Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Close-Run Thing, Raiders @ Dazzlers, 5/7/10

On Monday, the Dazzlers faced off against Raiders Red at Finsbury in a match which would either enable or prematurely end a late season push for promotion. Up against the team with the best defensive record in the division, could the Dazzlers avenge the one-run defeat to the Raiders earlier in the season? Read on to find out.

The game started poorly for the Dazzlers as they were unable to make inroads against the Raiders batting or fielding. After the first innings Dazzlerfans were disheartened as the Raiders took an 8-run lead, but some inspired re-jigging of the infield by stand-in captain Maggie strengthened the defence before the Dazzler batting battery opened fire. Some smart base-hits by the home team and two homers apiece for Steve and the returning Isaac resulted in the Raiders conceding more runs than they had in any other game this year. Complemented by some much improved fielding, notably with some big catches being held in the outfield, against the Raiders’ big hitting line-up the Dazzlers in fact took the lead and by the bottom of the fifth the score was 18-17 to the Dazzlers.

Regular readers will know that the Dazzlers like to keep the tension going, so after conceding 3 in the top of the 6th, the calculators were out as our batters calculated the number of runs required. “Two runs... that’s what we need, two runs” the whispers went round. Sure enough, the Dazzlers delivered and the scores were tied at 20-20 with an innings to play. It was at this point that the Raiders’ nitro kicked in and they racked up a 6-run cushion in their final at-bat, the Dazzlers paying the price for failing to take chances to close down the innings early on. The Dazzler bottom order could not muster a reply, and so having run the Raiders close for the second time this season, the Dazzlers were again left to rue the runners stranded on base, misfields and overthrows that cost them the game.

Nevertheless this was an encouraging performance, and despite Caesar Isaac’s triumphant return, Steve was awarded a well-deserved maiden MVP ball.
Where was Don Tona? My guess would be in Vegas, taking care of the new business.

Raiders 26
Dazzlers 20

Friday, July 02, 2010

What kind of Dazzler are you?! Dazzlers @ The Mob, 29 June 2010

Instead of a match report this week, we have a short questionnaire with which you can establish which kind of Dazzler you are. Simply go through selecting A, B or C to each question and make a note of your answers.

1. How do you find this week’s venue?
a. Wandsworth Common, John Archer Way, like it says in the fixture list and as highlighted in the roster emails sent pre-game
b. Go to Wandsworth. It’s only little, isn’t it? Surely there’s only one pitch in Wandsworth!
c. Flick to a random page of the A-Z, shut your eyes and stick in a pin

2. Are changing rooms provided?
a. No
b. No, but there is sufficient bush around the pitch to sneak off and get changed without anyone seeing
c. Yes, nature’s bountiful goodness provides not only cover for changing, but also various large, soft leaves that don’t appear to cause any adverse reaction on potentially sensitive parts of the body when answering nature’s call

3. Do you question the umpires’ calls?
a. No, it only winds them up for any close calls later
b. No, they had a pretty solid game
c. Yes, because they have form and we don’t trust them

4. When leading off the batting, what is the best thing to do?
a. Chip it over the infield for a smooth double
b. Get on base one time, then ground out or hole out at every available opportunity thereafter
c. Don’t swing, just watch the strikes go by

5. When throwing to first base, try to:
a. Get it in her glove
b. Bean it over her head
c. Bisect first base and home plate

6. When ground fielding in the outfield, stop the ball with:
a. Your glove
b. Your shin
c. The gap between your legs

7. How is it best for the team to get the runs?
a. Evenly, 2 or 3 each innings, maybe more
b. Get very few in the first 6 innings, then pile them on in the 7th to create most tension
c. Drink too much coffee in the afternoon and need to take option 2c above

8. Having established a three run lead in the top of the 7th, should we:
a. Shut them out and win the game
b. Let them score three runs, especially if we can misfield to let them get two of them with two outs
c. Crowd in when the bases are loaded and let them hit a home run over our heads

9. What is the best margin of victory?
a. Mercy rule enforced after 4 innings
b. One run, obviously. How else do you keep people interested?
c. Victory? We do who with the what now?

10. What was the final score?
a. Dazzlers 10 – 7 Mob
b. Dazzlers 12 – 11 Mob
c. Dazzlers 17 – 17 Mob

Mostly As: Aspirational Dazzler You are the Dazzler everyone wants to be. You’re the man. People see you strutting your stuff on the field and they think, “Wow, who’s that guy?!”. They see you there in your sexy red socks and tight top. Unbelievably they may even look past the rugged Sicilian charms of our patriarchal pitcher and think that YOU are the guy they want to squeeze their lemons. But you don’t exist. Are you sure you didn’t lie to a few of those? Hmm? I’d like to believe you, really I would. But I don’t.

