Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Birmingham Derby

On the 28th April 2012 the Birmingham Bobcats hosted the first Birmingham Derby, a charity softball tournament at Hallfield.  The event, which encouraged local sports teams to participate, was intended to bring together the local community while raising money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.   

Hallfield Clubhouse

After months of preparation six local Birmingham clubs had signed up, five of whom had never played softball before.  The day started off slowly due to the wet weather and several transport issues in the town centre.  It didn’t help that the Edgbaston Police Team, the Falcons were hindered by a murder in the town.  However, Softball must take priority and before long the teams were each allocated a Bobcat as Captain, who set about teaching their team the basic skills.  The teams were:

The Falcons, Captain -  Sapin Patel.
Harbone Hockey Club, Captain – Chad Farmer.
Team Extreme, Captain – Jeff Nash.
Moseley Majors – Jim Kent.
Team Reem, Captain – Pete Burgess.
Team Mushroom, Captain – Jack Crosby.

 Once the teams were familiar with basic catching and throwing skills, they each gathered at the Home Plate to have further game instructions from Will Lintern, Regional Coach and Club Development Officer for BSUK. 

BSUK's Will Lintern delivering an introduction to Softball

The teams were eager to play so at 10.30 the games commenced.  The tournament was played in a typical round-robin format, followed by placing games that featured 1 v 2, 3 v 4 and 5 v 6.  The first games were naturally a bit shaky while everyone got used to the new skills and rules, but it wasn’t long before team spirit took over and cheers and laughter filled the area.  As usual there was one particular Bobcat who screamed louder than a Banshee – in fact that would be a fitting nickname.  But the Falcons enjoyed hearing their team name echo off the surrounding buildings and fits of laughter and banter often followed. All part of the fun of Softball. 

The Falcons and Team Extreme. getting into the spirit of the game.

Lunch was held at the club house where tea and coffee was served with an amazing selection of cakes. 

Jim's a big fan of Cara's Softball cup-cakes.

Unfortunately there were a few minor injuries throughout the day – but nothing our first-aider, Reinout Mildner (Consultant Paediatric Intensivist and Lead Consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital) couldn’t handle.  Poor Jim – who had been looking forward to the day for months and had fantastic uniforms especially made for his team, was struck with a torn calf muscle in the second game – he still made the catch of his career afterwards though.  And the Falcons, well it became a joke how many muscles were stretched – all credit to Jack and Suki who refused to stop playing because they were enjoying it too much. 

The Falcons are clearly concerned about Suki's damaged pinky.

By the end of afternoon there was some fantastic softball being played – it really was astonishing.  Even though the ground was a mass of mud, nobody seemed to care – it added to the day. 

Sap slipping at the Plate - didn't prevent a Home Run though.

The final was between Harborne Hockey and Team Mushroom – it was an intense game.  With Harborne down 9 – 6 in the bottom of the third inning, they made some well-placed hits to draw within a run at 9 – 8 before hitting a double with runners on second and third to ensure victory.  The plate went to Team Extreme after a close match with Team Reem and the MVP awards went to Helen and Tom from Harborne Hockey Club.  Unfortunately the Spoon playoff was cancelled due to minor injuries suffered by the Majors as well as the Falcons squad needing to start their work shift!

James from Harborne Hockey Club receiving the trophy.

The awards were presented by Hamish Shilliday and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Young Person Advisory Group.  Overall the tournament raised £860 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and West Midlands Regional Centre for Cleft Lip and Palate.   Birmingham Bobcats Chair Alex Levine said, “The turnout we had in the conditions we played in is a testament to how much our local clubs care about BCH and the conditions they treat. The Bobcats are also very grateful to Hallfield School in Edgbaston for donating the use of the full facility and playing grounds to ensure that any money taken from the tournament went directly to BCH.”

Helen from Harborne Hockey Club, receiving her MVP medal.

However the day would not have been possible without the help of the Bobcats.  Everyone pulled together to make the day a success, whether they were playing, coaching, doing admin or stewarding.  A huge thank you to Jim for creating the posters, Debbie for managing the registration desk, Sap for sorting out the equipment, Alex for liaising with Hallfield, and Reinout for consulting with BCH.  Also our thanks go to the Captains; Chad, Jeff, Jack, Pete, Jim and Sap for taking on the role and excelling in it and the umpires; Reinout, Alex and Colin. 
Sap, Jim and Pete doing what they do best.

The Bobcats would also like to thank those who created the teams; Mark from Extreme Sports Central, Rob from the Falcons, Cara from Team Reem, Jim from the Moseley Majors and James from Harborne Hockey Club. 

Team Reem, Team Mushroom and Harborne Hockey Club.

Finally thank you to Neal Robinson from BASU who gave up his day to umpire and play for the Falcons.

BASU's Neal Robinson.
It was a fantastic day, feedback has been excellent and everyone is keen to repeat the experience next year.  From the photos below, you can see why!

Softball Introduction:

Will Lintern hopefully not about to hit someone in the head.

Will's 'this is a ball' speech.

Captains and Umpires:

Jack and Sap - head to head.

Jim and Sap taking Neal's Umpires call seriously.

Tad and Jeff.

Pete leading by example.

Colin watching closely.

Alex, Tom and Jonathan.

Moseley Majors:

The Mushrooms:

The Falcons:

Team Reem:

Team Extreme:

Harborne Hockey:

The Presentation:

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