Hectic end of season for Falcons - but there’s no rest in the nest this winter

Chichester Falcons had a busy end of season
Chichester Falcons had a busy end of season

Chichester Falcons Softball Club enjoyed a busy post-season schedule – and it wasn’t all softball either.

The Solent League’s annual ‘lastball’ tournament in Portsmouth featured a new format which entailed two separately graded one-day events, for A/B grade and C/D grade teams respectively. The stature of the Falcons squad enabled them to enter a separate team into each tournament day.

Day one saw the cream of the Falcons crop go in as underdogs against teams with numerous A grade and NSL players.

First up were MSC Royals, who were dispatched by the Falcons 10-7 much to the disbelief of their Solent League rivals.

After a break, the Falcons took on local division-one side Gosport Killa Whales. Familiar with the Whales’ big-hitting tactics, the Falcons outfield set out their stall to catch any fly-ball attempts and the plan worked. Time and time again the Whales tried to hit big, either slicing the ball to the infield or providing easy snags in centre field.

The Falcons’ contrasting batting style worked well as ground balls and choppers got them around the bases to frustrate the Whales, who ultimately put nothing on the board, leaving the Falcons to win 7-0.

Sadly the Falcons could not maintain their run and lost to Vampire Batters and Nino Pravado.

“Finishing fourth out of seven teams well above our usual grade surprised everybody, not least ourselves” said captain David Morris.

The second day saw the Falcons development squad with a sprinkling of beginners take on three other softball teams of a similar ilk.

Initially the Falcons struggled as they found that the standard was somewhat higher than expected, but they eventually found their feet against Oxford Beavers and earned themselves a spot in the play-offs.

Sadly their next deciding match was something of a mockery as their opponents hurriedly rounded up several high-graded ringers before the game, and predictably outplayed the Chichester side. Nevertheless the Falcon fledglings went home having helped give a good account of the club.

The following weekend brought a new sport to the city. The Falcons’ James Clarke teamed up with the Solent Softball League to host the first kickball tournament to raise money for the currently-unfunded GB softball teams at the Chichester University fields.

Kickball is a cross between football and softball – the ball is football-sized and fairly soft and the ‘batter’ must kick it rather than hit it with a bat. From that point on, the rules are the same as softball. Kickball is predominantly played at US schools in PE.

The tournament featured three Solent Softball League teams – the Falcons, Baffins Brewers and Southsea Sharks. Two players from Brighton Beachcombers came to help make up the numbers, while Stan Doney from BaseballSoftballUK brought his enthusiasm and skills.

It was a great success and enjoyed by the teams, who found their softball skills mostly irrelevant - the size of the ball alone caused mayhem on the field and the usual big-hitting characters found themselves levelled with everybody else, bringing some hilarious antics and spectacular mishaps. The event raised more than £200 for GB softball.

The Falcons’ end-of-season party saw Amelia Peachment, Emma Brown, Dave Piesse, Ben Sawkins and Matt Tebb pick up MVP awards. Jason Mercer and Vicki Cathie took the player of the year awards and Sam McGann and Vicky Reynolds each scooped a golden balls trophy.

The Falcons look forward to an indoor winter campaign and will begin training on Friday nights at Chichester College from October 18. Anybody who wants to try softball and join the Falcons should contact chichesterfalcons@gmail.com or visit www.chichesterfalcons.com