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Manchester Players Take on the Best in Europe

Zoe Le Roux reports on Gold Tier team Chaos at the Barcelona Slow Pitch Cup.

The weekend of the 3rd-5th March was the long awaited Barcelona Gold Cup. Chaos’ first outing (or I should say Chads as our logo font was ambiguous!). We were a team consisting of players from Manchester, Nottingham and London. Manchester players were myself from Mosley Mayhem, Rebecca Ebo of Sharks, Hayley Mctear and Katie Flanagan of Camels, and Maddy Gresty, Leanne Cracknell and Tanya Basu of Mavericks. Sarah Cassin of Camels was our scorer and Gareth Evans also of Camels helped with coaching. We were raring to compete against high level teams including the Dutch National Team (DNT) and other teams stacked with Americans who towered over us. The first game was on the Friday evening. A few nerves were present but the team quickly settled into the round robin stage and beat the Spanish team Tatanka 15-4. The girls stuck around to get a look at the competition, with beer jackets on.

Solid base hitting and patience in the box allowed us to have a comfortable win.

Saturday had the two remaining group stage games for Chaos, with a reasonable 10am start. First up was Balls and Dolls, a team consisting of players from Europe. Solid base hitting and patience in the box allowed us to have a comfortable win. Our last group stage game was against one of the American teams – Free Agents (AKA the Rams), who went on to win the tournament. We had been watching them in our off games and they were popping it over the fence for fun. We knew it would be a tough battle. Unsurprisingly we lost the final game of the group stages. Four of the eight teams finished with a 2-1 record, so it went down to run differential for seeding. Finishing 4th in the group, the team were happy with the result.

We had been watching them in our off games and they were popping it over the fence for fun.

This started the beginning of the Double Elimination games. We were to play 5th seeded Italian team, Lady Gladiators. With more than just a spot moving forwards in the winners bracket, a later Sunday start and a lie in was also on the line. The bats went cold resulting in our second lose of the day and an 8am start the next day. But we got to finish Saturday earlier and go and enjoy some tapas and warm up.

Team Chaos
Team Chaos

Sunday morning’s rematch against Spain put everything on the line. It was win or go home. We knew we beat them comfortably on Friday but we couldn’t get complacent. Thankfully the game lengths were longer for the double elimination games, as we were down 4-7 with home field advantage. No new [innings] was called just at the start of the inning bringing a big sigh of relief that we had one more inning to play. A quick pitching change resulted in a much needed shut out. With the top of the order coming up the girls knew it was go time. With 2 runners on and 1 out, the tying run up at the plate, a shot to right field which bounced under the right fielders glove saw an in the park home run and the game was tied! With 2 outs to play with, there was no pressure, we knew we had it in hand, tying run at 2b (second base), up comes 2 down Ebo and drives home the winning run! Chads we’re moving on! With an hour off, and more Americans coming up coffee was needed. Lady Sabers, a team who’s smallest player was still bigger than any of us were next. These girls have been playing softball since they could walk and we knew it was always going to be an uphill battle. Lady Sabers took an early lead, which we were not able to match, however, we did manage to silence them by narrowing the gap, and we took that as a win. A team like that worried they’d get beat by some Brits! We were knocked out the tournament but it wouldn’t stop us from enjoying the rest of the day watching softball, drinking beer and eating empanadas. Note to self, bring more layers!

This will not be Chaos’ only outing. We’re going back to compete in Europe next year. If you want to play in European Single Sex Softball, whether it be with Chaos, British Storm (Cardiff based captain) or want to enter your own team please let myself or Hayley know and we can give you hand.

 

Ed: British Storm, which included Manchester players Nadia Aghtarafi of Tigers and Annie Downes and Miranda Currie of Travelling Dodgers won the Silver Tier, beating Spanish Team Jaguars 14-6.

Final Standings

Photo credit: Zoe Le Roux

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