The Herts Falcons, having won their division, and gained promotion to the Premier South, faced the top two teams from Division 1 North this last weekend 18th/19th September.
The tournament to determine the first ever division 1 National Champion was reduced to a final 3 after Croydon Pirates 2, who were the other representative from the South, withdrew. This meant a round-robin tournament, with the Falcons facing Sheffield Bladerunners and the host team, Halton Jaguars. The two teams with the best records would then contest the final.
The Falcons made the long trip north in good spirits, having had an excellent season, and were determined to continue that form.
Saturday 18th –
The game on Saturday afternoon deemed the Falcons the home team, facing an undefeated
Unfortunately, that message did not get through to the Bladerunners, as they managed to get to Delborello early on, and plated runs through each of the early innings. On the mound for
Some interesting strike calls from the home plate umpire continued to frustrate the Falcons, and one such call resulted in the farcical removal of the entire team from the dugout. Whilst no player was actually ejected from the game, only players preparing to bat were allowed in the dugout.
Paul Raybould replaced Delborello on the mound in the 6th inning, and managed to shut down the Bladerunners, keeping them scoreless through the next two innings. However, it was not enough and the Falcons went down 10 – 3 in 7 innings.
Sunday 19th September – Herts Falcons @ Halton Jaguars
The Sunday morning game saw the previous days’ two losing teams battle each other for a place in the final and a chance for revenge over
With Raybould starting on the mound, it was hoped that the Falcons could get out to an early lead, hold the Jaguars, and reach the final later in the afternoon.
It started promisingly, as Falcons batters were able to reach base more often than in the previous day, and the Jaguars’ bats were shut down over the first couple of innings as the Falcons took a 3 – 0 lead. However, they were again frustrated later in the game as fly balls continually seemed to find fielders, with the Jaguars’ centre fielder Nick Bustin grabbing 4 or 5 outs over the game. Some untimely errors from the Falcons fielders allowed the Jaguars to score consistently over the next 3 innings, to lead 7 – 4 going into the 5th.
The Falcons pulled to within 2 in the 5th courtesy of a Delborello home run to centre field that also scored Raybould, but the Jaguars again scored, and going into the final 7th inning 9 – 6 down the Falcons needed 3 to make the Jags bat again. Unfortunately, the first two batters went down in order, and although Oliver reached base, Kakutani hit a deep fly ball to centre field to end the game.
An otherwise successful season ended on a disappointing note for the Falcons, as they lost both games. They will look forward to a new season next year in the Premier South division, although it will be tough going. The club will be actively recruiting during the off-season, so anybody interested is welcome to contact the club for further details.
written by Paul Auchterlounie