Mostly Bs: Actual Dazzler That’s right. You were there on Tuesday and know the answers, or you think like a Dazzler naturally. Either way you are obviously a Dazzler. Or married to a Dazzler. Unlikely you are the offspring of a Dazzler, because you’re not old enough to even understand words yet. Or maybe you’re just reading this because you’re into this season’s particular brand of Dazzler match reports and have managed to guess from your prior knowledge of the Dazzlers that Bs is what mainly happened.

Mostly Cs: 2008 Dazzler Oh yeah, I’ve tricked you by throwing in some answers applicable to the last time we played the Mob at their home ground. Or indeed answers generally applicable to the 2008 season. Dark days. Dark days indeed. Hoo-hahless, and for the most part winless. Although looking back at the results we came very close to winning a few times. We were just on the end of one-run losses instead of inflicting them. But were the 2008 Dazzlers mostly Cs? I couldn’t possibly say.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Mob @ Dazzlers, 15 June 2010

The Dazzlers lost this match through no fault of their own. They did enough to win it but were prevented. From their very first at-bat to their last, the story was the same. It's an old one which has been repeated several times over the years. But that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

It has even upset Don Tona, who is normally a very reasonable man.

It's too upsetting to write any more. Well played Dazzlers, again a good game in the field. Batting maybe we could have done better and made our own luck, but as said above, we did do enough really.

The Mob 8
Dazzlers 7

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

T-Cats meet their match (brought to you by the letters F and D, and by the number 18),ThunderCat Squares @ Dazzlers, 7 June 2010

Contrary to what their name suggests, ThunderCat Squares are a softball team, not a quiz team specialising in the 1980s cartoon series featuring the exploits of Lion-O and chums as they saw off evil attacks from Mum-Ra the Everliving. On Monday evening they travelled to Finsbury Park to face the resurgent Dazzlers.

The Squares began boldly, hitting three runs in the top of the first. The Dazzlers loaded the bases in response, but failed to score. The Dazzlers conceded only one to the Squares' lower order in the second innings, despite some juggling in the field, before Rob produced an RBI from his violin case of weapons, seeing Simon home in a classic ba-da-bing manoeuvre. The Squares proceeded to hit long into the outfield, placing perfectly between Ed and Erin to score three more and put themselves 7-1 up as the Dazzlers went to the plate for third time.

This is where the Dazzlers came to life, set off by Isaac batting home Jack and Erin with a home run. Amy was unlucky to be caught in the same situation but still batted Maggie in on the sacrifice. Ed, Steve and Simon, each with their own style of running, also scored to pull the Dazzlers into a one point lead.

Despite an attempt by a ThunderCat runner to take out Isaac at second, both teams failed to score in the 4th innings. The Dazzlers then started to pull away, assisted by Steph and Simon’s pressure running. Rob and Jen then set themselves up in scoring positions for the top order to send home, before Ed’s home run scored another two. This gave the Dazzlers a cushion, but the Squares’ dangerous top order was up in the final innings.

With runners on base the Squares made the mistake of hitting deep to left field, where Jack took his third catch of the night. They then tried hitting shorter and just inside the foul line, however it hung in the air just long enough for Jack to make the catch then make the return to Maggie for a tag at third as the Squares’ runner made a crazy play for the base. Thus concluded the game among scenes of excitement in front of the Dazzlers’ dug-out where many dedicated Dazzlerfans, including club founder Tony Delahunty, had whipped one another into an orgy of tension.

MVP for the night was Super Grover, flying around to recover from earlier mistakes and take many catches.

Just look at that awesome superhero. He even got him an F for Finsbury.
Squares 11 (3 1 3 x 3 1 x)
Dazzlers 18 (x 1 7 x 5 5 -)

Monday, June 07, 2010

Dazzlers Comeback on Pondsworth Common, Dazzlers @ Kamikazes, 1 June 2010

Some came by train, some came on moped, some maybe even paddled there in a canoe and certainly they came two by two, either way the Dazzlers team that played on Tuesday night pulled together to produce a gritty performance in terrible conditions, culminating in a thrilling reversal of the lead at the last minute to seal another victory.

