On Sunday 25 May, the Redbacks Baseball & Softball second team recorded their first win of the 2014 season in the first game using the new permanent backstops constructed at the club's Melbourne Park ground in Chelmsford.
Making up the rearranged fixture against Old Timers from earlier in the season, Neil Hall's men ran out convincing winners behind the pitching of Dan Straw who threw all nine innings in another great performance on the mound.
With the bat, Tom Aubury led by example, scoring three times, while CJ Evans and Rob Yuille combined for seven runs on six hits as the top of the order did the business.
It was the Old Timers who struck first, though, as they scored twice in the first frame and kept the Redbacks off the diamond until the third inning. But after three runs in third, the hosts exploded for eight in the fourth inning, giving them an advantage that meant they never had to look back.
Five runs in the eighth was the final nail in the coffin for the Old Timers, who were within touching distance until then, and Straw closed out the Redbacks' first win of the season in their fourth game of the year.
In the previous three, the team had been no more than three runs behind, so this 10-run victory also gives them a positive run-difference.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Manager Neil Hall"]This was the performance we know we were due for the last few weeks. We were almost perfect in the field, and that has clearly made a difference in the outcome of the match. Dan was excellent again on the mound, with great support from the batters, and I believe that this can be the catalyst for us to go on and repeat our success more regularly in the coming months. It's the first time we've beaten the Old Timers, who were having a strong season, so I have faith that we'll be able to make further strides up the table as we become more consistent.[/quote]
The win coincided with the first game played at the club's new permanent backstop at Melbourne Park, made possible through funding from Chelmsford City Council. During the week, the club has also installed a permament backstop at their Forest Glade diamond in Billericay, near Barleylands Farm, with funding from the Basildon Council Communities Investment Fund.
Club Secretary Sean Briscomb, who was instrumental in putting together the applications for the funding as well as running many other aspects of the club, said: “This is the culmination of five years hard work on and off the field from so many of our volunteers. We have been able to deliver continued success across the club, and so we hope the new backstops will be the first step towards cementing the long-term future of baseball and softball here in Essex and East Anglia.
“The experience will be greatly enhanced for all those who come to play or watch our sports, and we'll be able to run many more programmes, especially with local youth groups or schools or softball with local companies, as we did with Wickes in July last year, where over 80 players and spectators took part in a softball tournament.”
Junior players, aged 16 and under, can take part in training using the club's top quality facilities at Forest Glade, Billericay, from 18:00 on Wednesday evenings. Senior players, aged 16 and over, can enjoy the Melbourne Park facility for adult training on Thursday nights from 18:00.
This Sunday, the Redbacks II travel to Richmond to take on the defending champions, Richmond Dukes. Proceedings will be made extra interesting, as Richmond, who are yet to win in 2014, are managed by former Redbacks star Karl Murray.
The first team are back in action after a couple of weeks away against AAA South newcomers Hove Tuesday. Hove won the AA South division convincingly in 2013, but have yet to register a win this season. The Redbacks could move clear of the field with five wins should they succeed in both games of their double-header, which start at 12:00 at Melbourne Park, Chelmsford, on Sunday 1 June. Entry is free.
To keep up to date with all the goings-on at the club, visit the website at: www.essexredbacks.com or interact on Twitter via the handle @essexredbacks.