poisoning though). 
Both Jeff and Reinout were superb pitchers for the day - lots of strikes and very few balls!  Unfortunately, as is usually the case with our first game of the day, we were thrashed by the Rockets.  As it was there first ever tournament we needed to up our game quite considerably!
The Bobcats - they did us proud with the costumes and fantastic team spirit!
Pete and Kate entering into the Halloween spirit - what do we think - the new look for our 2012 advertising campaign!
Again we were spoilt with a visit from our support vehicle - Mike, Sam, Bex and Rosie - who brought brownies, hots and tea!
Whose this stray cat up to bat - hmmm, he was at the Leicester Tournament as well. 
Jayne did a great job - in the outfield, at second and at bat.  I sense some great things for next season.
The tail obviously worked as Kate consistently made it to first.  On this occasion she was congratulated by Jeff - base coach for first base. 
With an increase in tournament participation our fan base is growing and we love it.  We love all the support - maybe next year we will have to start providing seast!
As the tension increased Kate and Debbie were CATapulted out of their chairs.  By this stage we had played against the Winter Monkeys (and lost by a fraction) and were finally winning against Balls Go Deep. 
The first home run of the day came in the four game against the Cardiff Hammers from a familiar face - Quentin Young - much to the delight of the team. 
Meg was a fantastic captain for the day - she kept everyone informed, scored well, was a base coach, produced a good line up and kept everyone's spirits up.  Hopefully we will see more of Captain Meg next year as the Bobcats have put her on a coaching course.
Sarah produced some agressive base running throughout the day. Her she is striding gracefully through first!
And again from second to third. 
The main aim of the day was to beat Team Phoenix who we had encountered at Leicester and Stroud and lost both times. This was our fifth game of the day - just like in Stroud. 
Quentin socres another Home Run - with cat like speed!
Overall Quentin had three home runs - an excellent result.  However, he also lost at least five balls over the fence. 
Unfortunately Sarah's agrresive base running ended badly with a twisted ankle.  However she did start scoring for the first time and did a great job. 
Our last game was against Go Balls Deep again to find out who got the wooden spoon.  In the last innings we were two points down and needed a Halloween miracle.

That came in the form of Tad who scored a home run with bases loaded - and as the photo proves - he actually hustled! It was a great way to end an excellent day.  MVP certainly goes to Tad. 
The Bobcats strode truimphantly off the field - pumped up on the excitement of the day and looking forward to the next season. 
A huge thank you to David Lee and Gareth Dunn for organising the event and we look forward to arranging similar events with them in 2012. 
And finally, thank you to all the teams who participated and especially the Bobcats for their unbeatable team spirit, their dedication and their fantastic company.    

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