Torrential rain in the late afternoon had eased off to light drizzle by the time the game started, but the wet ground and ball made all disciplines difficult. The Dazzlers scored some early runs in the top of the first innings, taking advantage of some weak spots in the Kamikazes’ field. The Kamis responded with a run of their own, despite some excellent fielding, particularly by Nikki in right field who was making some very clean pickups of difficult skidding line drives. The Dazzlers struggled to make clean contact with the bat for the next couple of innings before the Kamis applied some real pressure with five runs in the bottom of the third. At this point previous Dazzler teams might have given up, but inspired by Cap’n Chicken’s tidy work at short stop the team upped its game.

Erin and Isaac took some outstanding catches in the outfield to prevent runners getting home at key times, Maggie moved in at third to make some sharp plays to Amy at first, Paul played some good defence at second and Rob added to his solid batting performance by keeping up the pressure when pitching, only allowing one walk in terrible pitching conditions. With the field tightened up, we turned our attention to batting where Nicole and Jack pulled off a squeeze manoeuvre to kickstart a 4-run haul in the fifth innings.

This gave the Dazzlers the lead and the momentum, and by the time the game was cut short due to the rain getting heavier in the top of the sixth we had scored another three, with a runner on second and two outs in hand. Even with the scores reverting, the Dazzlers had already done enough to secure the victory.

MVP: TBA

Stop press: After the game Steph had some exciting news – she is pregnant! Congratulations Steph. Of course as a sign of respect Don Rob Tona was asked for his blessing, which he duly gave while saying something about family being important...

Dazzlers 7 (2 x x 1 4 - -)
Kamikazes 6 (1 x 5 x x - -)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dazzlers tame the Tigers at Clissold Park, Tigers @ Dazzlers, 24 May 2010






The crowds, led by Maggie’s parents, gathered in the Monday evening sun to witness the Dazzlers break their losing streak with a confident and convincing victory. Transport problems resulted in the Dazzlers taking to the field late and with only nine players, however the Tigers failed to take full advantage of the gap in the outfield (made even bigger by Ed’s acrobatic fielding techniques, i.e. falling over), scoring only two in the first innings before Erin arrived to bring the team to full strength. The Dazzlers responded in fierce fashion, batting round the order to get nine home and give themselves a comfortable lead. Tidy fielding yielded a shut-out in the top of the second, before Jack took out the Tigers first catcher of the night on a close play at home to score the Dazzlers’ tenth run.

This naked aggression must have riled the Tigers as they responded with their best innings of the night, scoring five to bring the score to 7-10. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Dazzlers hit their straps at this point and did not concede another run in the next three innings. Last week’s misdemeanours were atoned as the infield gave Amy much better service at first base, vindicating skipper Chicken’s rostering of Simon at second base where he had a super game and Maggie made an eagerly anticipated return to third base. Although not his daughter’s wedding day, Sicilian Rob made the gift of a walk to the Tigers’ big hitter but it was of no consequence.

The Dazzlers continued well in offence throughout these innings, scoring in each one, and with everyone scoring. Simon had a flawless 5-5 at the plate scoring each time, Nikki made some good hits and made it round to score even with an injured leg, Nicole recovered from a disappointing strike out in the first innings to place some great drives over the infield to get on base, Ed produced another home run and Amy reversed her poor batting form of late. In fact the Dazzlers would have done even better had the Tigers' first baseman not been such a safe glove as he took down some mighty powershots from Erin, Maggie and Jack, who took out his second catcher of the night in retaliation.

Despite the Tigers scoring two consolation runs in the final innings, the Dazzlers did not need to bat again.

MVP for the night was Erin. Despite being late, she did take a clean catch while the full force of the Ed Taylor One-Man Slapstick Show was bearing down on her, and that is no mean feat.

Tigers 9 (2 x 5 x x x 2)
Dazzlers 24 (9 1 2 6 4 2 -)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Careless Dazzlers Count the Cost, Comer's Homers @ Dazzlers 17 May 2010

The Dazzlers played host to Comer’s Homers on Monday night. Having pipped the Homers in Richmond over the weekend, the Dazzlers (plus Hayley from Meteors stepping in at the last minute – thanks!) took to the field with an air of expectation. The game began cagily with both teams giving the other a certain amount of respect, however the Homers settled quicker and over the first three innings took a lead of 6-4. The Dazzlers reacted as if it were 16-4 and their heads started going down. There was a palpable ebb of confidence away from the Dazzlers and this was evidenced by uncommited, sloppy fielding and a general lack of intent when batting and running.

After no score for either team in the fourth innings the Homers took advantage of the Dazzlers’ loss of focus and got three home. This took the score to 9-4, and despite some reasonable hitting in the bottom of the fifth the Dazzlers only managed to score with one runner. The Homers by now were comfortably picking out holes in the field and doubled their score over the final two innings. With the game effectively lost, the Dazzlers seemed to relax and played with much more freedom at the plate to get four home; unfortunately this was too little too late and the game ended in defeat.

