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Liverpool Liverbirds Debut at the Single-Sex Nationals

They say that 'A family that eats together, stays together'.

It was a dark wet Wednesday night and indoor winter training had taken its toll. The BBQ charcoal aroma wafted through the car park air and it was unanimous that the bats should be packed away and we were going for a Kebab! Food was shared, conversation was ripe and the announcement of Single Sex Nationals being held in Manchester silenced the table. It was clear to see the appetite was there and the ladies decided to enter.

Being a development league, the team we built consisted of well seasoned players as well as rookies who had picked up a bat for the first time during indoor training. After a little planning, we merged with a couple of our good friends from Thunder 2 and Hackers. June could not come quick enough.

Liverbirds' Saturday and Sunday teams

Day 1

Injuries sadly took our team down to ten but that was not going to stop us. The first game of the day got off to a flying start with Gina Amos starting the batting order with a HOME RUN! The first inning ended with Liver Birds batting 3 against strong contenders United Nations who couldn't quite get their bats going, holding them to 0. The sun was up with a raging temp of 26 but we kept our cool. United Nations took it up a notch scoring 7 runs in the second inning and holding us to 0 in innings 3 and 4. Taking the win 12-5.

paddling pool with drinks
Gina's ice pool

Next up we had the formidable Cardiff, our lovely friends who had recently taken the Liverpool Shield at our annual tournament. We knew this was going to be a tough game and it was. Cardiff hit incredibly well leaving us trailing behind with a whopping score of 33-6.

After some cold drinks from Gina's inspired ice pool we reset and headed out to the field against Reading Bluebirds. We held our own with some excellent plays and outfield catches from Estelle Speers and Grace Mills. It was clear we were well matched and the game could have gone either way for both teams. A HOME RUN from Avery Chong edged us forward but no new innings were called and the game was tied 11-11.

Our final game of the day brought us back to the start with a round robin against United Nations. We hit well with HOME RUNS from Bryony James and Fran Leyton giving us a healthy lead of 8-4. The 3rd inning saw us lose our way a touch and United Nations took the inning 6-0 leaving them ahead with an overall score of 8-10. The fourth inning came with Liver Birds scoring 4 changing the score to 12-10 but due to a timed game United Nations declared it and it rolled back to a final score of 8-10 a very narrow defeat.

It was only day 1 but it was clear to see that being part of an all female event showed what fantastic strength and skill women have in the sporting world and it was an honour to be a part of it.

Day 2

After a nights rest we regrouped with some new additions to both the outfield and infield. Our first game was round two against Cardiff who had left us for dust the previous day. However, we knew how they played and we stepped up a gear batting an inning of 13 with home runs from Meg Bankier and Grace Mills and solid scoring from Mel Byrne and Sophie Temple. No new innings were called and we were ready to take a win of 20-6. An outfield fly ball hurled to left centre Aly Jones, with Left fielder Meg Bankier going for the back up. As the ball dropped towards the glove a misjudgment of footing caused a collision between the two and Meg took to the floor. After a quick check over by softball friend Rhi Howden, Meg was walked off the diamond to a round of applause from Cardiff and all who were watching. Down to only 9 players Emma Miller hobbled on her bad knee to grab her boots and sub on. As she got to the plate to play catcher, the Blue decided we couldn't play it out eliminating our 13 runs and rolling back to a very tight score of 7-6 to us. We were delighted for our first win and it was nice to move up the table to 3rd place. - A very dramatic game indeed.

Cleared by the medics, Meg could play and we headed out against Reading Bluebirds for the second time. Another incredibly tight game looked like another draw as we met neck and neck at 7-7. An outfield catch from Right Centre Grace Mills and a flyball catch from Yolie Bendall on 2nd base looked promising but sadly it wasn't enough and we lost the tie battle to an extremely close score of 8-7.

The Semi Final Due to another Cardiff upset, the tables turned meaning our semi final was against newly ranked top of the table United Nations- could it be 3rd time lucky? The heat was getting to everyone and understandably Meg Bankier sat out due to her injuries. Emma Miller stepped up to help, hitting an excellent ground ball in to the outfield securing a place on first base and pushing Mel Byrne to 3rd. We dug deep and with some excellent pitching from Bryony James, superb takes from Sophie Temple on 1st base and Gemma Wallace on 3rd we edged ahead holding our own through innings 1 and 3. HOME RUNS from Bryony James, Aly Jones and Avery Chong saw us at a tied game of 7-7. Time was ticking and with United Nations being the home team we batted for the last time taking a lead of 2 runs making it 9-7. No new was called and as a roll back would declare a tie, we played the inning out and had to defend our marginal lead. Full of faith and high spirit we headed out, knowing a shut out would do it and see us to the final.

An excellent take in Left field from Aly Jones secured the first out. United Nations, unwavering, took to the plate hitting well scoring 1. They continued to hit and the bases were loaded. The score was now nail biting close at 8-9. We stood our ground knowing a double play would end it. The ball was struck to a quick diving Avery Chong on Short Stop. Ignoring the runner headed home, she took the out on 2 and aimed a chance throw to one... Could this be the end for United Nations? A stretched out arm from first base Sophie Temple indicated she was more than ready. The ball slipped at an angle and flew through the air. Waiting with bated breath and intense anticipation we watched as the ball went wide and in to the dead zone, resulting in an advance for the runner who was now on 3. The much needed run to end the game 10-9. It was a painful and narrow defeat but we were proud of how well we had performed. Although the score didn't go our way and our chance at a final was gone, we knew that this wasn't the end for Liverpool's Liver Birds but just the beginning. Thus Proving that what they say, is in fact true. We ate together and stayed together, we were no longer a team, we were a family!

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