Manchester Tournament survives the weather

Tue 6 Aug 2019

By Mike Goff

Following torrential rain the Sunday before the annual Manchester Tournament, scheduled for the weekend of 3-4 August, the River Mersey flooded the pitches at the usual venue, Parrs Wood School, and so an alternative had to be found.  Fortunately, we managed to book the fields at Manchester University’s sports ground in Wythenshawe at very short notice, and they were very accommodating.

The weather forecast was glorious for Saturday but promised yet more torrential rain on Sunday afternoon, with thunder and lightning threatening the semi-finals and finals.  But we were very fortunate in only having about 15 minutes of deluge midway through the finals, after which diamonds were moved so the batting boxes weren’t full of mud and play resumed.

Bronze (C/D-grade)

Eight teams entered at Bronze level: the Hackers, Freeze and Renegades from Manchester, the Hippos and Yorkshire Dales from Leeds, the Bolts from Edinburgh, the Highland Chargers from Glasgow and the Chihuahuas from London.

Each team played the others in a round-robin that decided which teams would go to the Plate and which to the Cup, and who the home teams would be for the semi-finals.

Freeze and the Yorkshire Dales both finished Saturday undefeated, meaning that their meeting at 10:00 on Sunday morning could decide who would finish top.  Freeze prevailed and secured first place: despite their defeat to the Bolts in their final game, the win over the Dales meant that they finished above them on head-to-head.

The Chihuahuas and Bolts also had to be separated by head-to-head as they finished third and fourth.

Qualifying for the Plate were the Chargers, Renegades, Hackers and Hippos in that order.  The final saw the Chargers welcome the Renegades to their ‘home’ field, but the visitors weren’t especially polite guests, leaving with a 18-2 victory and the Bronze Plate.

Things were a lot closer in the Cup final, where Freeze entertained the Chihuahuas and after a very close game Gemma McArdle brought in the winning run and earned the female MVP award as a result.

Bronze Cup
Winner:  Freeze
MVPs:  Gemma McArdle and Trevor Sykes (Freeze)

Bronze Plate 
Winner:  The Renegades
MVPs: Katie Flanaghan and Chris Norton (Renegades)

Silver (B-grade)

Eleven teams entered the tournament at Silver level: representing Manchester were the Camels II, the Didsbury Bats, Drizzle, the Marauders, Mavericks II, the Meerkats, the Speeders and the Tigers, and we welcomed the Sefton Sharks, the Leeds Bobcats and Game of Throws from London.

Each team played eight games to decide which teams would go into the Spoon, Plate and Cup semi-finals.  Technically, with only three teams in the Spoon, there were no semi-finals, but it was two more games for those three teams.

The Sharks and Speeders both finished Saturday with 100% records and looked destined for the Cup, which turned out to be the case.  Despite the Speeders’ shock defeat to Drizzle, they were ranked second, while the Sharks won all eight group games.

Third were Mavs II and fourth were the Tigers, who had just tied the last game of the group stage 6-6.  A talented Tigers team wasn’t quite strong enough to stop the Sharks extending their winning streak to nine in one semi-final, but the second-placed Speeders fell to Mavs II in the other semi, setting up a classic red-blue clash that had already taken place three times at B-grade in the Diamond Series.

This time, putting their Diamond defeats to the back of their minds, the Sharks held on to win 8-6 and secure the Silver Cup.

In the Plate, the fifth to seventh seeds were all decided on head-to-head results, with the Meerkats, Bobcats and Drizzle all on 4-4.  The eighth team was the Bats, who finished 2-5-1, a tie ahead of Game of Throws who had to settle for the Spoon.

The Plate final wasn’t quite a feline affair, but the Meerkats triumphed over the Bobcats as the seedings might have suggested.

Camels II beat both the Marauders and Game of Throws to win the Spoon.

Silver Cup
Winner:  Sefton Sharks
MVPs:  Faye Dunlop (Mavs II), Jordan Colton (Sharks)

Silver Plate
Winner:  Manchester Meerkats
MVPs – Kate Densley (Bobcats), Matthew Narain (Meerkats)

Silver Spoon
Winner:  Camels II

Gold (A-grade)

Ten teams entered at Gold level: from Manchester came the Camels, the Greensox, the Jammy Dodgers, the Lions, the Mavericks and Thunder, and they were joined by the Leeds Terriers, the Honey Badgers and Saltires from Glasgow, and Vicious & Delicious from London.

Each team played eight others in the group stage, and the Saltires, wearing borrowed uniforms from their Scottish compatriots the Hairy Coos, showed early promise, with a 4-1 record after Saturday’s games.  The Dodgers didn’t manage to register a win on opening day, and the Honey Badgers only won their first game.

Once all the group games had finished, the Saltires were seeded first with a 6-2 record, and the next four teams were all on 5-3.  The Greensox were the team that lost out based on head-to-head results and went into the Plate, while Thunder, the Lions and Vicious & Delicious went into the Cup semi-finals.

While the Saltires duly beat the visitors from London, things did not go according to seeding in the other semi-final and the Lions went through to the final at Thunder’s expense.

The Saltires took the Gold Cup north to Glasgow after a mighty clash, showing off the skills of some of the top players in the country.

The Greensox were joined in the Plate by the Mavericks, Camels and Terriers, and the semi-finals went according to seeding, with the two home teams getting through.

The Greensox had just too much for the Mavericks in the final, however, and took the Plate trophy.

Gold Cup
Winner:  Saltires
MVPs – Jade Yerex (Saltires), Enmanuel Estevez Santos (Lions)

Gold Plate
Winner:  Greensox
MVPs:  Tanya Burton and Jack Scholes (Greensox)

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