To take some positives from the game, there were some good plays. A few nice catches were taken in the outfield; Rob had a great game pitching, throwing strikes at crucial times; some sharp infield plays went down; and at times there was some clean hitting to get on base. However the bad outweighed the good, as indecision, lack of communication, poor execution, and panic crippled the Dazzlers, especially towards the end of the game. Last year we might have got away with this, but the tougher opposition in Minor League Div 1 will punish mistakes, and the Homers proved no exception. Fumbles and overthrows cost the Dazzlers dear in defence and at the plate there was no apparent strategy.

MVP for the night was legitimate businessman Rob Tona, who added some solid hitting to his unflustered performance at the pitcher’s rubber; if only he had been backed up by the fielding he deserved, it would have been a different story.

Last week the story was that there’s no shame in playing well and losing to a better team on the day. This week the Dazzlers lost because they played badly against a team they could have beaten. Perhaps there is shame in that, but a bigger shame would be not to bounce back next week and head to Clissold Park with focus, confidence and HOO-HAH!

Homers 18 (2 x 4 x 3 4 5)
Dazzlers 9 (x 4 x x 1 x 4)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down South - Dazzlers @ Raiders Red. 10 May 2010

Clapham South was the location of some high quality softball on Monday night, as the Dazzlers travelled south of the river to a ground which had played host to some emotional nights for the team in recent years. However the presence of some newer members, including Nikki playing as starting catcher on her league dayboo, helped to clear the collective Dazzler mind of bad memories and the team came together to give a respectable performance in a tight match.

In the top of the first innings some tight fielding held the Dazzlers to nil, with only Isaac getting on base. In reply the Raiders opened their account with an enormous home run, the first of several. In the second Steph got on base with a strong hit before a misunderstanding resulted in her being run out by Ed who was enthusiastically bounding round the bases, as his huge hit deserved. He ended up stranded on second and another run to the Raiders had the score at 0-2 going into the third innings.

After two quick outs the Dazzlers bottom order instigated a rally with Sicilian lemon merchant Rob* and Maria* getting on base, ready for Jack to shepherd home on a home run hit inside-out to rightfield. This gave the Dazzlers the lead for the first and only time in the game. The Raiders' consistent scoring continued despite some tricksy pitching by Simon and big catches in the deep from Ed, Erin and Jack. The Dazzlers added a fourth run to tie the scores in their next inning, with Steph batting in Chicken Tony who had hit a triple. It was the infield's turn to shine next as Isaac and Amy both bagged difficult catches and the game went into the fifth innings at 4-5.

Three up, three down in the Dazzlers' next innings, before holding the Raiders to no score for the first time, courtesy of short-stop Tony racing to win a forced out at second. Come the top of the seventh, the Dazzlers' lone run wasn't quite enough to make the home team bat for a final time and the game finshed 5-6.

MVP for the night was Jack with three big outfield catches and a home run plus two more RBIs.

Despite the result, the Dazzlers can be pleased with some solid defence against an excellent batting team, as they were beaten only by some impressively enormous hitting. The Dazzlers' own game at the plate was resilient in the face of some disappointing innings, trusting one another and constructing runs with teamwork which shows that there is more to the team than the first two innings.

Dazzlers 5 (x x 3 1 x x 1)
Raiders 6 (1 1 2 1 x 1 -)

*I think. I may be wrong.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

First Ball!




video

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Honourable in Tension - Dazzlers @ Meteors 3, 27 April 2010

The Dazzlers’ first league fixture of the season took place at Finsbury Park on Tuesday evening, an ‘away’ fixture to Meteors 3. The team welcomed back Paul “McLongGone” McLoughlin in a new position of 2nd base. Strong team spirit manifest itself as several squad members who weren’t playing turned out to support the team, and the faithful were not to be disappointed as another exciting game unfolded before their very eyes.

Tension was high as the game began in fair conditions with the sun setting over left centre field. However the Dazzlers soon settled down, scoring 7 runs in the first innings as 11 players made it to the plate, and after a simlar second innings the score was 12-0 to the Dazzlers. It was a strong team performance at bat, with everyone getting hits and runs. Crazy running was kept to a merciful minimum and a well-balanced line-up meant no easy outs for the Meteors. There was even some great tactical hitting: in one act of pure unselfishness Steph Biden placed a superb two RBI sacrifice ground out to short stop. Not to be outdone, in an act of pure self-denial spiritual leader Jen Bradley took the two-outs post-manwalk walk (you know what I mean). Veteran ballers Maggie and Simon “SiJo” Joseph even got taught a lesson in unusual ways to get out (“123..4567..8910 Strike1!”), and there were two home runs from “Big” Ed Taylor plus one from captain Chicken Tony.

