The Milton Keynes outdoor league continues to expand with the Roundabout Rhinos overcoming the Herts Buzzards in the battle of the newbies.
Unfortunately the weather was poor as April showers descended on the two teams at Woughton Playing Fields. The Rhinos certainly came prepared, looking more like models for the new North Face 2017 waterproof collection. A full GORT-TEX outfit didn’t stop Leah Holmes getting on the Home run leaderboard as she showed her repaired wheels with two home runs early on as the Rhinos lurched into life.
This season is a very much a learning exercise for the Buzzards who are playing softball for the first time. A squad of over 20 new players is building up and for all new players – league matches are the best place for rookies to hone new skills. Ben Caron took responsibility to pitch the early innings, while Daniella Phillips showed great versatility in her catching, hitting and pitching the later innings. Both received MVP accolades for their efforts.
The Rhinos look set to launch a meaty challenge for the play offs. There were home runs for Leah Holmes x 2, GB star Jon Reynolds, Carl Billson x 2 and MVP Chloe Love – making the home run table look very competitive early on. The Rhinos ran out 31-4 winners and will be delighted by performances from rookie Kimberley Angell and Kate Jackson, who bravely battled on despite taking a few nasty blows to the shins and fingers, but bounced back to make a great catch behind the plate. MVP Eddie Verbeek also impressed in his first game as pitcher in some slippery conditions.
As usual there were plenty of fly balls to keep everyone busy. Umpire Hedley Bevan was momentarily as disorientated as a Northerner on the Milton Keynes grid system as he ran towards one pop up rather than getting out the way. Luckily the worst of the rain cleared and we had a great turnout for training despite arctic temperatures - this reporter made a swift exit at the end having lost all blood supply to his fingers and toes.
Next up it’s our first double header night of the season. The Towcester Tigers will be on the prowl to take on the Hornets, and the Northants Praetorians march down the M1 to take on the Willow Lakers in two exciting looking games.