Crosby Vikings secure bronze at National Championships
Sefton Softball League winners thrash Windsor Rattlesnakes to secure third place
It was a weekend to remember for the Crosby Vikings, as they became the Bronze winners from the annual British Softball Federation National Championships.
A 20-5 win over the Windsor Rattlesnakes secured some well deserved silverware for the Sefton team after they had recently retained their league title.
Despite a tough opening day, it was on the Sunday where the Vikings shone and that momentum carried on to the final match to guarantee a spot in next year’s event.
Vikings player Mike Lott believes that this achievement will elevate the popularity of the Sefton League.
“Winning at the Nationals will raise the profile of our league both locally and in the national softball community and will hopefully see more people coming to try out this fantastic sport,” said Lott.
“We already host the Sefton Shield, a hugely successful tournament on the last weekend in September that has won awards and is massively over-subscribed.
“It can only mean continued growth and the potential to attract sponsorship for the league alongside the amazing coverage we get from the local papers.”
After winning the league in 2015, the Vikings will be representing the Sefton League at the annual National Championships in Slough. It sees them compete with other league winners from around the country.
It also saw the Sefton League represented at this event for the first time, as the 2014 winners Southport Seagulls sadly were unable to attend in the previous year.
With many other teams including National League teams competing, it was quite a daunting moment as some of the squad had never played outside of the North West.
But with the team camping out with other hopeful sides, they were certainly getting a flavour of what was to come.
Heart-breaking defeats were the theme of the morning session on the Saturday, as they went down 14-11 to the London Base Invaders and 11-10 to the Bristol Scorgs had the team frustrated going into the afternoon.
Despite a 9-5 defeat to the Leeds Chokers at the beginning of the afternoon session, confidence remained high and they eventually showed it as they comfortably saw off the Bracknell Scorchers 13-5 to record their first win of the tournament.
The first day sadly ended with the Vikings heaviest defeat, as a much changed team went down 14-6 to the Windsor Rattlesnakes.
But with some impressive performances from today’s matches, most notably from their teenage members, there were a lot of positives to come from the first day’s events.
Captain Ray Bennett said: “It’s very hard to single out individual performances as our whole ethos is based on the team.
“Everyone contributed in every game, but if you pushed me I would have to mention our youngest players, Matthew Green (13), Charlotte Green (16) and Amy Power (16). They have showed great talent, attitude and commitment and are a pleasure to have on the team.”
Sunday began with a tight encounter against the Meerkats from the neighbouring Manchester League. It was another narrow defeat for Crosby, as the Meerkats came out 7-5 winners.
That result confirmed that the Vikings would compete for the bronze medal with one group game to spare.
A 15-6 loss to the East Midlands side United Nations meant the Vikings ended the group stages with one win, but with many sides, including the organisers, being impressed with their performances, no-one will be taking the Vikings lightly in the future.
It was the knock-out stages where the Vikings came out swinging.
A comfortable semi-final win over the Bristol Base Invaders set-up a re-match with the Rattlesnakes in the final, but with the Vikings not having their strongest line-up in their group game, the team from Windsor were certainly not prepared for what was to come.
A strong first couple of innings gave the Vikings a comfortable lead that they gradually increased throughout the rest of the match to secure a 15-run win that confirmed the Vikings as winners of the bronze and an granting them automatic entry into the 2017 event.
Bennett believed in his team right from the moment they were founded in 2014, adding: “We were a rookie team with most of the team not knowing what Softball was.
“After finishing runners-up in our first season, I knew the team could do a lot in the future. With us winning one year later, I knew we could go to nationals, play the way we do and achieve success down in Slough.”
The Sefton Softball League, as well as the Crosby Vikings, currently have sponsorship opportunities for local business that are interested in working with a progressive local mixed gender sport. For further details, please contact Mike Lott on 07553318488.
Despite the season being over, the Softball does not stop.
There will be free coaching sessions for anyone that wants to come down and try out the sport. Come to the Northern Cricket Club on Monday evenings at 6.30pm.
Don’t forget to check out the league website at www.seftonsoftball.com , like the Facebook page by typing in Sefton Softball and follow them on Twitter @SeftonSoftball.