Edinburgh, East Midlands and Glasgow take the titles at the Drowned Rat All-Star Nationals

Mon 13 Jun 2011

Some tournaments just seemed cursed by the weather, and the BSF's League All-Star National Championships, played at Birmingham City University's Moor Lane Sports Ground in Sutton Coldfield, may be one of them.

Last year, a massive rainstorm struck when the finals were being played, and the games had to be abandoned.

This year, after a cold but sunny Saturday on June 11, the rain was simply unrelenting on Sunday, June 12, accompanied by a cold and vicious wind. But the rain was never quite hard enough to make it obvious that play should be stopped, and the tournament carried on all the way to the end, with players wrapped in ever-increasing layers of shirts, sweatshirts and waterproofs.

Players' reactions ranged from "Well, we're here, we paid our money and we might as well play" to the comment overheard in passing from a woman on the GLSML team: "I hate f_ _ _ _ _ _ softball; I want to go home!"

But that didn't happen until all three competition levels were decided, with Edinburgh 1 taking the Gold Trophy, East Midlands 1 taking Silver and Glasgow making it two out of three for Scotland by taking Bronze.

New format

A different format was set out for the tournament this year, with 12 teams representing nine leagues all starting off in the same pool and playing in two round-robin groups on Saturday.

The leagues that sent two teams each were Edinburgh, the East Midlands and Manchester.

BSF Tournaments Organiser Liz Graham said: "A fastpitch tournament in Holland caused teams to lose some of their players and entries were down on previous years. But the teams entered were more evenly matched and by pooling all teams on Day 1 we were able to get the right level of teams in each competition the next day."

Based on Saturday's results, the tournament broke into four-team Gold, Silver and Bronze groups on Sunday, playing round-robins followed by a final between the top two teams.

In the event, some of the meaningless round-robin games on Sunday were forfeited so that teams could get to the finals more quickly, but it is a massive tribute to the fortitude of the players that the tournament was finished and all but four games out of 21 scheduled on Sunday took place.

However, the grouping of teams in the initial round-robin pools on Saturday came under some scrutiny after it turned out that five of the six finalists -- and all three winners -- came from Group A!

Saturday results

Perhaps not surprisingly, Saturday's play  in the sunshine produced a number of close games in Group A and rather more blowouts in Group B. At the end of the day, the group standings looked like this:

Group A
Edinburgh 1 (5-0)
Bristol (3-1-1)
East Midlands 2 (3-1-1)
Manchester 2 (1-3-1)
Glasgow (1-3-1)
Oxford (0-5)

Group B
Manchester 1 (5-0-0)
London (4-1-0)
Windsor (3-2)
Leeds (1-3-1)
East Midlands 1 (1-3-1)
Edinburgh 2 (0-5-0)
 

So the top two teams in each group moved on to the Gold competition, the middle two teams to Silver and the bottom two teams to Bronze.

Gold

By lunchtime in the wind and rain on Sunday, Edinburgh had racked up a 14-3 win over London and parlayed a big first-inning into a 14-9 win over Manchester, while Bristol had squeezed past Manchester by 15-14 and trounced London 17-9.

As Edinburgh and Bristol were going to be the finalists, the last two games in the Gold round-robin were abandoned or forfeited and the teams moved on to a tight, tense final in which Edinburgh prevailed by 12-11.

Silver

With four of the six round-robin games played, Leeds, East Midlands 1, Windsor and Manchester 2 were all sitting on 1-1 records, and so the teams sloshed on.

The decisive round-robin games were both blowouts in the increasingly desperate conditions, with East Midlands 1 mauling Manchester 2 by 18-3 and Windsor crushing Leeds 25-5.

East Midlands 1 and Windsor had originally been told that their round-robin game (won 9-8 by East Midlands) would be counted as the final should the tournament be stopped short. However, both teams wanted to play the final and they did.

Six innings were completed before the umpire called the game due to a waterlogged pitch, with East Midlands leading 10-6. Windsor protested the decision to stop the game, but after consultation between the Crew Chief and Tournament Control, the result stood and the Silver trophy went back to Nottingham.

Bronze

Glasgow quickly secured a place in the Bronze final with decisive Sunday morning wins over Edinburgh 2 by 36-9 and East Midlands 2 by 30-8.

In the end, it was Oxford who bounced back from their 0-5 record on Saturday to reach the final, with a couple of forfeits ensuring that the final could get under way earlier than scheduled.

When it did, both teams played as well as could be expected in the conditions, but Glasgow were stronger and came out 20-13 winners to capture the Bronze Award.
 

Back to news listing


Comments

16
Jun

Richie 15:37

Didnt those scots win last year as well?!

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

BSF development grants available, apply