Herts Raptors v. Chelmsford Clippers, April 25th 2010
images by www.hp2photographic.com
Sunday in Hemel Hempstead dawned wet and grey but as the Herts Raptors arrived at Grovehill for their home opener, the showers seemed to suddenly fade away. It seemed like a good omen. But any thought that the Raptors' learning curve might level off — after being so steep the players have sometimes needed crampons — was quickly dispelled by an inside-the-park home run in the top of the first inning. Chelmsford hit, ran and stole aggressively from the off, and they racked up five runs. The home side could not hit back straight away, and a ten-one Clippers lead was soon on the board.
The Raptors had to surrender two of their most experienced players to the job of umpiring, but the team never gave up battling. There was some patience at the plate, and a few good hits were strung together, meaning the rookies did notch up 6 runs. But a solid performance by the visitors meant the outcome was never in doubt. It ended 37-6.
Despite the obvious suffering, there were many bright spots for the Raptors. Jim Arnott made his pitching debut, and revealed excellent stuff which won the respect of the visiting team. Sam Pooley hauled in catches confidently in centre field as well as swinging aggressively at the plate, while Bobby Gould made more good pick-ups at the hot corner.
Certainly there is still a good feeling in the camp, and as confidence grows the Raptors will compete more. The level of opposition at the A-division has been strong so far this year, and so long as the Herts new boys enjoy their game and learn, the results will follow.