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Matt Smith is the editor and lead writer at BaseballGB. An Oakland A's fan, Matt has been obsessed with baseball since 1998 and started writing about the sport in 2006.

Rainy Britain, but Mets Pony Team shines in Prague

It was to be expected really.

The British baseball season was entering its second Sunday of full competition across all four leagues, while water companies had announced hosepipe bans in various regions around the British Isles.

It was always going to pour down; you didn’t need Michael Fish promising a heatwave to know what was coming our way.

Consequently, many games understandably fell foul of the weather with the persistent rain leaving fields unfit for play.  However, some games were able to be played here and the weather was kinder in Prague where the London Mets Pony Team were competing in the SUMA European Qualifier.

National Baseball League – GB Juniors joining in

One game was played in the National Baseball League.  The Southampton Mustangs lifted themselves above a .500 record with a 6-2 victory over Lakenheath Diamondbacks.  The two teams had split a double-header on Opening Day at Croydon and they were back at Dave Ward Field on Sunday.

The Mustangs took an early lead with two runs in the first inning and starting pitcher Gary Davison, alongside some impressive fielding, made sure that the Diamondbacks were never able to catch back up.  Davison picked up the pitching win for the Mustangs, conceding two runs with six strike-outs and only four hits allowed, with the Mustangs improving to 3-2 on the season.

The Southampton-Lakenheath game was one part of a new venture by the BBF. The day of baseball at Croydon involved two NBL teams meeting for one NBL game and then both playing a game against the GB Juniors.

The GB Juniors will face all of the NBL teams this season in preparation for their European Championship qualifier in France later this year. As you would expect, the Mustangs and Diamondbacks both came out on top over their youthful rivals, but Head Coach Will Lintern’s comments on the BBF website show that the young stars of Great Britain’s future will have benefitted from challenging themselves against a tough standard of competition.

Mets Pony Team does British baseball proud

The London Mets Pony Team represented British baseball in outstanding style in the Pony Group stage SUMA European Qualifier in Prague, making it all the way through to the semi-finals.

The Mets topped their group with a perfect 3-0 record, starting with a memorable 10-5 victory over the Israeli National team and then winning twice on Friday against Technika Brno of the Czech Republic and BC Vilnius of Lithuania respectively. A comprehensive 11-1 win over another Czech team, Hlubloka, set up a semi-final under lights against a German Academy All Star team. Sadly, that’s where the Mets’ dreams ended, yet their tournament play can only be seen as a great success.

Congratulations to all involved for showing the rest of Europe that we have some talented youngsters here in the U.K. Further details on the tournament can be found on the London Mets’ website.

Back around the leagues

The Liverpool Trojans won twice at home against the Menwith Hill Patriots to make it four wins from four in 2012 and to continue their residence at the top of the AAA-North standings.  The Essex Redbacks have matched the Trojans’ 4-0 start in the South after they picked up two wins against the London Metros.

Last year’s AA-Midlands champions MK Bucks got their division defence underway with an 8-5 win over the Maple Leafs; however the Bucks needed a five-run seventh inning to fend off a spirited display by Birmingham. Meanwhile the Leicester Blue Sox followed up their Opening Day victory over the Birmingham Maple Leafs with a 26-9 win over the Stourbridge Titans. The result was the perfect way for the Blue Sox to toast the official unveiling of their new Sport England-funded backstop structure at Western Park.

In the AA-South, BBF league newcomers the Latin Tigers and the Daws Hill Spitfires both got their first ever wins at the second time of asking. The Croydon Pirates III scored eleven runs in the final two innings to get past a depleted Herts Hawks team with a 19-9 win, while Southampton Mustangs II showed their debut Double-A victory on Opening Day was no fluke by winning 18-3 on the road against the Brentwood Stags.

In Single-A, the Essex Archers made it two wins on the spin to start the season with a comfortable 33-3 victory over the developing Richmond Dukes side. The Herts Raptors defeated the Essex Redbacks III 9-0, while the Herts Eagles just fell short in a dramatic high-scoring affair with the Guildford Mavericks II. Guildford took the win by a score of 22-19 to improve their season record to 2-0.

This weekend

British baseball will once again be at the mercy of the weather, putting an asterisk next to every potential fixture either due to rain on the day of the game or the diamond being rendered unplayable due to downpours this week.

No one will be keener for games to go ahead this weekend than the Essex Redbacks. Former Eurovision contestant and Laindon resident Josh Dubovie will officially open the Essex Redbacks Baseball Club’s new Pony and adult diamond at Forest Glade Football Club on Saturday 28 April.

