Chichester Falcons fly to second spot in softball league

French softball teams vie for glory at Oaklands Park
French softball teams vie for glory at Oaklands Park

Chichester Falcons Softball Club emphatically ended a busy season in the top flight of the Solent League with back-to-back-to-back wins to take the division-one runners up slot.

With various GB Softball activities keeping the Falcons staff busy, plus an international tournament to host on August Bank Holiday weekend, a successful 2019 season for Chichester came to a close.

* Falcons manager David Morris was appointed as team manager for the Great Britain U18 women’s team in early July, and took a squad to British Columbia in to compete in the Canada Cup.

The 12-day tour saw Morris team up with head coach Robbie Robison from the UK to meet two further coaches across the pond, as GB took on teams from North America and Canada.

“Part of my remit is to now scout and develop young players who show promise and are willing to work hard on their game,” he said. “Any young ladies aged between 13 and 16 who are doing well with rounders or cricket are encouraged to get in touch with us here at Chichester, as softball in the UK is rapidly growing in stature and there are now plenty of opportunities for young players.”

New and existing junior Falcons will begin an indoor softball programme at Chichester High School in the winter.

* Two teams from France and a GB U18 mixed squad descended on Chichester to play in the second annual fastpitch tournament at Oaklands Park.

Paris Patriots and Ermont Valkyries battled out a round robin against the two British sides, with Patriots hoping to improve on their last place from 2018.

The Bell Inn provided food and drink (plus free ice pops) to keep the players refreshed and a fine weekend of fast-paced softball gave onlookers plenty to shout about. GB ran out eventual winners, with Paris taking second place at the end of the weekend.

* Back on home soil, division one was tight until the Falcons dispatched Solent Sluggers, Portsmouth Dodgers and Southampton Spitfires in turn to secure second place.

The Sluggers game saw Beth Ash’s first home run, while Josh Bristow and James Blackall continue to improve having earned their spot on the roster by impressing at various tournaments through the summer. A home match against the Dodgers saw the much-anticipated return of Danielle Clarke, who wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, leaving the Falcons one more tough fixture to confirm their league position.

With the Falcons regular pitcher unavailable, Ben Sawkins stepped in to deal up against Spitfires and threw a superb game, limiting Southampton to just 2 runs. Ally Warr was on fire, blasting through the infield on each at-bat as Sarah d’Agar went four for four to take the game 8-2 to the Falcons.

“Typically a newly promoted team would struggle in the higher division, and often come straight back down,” said Morris, “but we worked very hard at practice, stuck together and kept to the plan. The players should be very proud of themselves for rising to the challenge and playing without fear against teams who would have routinely beaten us two or three years ago.”