It was party time for the Homerun Hornets and rest of the league players as the MK Diamonds and Towcester Tigers got together at the Three Locks Golf Club for an end-of-season knees up.
The Hornets were crowned winners of the first league title after winning the play off final over the Double D’s. The trophy and medals were on display all evening, with League Chairman & Hornets player Hedley Bevan even dressing in Hornet-coloured formal attire (once he’d squeezed into his waistcoat).
After the meal, it was the main event – the awards. Hedley gave a great speech thanking everyone who had made the event and the season happen: Social Secretary Lauren Ratcliffe for organising one hell of a party, Treasurer Robyn Hillyard who's task this year has grown massively with all the new players & activities. Coaches Chris Borah, Jon Reynolds, Sophie Shkurko, Leah Holmes & in particularly Jodie Bull who has not only done an amazing job as head coach but has also gone above & beyond to attend session, ensure a fair team draft & get the club kitted out in their new tournament kit. He also gave some great statistics on the season – right down to the number of pub trips and knee surgeries!
Lee Grafton (DDs) and Laura Simpson (Tigers) were named as Homerun King & Queen in their absence at the start of the presentations. Each of the remaining awards had four or five nominees with each having a short video nomination beforehand to explain why they had been chosen in the final shortlist.
Rookie of the Year saw part-time public announcer Jake Clarke (Lakers) pitted against James Hand (DDs), Chris Flynn (Hornets) and Dan Lovell (Lakers). Chris took the title to add an award win to his league winner’s medal. It’s all downhill from here Chris!
Most improved player of the year saw Sam Gallop (DDs), Hannah West (Tigers), Dan Pritchard (Lakers) and Paul Severn (Lakers) on the shortlist, with Paul winning mainly thanks to an enthusiastic video from Rachael Shkurko, which left her as red as a beetroot when it appeared on the big screen.
Club Member of the Year saw Jason Jenkins and Sam Gallop (DDs) on a joint nomination for their all-round friendliness to everyone. They were joined by Sophie Shkurko (DDs) for her amazing commitment despite injury to coaching, scoring and encouraging players. Paul Severn (Lakers) was nominated for turning up to the pub and writing bad jokes in match reports and Sam Gibson (Lakers) for being the most enthusiastic and most organised person on earth. Sherlock Holmes one of the league's many doggy mascots also managed to make it onto the shortlist – perhaps for relentless chasing of softballs? The award was won by Sam, who delivered the most emotional acceptance speech since Gwyneth Paltrow at the 1999 Oscars. Well done Sam – thoroughly deserved!
Finally, the big ones – the MVP titles. Towcester Tigers dominated the female nominations with Felicity West and Laura Thompson securing well deserved acclaim. However, they faced tough competition from Rachael Shkurko (DDs) and Robyn Hillyard (Hornets). However, it was the all round fielding, hitting and pitching which won the award for Laura – a definite top cat for the Tigers.
The male MVP was presented by Adam Bee who amusingly walked off with the trophy before announcing the winner. He wishes! Richie Murray’s fine work at shortstop for the Lakers and Martin Baxendell’s equally impressive third base play for the Tigers secured nominations, but the award was shared between Trevor Morley (Hornets) and Craig Holmes (DDs) who celebrated with a manly embrace.
Perhaps the most deserved award was for Leah Holmes, who despite her dodgy knee, has given so much time and effort to making the league such a resounding success. She looked delighted with her new bat and is sure to do some serious damage with it sooner rather than later!
We hope everyone had a great time and that all hangovers are well and truly cleared ready for the start of the indoor season!