By Hugh Scorgie

After the dismal rain-out on the first scheduled Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) weekend at the beginning of April and more rain predicted for the next one, we headed for Farnham Park on Saturday 22 April with some concerns.

But we needn’t have worried: the rain cleared for Saturday and teased us with just a handful of sputtery showers on the Sunday.  The typically prosaic fastpitch community happily got on with the business in hand on soggy pitches.  A little mud isn’t going to stop us!

Women’s Division

The Men’s and Women’s Divisions of the GBFL have changed for this season.  The Heat have added a women’s team to their portfolio and the team has slotted comfortably into the Women’s Division: it won’t be long before they start to threaten the top sides.  

Things are already hotting up at the top of the Division, because this first day of play saw the Barbarians deliver the first defeat The Mix have suffered in some considerable time.  And so it is that after Day One, the Barbarians sit at the top of the league with a perfect tally of wins.

At this point, the Women’s Division only plays on Saturdays, but The Mix, looking for more game time and the chance to face quicker pitching ahead of competition in Europe, have scheduled friendly games on Sundays against the top three teams in the Men’s Division. This is a very positive arrangement, and their friendly against the Meteors on 23 April was warmly enjoyed by both squads.

Women’s Division Results
The Mix 7, Free Agents 0
Barbarians 12, London Angels 7
Heat 7, Free Agents 0
London Angels 15, Cardiff Celts 3
Heat 15, Cardiff Celts 7
Barbarians 8, The Mix 4
London Angels 7, Free Agents 0
Barbarians 12, Heat 4
The Mix 15, Cardiff Celts 1


Teams Won Lost Drawn Pct RF RA
Barbarians 3 0 0 1.000 39 15
The Mix 2 1 0 .667 26 9
London Angels 2 1 0 .667 29 15
Heat 2 1 0 .667 26 19
Cardiff Celts 0 3 0 .000 11 45


Men’s Division

Fastpitch in the UK has always been strongly influenced by the players who arrive each year from overseas, and this year is no exception, with a good Mexican pitcher turning out for the Stags, while the line-up for the Strays on Saturday had four players from Hong Kong!

This is not to ignore the development of talent among British players.  The GB Men’s Development Programme has delivered two young squads of fresh faces to add to the talent of those who are now moving on to take up positions in the more senior GB teams.

There has also been some movement of key players to other teams within the Men’s Division in the hunt for more game time and development. 

The Men’s Division continues to play on both days of the allotted weekends and has moved to seven-inning games.  In addition, the Division is now split into two subdivisions -- Men’s One and Men’s Two, a reflection of the natural order at the end of last season.

This allows the top three teams -- Stags, Meteors and Heat -- to go head-to-head more often while also playing friendlies and giving game time to developing players when they play the teams from Men’s Two: the newly-rebuilt Strays and the two GB Development Teams, Eagles and Hawks. 

At the end of Weekend One, the defending champion Stags are in top spot by virtue of an 8-2 win over the Meteors and a 1-0 win over the Heat, finally quieting the hot bats of the Heat, who had up to that point amassed an impressive 80 runs on the weekend!

Men’s Division Results
Heat 15, Hawks 0
Meteors 18, Eagles 0
Stags 8, Meteors 1
Strays 13, Eagles 3
Stags 17, Hawks 2
Heat 19, Strays 0
Heat 20, Meteors 10
Stags 1, Heat 0
Hawks 17, Eagles 4
Strays 11, Hawks 1
Eagles 20, Heat 2
Hawks 17, Meteors 1
Meteors 7, Strays 2
Stags 11, Strays 9
Eagles 12, Stags 10


Men's One Won Lost Drawn Pct RF RA
Stags 2 0 0 1.000 9 1
Heat 1 1 0 .500 20 11
Meteors 0 2 0 .000 11 2


Men's Two Won Lost Drawn Pct RF RA
Strays 2 0 0 1.000 24 4
Hawks 1 1 0 .500 18 15
Eagles 0 2 0 .000 7 30