The middle innings saw a change in the game as the traditional Dazzler fatigue set in. Counts went full, catches went down and throws went wild as the tension built. The diamond became a pressure cooker as the Meteors loaded the bases and some tense plays at home ensued. However we rode out the storm, continuing to score in each innings and after the fifth, the score was 19-13, as some fierce infielding resulted in more than one excellent out at first base.

At this point the Meteors’ pitcher was relieved and the game moved into its final, not to mention most incredibly tense, stages. The change was too much for the Dazzlers who failed to score in the top of the sixth. Meteors responded with two runs and in their final visit to the plate, the Dazzlers could manage only one more run to bring their score to 20. The Meteors had 15 and were last to bat, with some big hitters in the pipeline. At this point the umpire’s tense-ometer started beeping, indicating that tension levels needed to be reduced forthwith or someone would probably get overexcitied. The Meteors paid no heed to this warning and proceeded to get two runners in. An out went down but there were runners on 1st and 2nd, and one of the big hitters came up to bat.

AWOOGA! AWOOGA! No, it wasn’t a pitch invasion by John Fashanu, it was the ground’s own tension alarm sounding out. The outfielders stepped back: if they were cleared there would be three runners in and the scores would be tied with two outs to play. Simon pitched. The batter swung... and contact! He got it. Both dug-outs went wild. The ball cleared the infield high and started dropping in for the hole between second base and right centre field, to be fielded but not before the two runners made it home. But wait! What’s this approaching from right centre? A trail of dust starting from the baseball cage... could it be the park collapsing in a tension-induced earthquake? No, aided by his shiny new Nicole-approved Dazzlerboots it was Jack “My Friend” Grover sprinting in from about 35 yards back, eyes to the skies. The gathered players, spectators, umpires and onlookers held their collective breath and the tension seriously threatened to claim a life. One last stretch and the ball came down... in the glove! In the glove, a catch! The runners had to tag up and rapturous scenes burst out at the Dazzlers dug-out. The fight was over, the tension broken; the Dazzlers made a formality of the final out and headed to the pub victorious.

MVP for the night was Ed, who had an outstanding batting game: 4-4 with two home runs and 6 RBIs.

Final score
Dazzlers 20 (7 5 1 5 1 x 1)
Meteors 18 (x x 7 x 6 2 3)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dazzlers @ Tecumsehs, 19 April 2010

Monday night saw the Finsbury Dazzlers travel to Clissold Park where they took on old friends and rivals the Tecumsehs in a pre-season friendly. The Dazzlers recovered from the disappointing cancellation of their planned excursion to Amsterdam over the weekend to turn out in force for Monday night’s game and were duly rewarded in a light-hearted but competitive encounter.

Both teams started slowly with runners left stranded on base as rusty batters struck out in the early innings, including new Dazzlers captain Tony ‘Chicken’ Campos who did so with bases loaded. Enter former Tecumseh Ed ‘Judas’ Taylor who started repaying the 30 pieces of silver investment with the opening score, a trademark rocket over rightfield for a home run. Simon ‘Big Si’ Joseph opened the pitching for the Dazzlers and kept it tight although his perfect game was ruined in the third innings. The lone Dazzler who did make it to Amsterdam, Tim ‘Magenta Muffins’ Jaffier livened things up with a grand slam as the Dazzlers opened up a comfortable lead heading into the middle innings. (I say comfortable, but those who were at the equivalent fixture last year would have remembered the Dazzlers giving up a 30-run lead...)

With the away team changing their line-up at the halfway point the Tecumsehs took advantage of some less sharp infielding to begin a recovery as the Dazzlers failed to close out some simple plays. However whereas in times gone by this might have precipitated a Dazzlers capitulation, Sicilian citrus-fruit pusher Rob ‘Don’ Tona applied his calming influence from the mound to hold the team together. He was assisted in this by what was comfortably the play of the game: Erin ‘Sony’ Ericson’s incredible bootlace catch, taken at a low stretch just millimetres from the ground as she steamed in from centrefield at full tilt. That is going to take some beating this season.

Ultimately the Dazzlers’ failure to gain a late insurance run did not cost them as the Tecumsehs left it too late, and in the fading light the game finished with the score Dazzlers 11 @ Tecumsehs 7.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010