2011 Windsor First-Ball - 30th April

Well I'd been looking at the weather reports all week and arrived at the venue on Saturday morning with all of my wet weather gear, umbrellas and Gazebo - As usual the weather people had got it very wrong and there was glorious sunshine and temperatures in the high seventies! The Tourny was being held at a new venue this year which was Swakeleys School in Hillingdon. The field was pretty good and easily accommodated the 3 Diamonds however the lack of food and drink outlets meant trips out to the local shops for refreshments.

Our first game was against the "Rattlesnakes" and after the Firebirds league game against them earlier in the week we really wanted a win. After losing the toss we started the game batting and thanks to some great hitting (and a few errors from the defending side) we took a commanding 15 run lead. Lester Deeble had a home run and 7 RBI's! The rattlesnakes in comparison could only muster 3 runs in reply due to some excellent fielding from the Chalfont defence. In the second innings we added another 4 runs and 5 more in the third with rattlesnakes only adding 1 more to their tally. Final score Chalfont 24 Rattlesnakes 4 - A great way to start the day and boost the team's confidence in the opening day of the Tournament season.

Our Second game was against the Vampire Batters - a good solid team who were going to be hard to beat. After again losing the toss we only managed to score one in the first innings but with a tight defence and some great plays we held the Vampires to one run also. In the second we managed to get the first three batters home and then hold the Vampires to only one run scored giving us a two run advantage. Despite their best efforts and with solid "base at a time" hitting we eventually won 8 runs to 4.

Our last game in the group stage was against Richings Park Ospreys and with several strong players in their line-up we knew that we'd have to play well to take the win and top our group - However with two wins already under our belt and the hot sunny weather making it seem like a mid-summer Tourny and not the first of the year we rose to the challenge and took the win 15 runs to 5 with Home-Runs from James Rowe and Don Chester.

Having won our Group we entered the "Cup" competition and were drawn against the Windsor Knights.
As the Knights are an "A" Grade team we started each innings with a runner on second base but we all knew it was going to be a tall order to overcome this consistently well playing team who were also undefeated in the Group stage. The team played well and we scored our runner from 2nd in each of the three innings but we only managed to get two more runs to give us a total of five. Whereas the well oiled machine, that is the Knights, did everything by the book and by taking no chances and making sure of every play and at bat they scored 15 - taking them through into the Cup Final.

We fought hard but it was always going to be a very uphill struggle! And so our first tournament of the year was over.

The "Knights" played against "Honeyz Homers" for the Cup and it was an incredibly tight and thrilling game. Only one run separated the teams for nearly the entire game and with the Knights one run behind going into the bottom of the 7th it was a thrilling few plays – alas they couldn't get a runner home and so this year's First-Ball winners were "Honeyz Homers".

I would like to thank everyone that played and those that supported. I had a great day and the team made life very easy for me. My MVP's of the weekend are Chris Howse for an excellent performance as Short-Stop and some consistent lead-off batting and Sarah Wood who did a great job at first-base - and both of them had some amazing leaping catches, with special mentions going to James Rowe and Clare Winter for great consistent performances both offensively and defensively in the outfield.

(Author: Phil Masters)