According to the Redbacks’ press release:

Josh, who performed live to a television audience of tens of millions at the Song Contest in 2010, will sing and entertain the crowds before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Forest Glade Ponies’ first match against the Feltwell Redbacks – the newest team to join the Redbacks Baseball Club.

Josh will be presented with an Essex Redbacks playing shirt, alongside fellow VIP Kevin Blake, Basildon’s Councillor for Leisure and Arts.

Josh said: “I’m honoured to be invited to perform and throw out the first ever pitch on the Redbacks’ new diamond at Forest Glade Football Club. The Club has made great developments since it set up three years ago and I am looking forward to being involved in their continued progress.”

The matches at Forest Glade Football Club on Saturday 28 April are the first home competitive games of the season for the Redbacks junior section.

Fingers crossed that Essex, and many other clubs around the country, will be able to play ball this weekend.

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4 Responses to “Rainy Britain, but Mets Pony Team shines in Prague”

  1. Hi Matt

    Another great round-up, excellent to hear about the London Mets Pony team’s exploits on the international stage as well.

    Unfortunately, the event at the weekend had to be postponed given the heavy weather as the ground was basically flooded from Monday night, let alone the next two days of downpours.

    Here’s the statement:

    POSTPONEMENT OF EVENT

    Redbacks forced to postpone opening day ceremony with Josh Dubovie at Forest Glade Football Club

    At 13:00 BST on Wednesday 25 April, the Essex Redbacks were forced to make the difficult decision to postpone the forthcoming games at Forest Glade Football Club on Saturday 28 April.

    The matches, involving both the Forest Glade Ponies and Forest Glade Broncos, the Feltwell Redbacks, Essex Atoms and both Herts All-Star Ponies and Herts All-Star Broncos, will be rearranged for later in the season.

    Following a long dry period, the recent bad weather had caused flooding on many parts of the field, and with the poor forecast for the next few days, there could be no guarantee that the field would be in a state fit to host the scheduled baseball matches or the opening day ceremonies involving former Eurovision star and Laindon resident Josh Dubovie and Basildon Councillor for Leisure and Arts, Kevin Blake.

    In a joint statement, the FG Ponies head coach Graham Meikle and FG Broncos head coach Richard Crabb said: “We were over at the ground yesterday doing some work on the diamonds and it was clear that the recent bad weather would make it difficult for there to be a safe, enjoyable and exciting baseball experience on Saturday. Given that teams have to travel a long way to get here, and that we couldn’t promise a good show for those who would come to watch the games and Josh Dubovie’s scheduled performance, we felt it was necessary to take this action as soon as possible to avoid confusion.”

    Josh, who was due to perform and throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the games, said: “It’s disappointing that I won’t be able to perform due to the postponement as I’m sure many people were as excited about the games as I was. I hope that I’ll be able to take part when the games are rescheduled later in the year.”

    Training had already been cancelled for the Redbacks’ junior teams at Forest Glade on Wednesday prior to the matches being postponed, while the forecast is ominous for the Redbacks’ senior teams who are due to play on Sunday 29 April.

    The Redbacks’ first team are unbeaten so far this season and are due to play the youthful Windsor & Bracknell Bears at Melbourne Park, Chelmsford (12pm pitch off). The Redbacks II are scheduled to take on the Herts Hawks in Hemel Hempstead. Both are double-headers and subject to the weather, but the Club remains hopeful that the rain won’t affect Sunday’s action.

    The decision to postpone Saturday’s action is disappointing as the baseball community generally prides itself on being hardier than other summer sports. However, the risk to the junior players’ safety and enjoyment is paramount and the team managers of the opposing sides fully support Graham and Richard’s decision.

    It is hoped that the weather will clear up in time for the Redbacks senior teams’ big games this weekend and that the Club can try to brighten up some aspect of this week following the terrible rain across the south east of England.

    For more information about the Club, including playing, supporting or volunteering, visit the Redbacks’ website at:www.essexredbacks.com or contact Club Secretary Sean Briscomb at: sean@essexredbacks.com

    -ENDS-

    Mike

    April 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm Reply
  2. Matt Smith #

    Hi Mike

    Sorry to hear that rain has scuppered the plans. Hopefully you’ll be back playing again soon.

    Matt

    April 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm Reply
  3. Southampton at Harlow in the NBL is another casualty of the weather this weekend.

    Joe

    April 28, 2012 at 11:50 am Reply
  4. Anyone suddenly finding themselves with time on their hands this weekend owing to postponements might enjoy reading the 12 newly added issues of Baseball Courier, from the 1960s:
    http://www.projectcobb.org.uk/materials.html#n

    April 28, 2012 at 11:52 am Reply

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