Close games feature at full GBFL weekend

Wed 9 May 2018

The Great Britain Fastpitch League played its only full weekend of the season on Saturday and Sunday, 5-6 May, at Farnham Park, and after a number of close games in both the Women’s and Men’s Divisions, the shape of the title races became a little clearer.

After playing in warm spring sunshine during Week 1 and shivering through the damp and cold in Week 2, the third GBFL weekend was played under blue skies and the warmest temperatures ever recorded for an early May Bank Holiday weekend.

But it was clear at the end of Sunday that playing six or seven games over two consecutive days in temperatures more suited to the Mediterranean had taken its toll on GBFL players!

Women’s Division​

After Week 2, last year’s GBFL winners The Mix and the perennial champion London Angels had been tied at the top of the Women’s Division standings.

But after the full weekend of play on 5-6 May, and with the Angels only able to play on Saturday and thus having to forfeit their games on Sunday, it was The Mix who have opened up a lead at the top of the division, with four wins, a loss and a draw over the weekend.  But the loss came at the hands of the Angels by a score of 9-8, and this kept the Angels in touch despite their Sunday forfeits.

The Oxford Diamonds remain in third place, and posted three wins, three losses and a draw over the weekend, while playing even better than that record would suggest.  On Saturday the Diamonds lost by only 9-7 to The Mix and 8-4 to the Angels and on Sunday they held The Mix to a 3-3 draw.  Losing to the top two teams by narrow margins has been a feature of the Diamonds’ season so far, and at some point that might start to turn around.

Meanwhile, the Free Agents, a team with a number of young players and players new to the fastpitch format, are still chasing their first win of the season on the field (to go with the forfeit they recorded against the Angels) – but they came agonisingly close to it on the Bank Holiday weekend in games against the Oxford Diamonds.

On Saturday, the Free Agents lost to the Diamonds by a score 12-11, and on Sunday they lost again to the Oxford team by a score of 7-6.  The breakthrough can’t be long in coming.

Here are scores and standings from Week 3 in the Women’s Division:

London Angels 15, Free Agents 0
The Mix 9, Oxford Diamonds 7
London Angels 8, Oxford Diamonds 4
The Mix 9, Free Agents 3
London Angels 9, The Mix 8
Oxford Diamonds 12, Free Agents 11

The Mix 10, Oxford Diamonds 6
The Mix 20, Free Agents 1
Oxford Diamonds 7, Free Agents 6
Oxford Diamonds 3, The Mix 3
The Mix 7, London Angels 0 (forfeit)
Oxford Diamonds 7, London Angels 0 (forfeit)
Free Agents 7, London Angels 0 (forfeit)

The Mix 9 2 1 .783 119 62
London Angels 7 4 0 .636 70 52
Oxford Diamonds 5 6 1 .500 89 71
Free Agents 1 10 0 .090 52 141


Men’s Division

Things are more straightforward in the Men’s Division, as Meteors Red, now unbeaten with an 11-0 record, continue to stretch their lead in the standings.

It’s not as if the Reds are destroying their opponents – their five wins over the weekend were by an average margin of just over four runs – but so far, they are finding a way to win every game.

Meanwhile, Meteors Black, in second place, are generally managing to win their games against the other teams in the division, but have so far been unable to get over the hump against Meteors Red.  While Meteors Black are still in with an outside chance of the league title, they will have to turn things around against the league leaders over the remaining three weeks of the season.

The Lions, who are primarily the GB Under-19 Men’s Team, went 1-4-1 over the weekend, but like the Oxford Diamonds in the Women’s Division, are playing better softball than their record would suggest.  Only one team scored in double figures against them in their six weekend games, and that was Meteors Red, who scored 12 and 10 in games between the two teams.  The Lions had two close games against Meteors Black, and two really close games against Bracknell (a 7-6 win and a 9-9 draw).

Bracknell still has only a win and a draw at the midway point in the season, but have played fewer games than the other teams, since they are composed in large part of baseball players and were not able to play, by arrangement, on Sunday 6 May. 

On Saturday, Bracknell had a good day.  They almost pulled off the upset of the season when they lost by only 5-4 to Meteors Red, and they drew and lost by only a single run to the Lions. 

Here are scores and standings from Week 3 in the Men’s Division:

Meteors Red 12, Meteors Black 5
Lions 7, Bracknell 6
Meteors Red 12, Lions 9
Meteors Black 15, Bracknell 0
Meteors Black 8, Lions 5
Meteors Red 5, Bracknell 4
Bracknell 9, Lions 9

Meteors Black 9, Lions 2
Meteors Red 10, Meteors Black 4
Meteors Red 10, Lions 5
Meteors Red 7, Meteors Black 0 (forfeit)

Meteors Red 11 0 0 1.000 97 33
Meteors Black 7 4 1 .625 77 50
Lions 2 7 2 .273 53 89
Bracknell 1 6 1 .188 27 82


Looking ahead

The GBFL will move into the second half of its season on Saturday 12 May at Farnham Park with a full slate of games in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions.  After taking a break on the weekend of 19-20 May, when the slowpitch Diamond Series 1 will take over the ground, the GBFL will pay its final games at Farnham Park on Saturday 26 May and Saturday 2 June.

The GBFL always welcomes new players, regardless of previous fastpitch experience, and there are places available on teams for the remainder of the season.

Anyone interested in joining the GBFL should contact Johanna Malisani:

Photos by Felicity West

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