GAME REPORT (by Ross Davies): The Herts Falcons won the battle of the birds, as they took both games against the newly-christened Herts Hawks in an historic occasion for the club. It was the first game between the two Hemel Hempstead-based sides since the club branched into two teams, and experience told on the day as the Falcons swept the Hawks in the double-header.
The Falcons, playing as hosts, took the initiative early on in the first game, as they raced into an early lead. Bruce Dullea, on the mound, was pitching consistently, and the home side’s bats fired from the off against the Hawks’ Larry Martillo to open up a sizeable deficit. Mark Hoffman came on to stem the flow of runs, but some excellent batting, most notably from Andy Cornish, who finished 3-for-3 with five RBIs, meant a premature ending to the first game as the slaughter rule came into play after five innings.
The Hawks would have been forgiven for letting their heads drop for the second game, but that wasn’t the case as Aspi Dmitrov took to the mound and pitched like a man possessed. Going into the fourth inning the game was tied at three each, and the Hawks were in with a real shout of an upset. However, a combination of poor batting and basic fielding errors cost them dear, and the Falcons capitalised, rattling off seven runs in two innings to put the game to bed.
In truth, the second game gave glimpses of what the Hawks were capable of, and there would have been the odd nervous moment in the home camp when the scores were level. But the efficient batting and faultless fielding proved the difference in the end, in particular from new shortstop Yuji Endo, whose athleticism was enough to lift the team on its own.