No Balls win again in the sunshine at Chicks with Sticks 3

Thu 17 May 2018

The first women’s slowpitch competition of the year, the third Chicks with Sticks Tournament, took place on Sunday 13 May under sunny skies at Farnham Park.

Ten teams took part from as far afield as Solent and Lakenheath, with four teams made up of women from four clubs in the Windsor & Maidenhead Softball League.


Round-robins

The teams began the tournament with a round-robin in two groups of five, and in Group 1, the reigning CWS Cup winners, No Balls, looked to be in trouble when they lost their second game of the day.  In fact, their qualification into the Cup playoffs was in the balance until the last group game, when an 8-6 win against Pitches Be Crazy meant that No Balls topped a close group by a one-run margin.

Group 2 was extremely hard-fought, and going into the last game the top three teams could have all qualified for the Cup playoffs.  In the end, the Tropi-gal Twisters, who had led the group most of the way, lost out right at the end following a defeat by Chavs and ended up third despite just the one loss.

In 2017, the Scorch-Hers had had the misfortune to go through the tournament without a run or a win, but this time they put that right, and made it into the Plate playoffs from Group 2.


Playoffs

The bottom team in each group – Cleats and Cleavage and the RG Blue Sox -- played the Spoon final, with Cleats and Cleavage taking the honours.

In the Plate semi-finals, the Tropi-gal Twisters again missed out as they fell to the Diamond Squeezers.  Blitches halted the Scorch-Her-s winning run in the other semi, and then Blitches took the Plate trophy.

In the Cup semi-finals, No Balls beat Chavs to set up a final against Pitches Be Crazy, who defeated last year’s runner-up, LadyHeath.  And then No Balls prevailed in the final for the second straight year.

The Tournament MVP was Zara Wallins.

This was the third running of the Chicks with Sticks Tournament, and each year the level of play has risen.  The group stages this year were the most keenly fought in the competition’s short history, and while No Balls have reached the final each time, the other teams are clearly catching them.

A third straight win for No Balls is certainly not a foregone conclusion when CWS 4 returns in 2019.

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