Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tournament Two: Manchester FirstBall 2012:

They said we shouldn’t do it. They said the Bobcats weren’t ready. They were wrong ...
  Bobcat Roar!

On the 14th April the Bobcats entered their first competition level tournament. It was a gamble, but after winning the East Midlands Firstball 27-3 it was a risk worth taking. It was the Bobcats first time in the North-West and they were definitely the underdogs. They were the only touring team in the Comp Tournament and although they were made to feel very welcome, it was asked on several occasions why the Bobcats were there – ‘don’t take this the wrong way but aren’t you guys supposed to be in the Rec.’ The answer - No. We had something to prove. 

The Field.

The first game of the tournament and we won 10-6 to the Bullfrogs. No one could quite believe it – especially not the Bobcats who, as every Bobcat supporter knows, they don’t usually do so well in their first game. The team also consisted of several new players– one of which got horribly lost in Manchester and only arrived 1 minute before the game started, and our manager had just heard her granddad had died. In spite of this the Bobcats pulled through and played some great softball – especially from Tad and Chad who scored home runs and hyped up the team spirit.

Chad's first Home Run.

In the second game Jhune scored a fantastic home run, but it was not enough to hold back the top-league Outlaws. Yet the Bobcats did not just fold over; they gave them competition and showed them the potential of the West Midlands.

Rhi safe at first.

The third game was against the Mavericks. The Bobcats have never had such an exciting and electrifying game. Everyone was on the edge of their seats -the tension was immense. This is what Softball is all about. We were down 5-7 and Debbie, with two outs and bases loaded, was up. The pressure was immense – could she perform – of course she could! She hit a single that managed to get all three lead runners in, scoring three points and taking us to 8-7. The Bobcats went on to win 11-7. 

Debbie charging home plate.

Our last game of the day was against the Brewers and unfortunately we lost 14-5. But nothing could overcome the fact that the underdogs had a fantastic day and proved to the other teams that the Bobcats were not push-overs.  

Tad making batting look effortless as usual.

After a successful day the Bobcat retreated to their hotels to freshen up before the evening's entertainment - a mass team pub crawl in Didsbury.  However, the travellodge had double booked the girls room and could only offer a room in their sister hotel located near the airport.  Luckily the Bobcats rallied to the cause and by shifting people around the team were able to sort out the girls out with a room. 

Jack, Dylan, Tad, Pete and Sap at Frankie and Benny's.

Fourteen Bobcats went to dinner at Frankie and Bennys and had a thoroughly good time.  However, only six made it out to the 2012 Manchester FirstBall Pub Treasurehunt Recruitment Crawl.  The idea was that each team would wear full colours to spread the Softball 'Gospel to the heathen flock of Didsbury' (or so it said in the handbook).  So six trepid Bobcats ventured out on to the streets of Disbury, only to find that they were the only team in uniform.  Did it put these fantastic felines off - it certainly didn't.  Their pride made them stand out and those around looked them looked upon them with awe.  Needless to say it was a good night.  The Bobcats met the organisers of the Manchester Softball League and developed good networking opportunities.  Plus there was beer.

The Bobcats networking in team colours.

The Bobcats had a slow start to the second day - surprisingly not related to the beer comment above.  The team obviously felt the effects of playing two days of a higher level tournament.  Poor Cara could hardly move after all the dives she did at second base; a fly took out Jeff's vision - pretty crucial aspect as pitcher; and there were numerous knee and arm injuries due to the cold weather and intermittent play. Plus we were missing our head coach who had to retreat to North Wales. 

Bit different to two weeks before at Nottingham.  Here's Chad, Matt, Jack and Tad looking slightly cold.

The first two games were against two established teams - The Greensox and Lions.  It was not pretty; however, the Bobcats got back into their stride by their third game against team Thunder (who went on to win the tournament).  The Bobcats put up a good fight, boosting the team's confidence and de-frosting limbs.  Off the pitch Mike Ashley called in to deliver some good coaching advice.
Well, we now know how the Bobcat Tournament Manager keeps her spirits up.

 The final game was for the plate.  The Bobcats stood in 6th place out of 8 - a fantastic result considering that no-one expected the Bobcats to feature anywhere but bottom.  Again the Bobcats faced the Mavericks for another intensifying game that ended 3-1 to the Mavericks. 

The Manchester FirstBall was an electrifying tournament and the Bobcats were thrilled to be a part of it.  Everyone was extremely welcoming and the Bobcats achieved what they set out to do – they made a very good impression in the North-West and proved they are an upcoming team to watch.  The team learnt so much from the experience and now have a lot of training to do before the next Comp Tournament in Leeds in June.  Here are a selection of photos from the day.

Sap and Chris wrapped up while doing the line up and scoring.
Matt limbering up with a ball shake.
Quentin up to bat, and Kate on deck.
Jayne at bat, with Captain Sap looking on.
Rhi running to third, with Pete hot on her tail.
Pete just managing to make it to first.
Quentin passing third base for yet another Home Run, pushed on by Matt.
Pete again closely making first base.
The team congratulating Quentin after a Home Run.
Chad, Trentm Chris, Jeff, Shelia and Cara at Frankie and Benny's have a much deserved drink.
Chad, Sapin, Chris and Quentin braving the buses of Didsbury.

No comments:

Post a Comment