Friday- Day 1:
Arriving by car (Alice, Dave and Fiona), train (Chris, Bola, Shorty, Josie, Nads and Marines) as well as by plane for the time constricted/flush Pirates (Neil, Baldeep and Paul) will all hit Edinburgh at various times on the Friday. The drivers all met up early on the Royal Mile whilst the boozed up train Pirates arrived around 6.30. Luckily the apartment was relatively close to the train station so we literally bumped into each other at 7pm outside the nearby pub.
As the Pirate mob climbed the stairs to the top floor the owner looked decidedly worried about just what sort of people he had let his flat out to. That worry turned to fear when Chris introduced himself as the person that booked the apartment but really he had nothing to worry about as the place wasn’t exactly the Ritz and we would be hard pushed to wreck it.
The first challenge of the weekend was in fact a maths problem- how to fit 16 people into a 4 bedroom apartment? We had been told that it could fit 14 at a push but with extras Whitney and Natalia it was going to be a squeeze. In the end it was decided that the couples would get a double room each which left the girls (Nads, Marines, Whitney and Fiona) and the guys squeezing in 4 per room (Bola, Shorty, Gids and Paul). You could see this was going to be fun as Paul handed out ear plugs to the guys to drown out his snoring and poor Gids looked as if he was going to die at that precise moment. To add some further spice Neil and Baldeep were not due to arrive until around midnight- that was going to be the late night entertainment for the evening as their room was not quite as sophisticated as the others.
A quick change and we were ready for the town. Alice had done well to find a place that could take a table of 14 and it was bring your own beer which was another bonus and by 10pm we had some happy Pirates- full up on food and drink. A short walk across town and some of the sensible members of the team were heading for bed for midnight in preparation of the big day ahead. Neil and Baldeep arrived around 12.30 with Gids, camera in hand ready to catch the kodak moment when they walked into the apartment and saw their room.
Of course the partying Pirates (Marines, Bola, Chris and Paul) left the building to find the nearest gay bar to party, which, conveniently enough was right under the apartment. Not so convenient when you’re trying to sleep though as Dave discovered after only sleeping 3 hours. Other than the pumping noise from the street the apartment was relatively quiet aside from the the snoring from the guys room. Between Bola and Paul they had driven Gids almost insane through lack of sleep caused by some serious tractor snoring. How Shorty slept through it is nothing short of amazing but slowly but surely the Pirates started to raise from their beds.
Whilst Dave stole Paul’s place in the invisible queue for the men’s bathroom and subsequently prepared breakfast Neil surfaced from his room looking completely bemused. Clearly suffering from a lack of sleep due to a broken bed (they had to share a single bed for the night) Neil mistakenly found himself in the girl’s bathroom standing in the shower, stark bollock naked, with the door open. Alice screamed and was less than amused while poor Gids wandered around in a daze threatening to sleep in the girl’s room rather than spend another night with the guys. Any excuse to get in the girl’s room hey Gids?
Amazingly everyone actually managed to get out on time and into the taxis that Chris had carefully arranged. Even more amazing was that Nads was not puking and in fact most of the team were looking quite healthy as we unloaded the kit.
Saturday- Day 2:
And so Festiball began- precisely at 8am on a drizzly summer’s morning. Remind me why we play softball??
Game 1: Demons
As Neil was resting his aching arse muscle it was down to Gids to pitch the first game except it turns out he was nowhere to be seen as he had chosen that precise moment for his prestigious morning dump. That left Dave to pitch and after a few warms up we were good to go. Fortunately this team was perhaps the easiest of the day despite it being our first game and we managed to hold it together (just about) for the win. Fiona batted really well and Dave started off the home runs with a big hit over the outfield.
Game 2: Finsbury Dazzlers
This game wouldn’t be so easy as it was against the Finsbury Dazzlers who are 2 divisions above us and just beat the Fuzzy Ducks at Last Ball. Against the odds we led the game from the beginning until the last innings where so defensive errors cost us a number of runs. It was an encouraging performance give the early start. Paul, Alice, Shorty and Chris all put in a solid performace at bat. Still no sign of Gids though!
Game 3: MutantEars
Just as Gid’s reappeared he was off again as he had managed to lose his wallet. That left Dave to pitch again who struggled after the miserable git of a blue called him out for wearing a powerbalance (jewellery!). With 8 runs conceded Neil stepped in half way but also found the blue’s calls a little suspect and we conceded another 8 runs to go down around 16-5, not that we were counting. Thankfully lunch was next and the sun had actually come out a bit.
Game 4: Touring Tarts
By now fatigue was starting to set in after the early start but with Neil arriving with liquid lunch things got a whole lot better. This time we came out fighting (almost literally in the case of Shorty who was pushed straight of his base by their idiot pitcher). Unlike the previous two games we managed to string together some powerful hits especially from Alice and Marines who seemed to bounce back to life in this game. With tight fielding in the outfield and some amazing plays from Bola at third we managed to hold our lead throughout the game until the last innings where the Tarts picked up a number of runs. With the tarts just 2 runs behind but with 2 outs and bases loaded it was squeaky bum time but luckily Dave managed an overhead catch to give us the win.
Game 5: Marky’s Monkeys
Following the high of winning our previous game we took to the field with some new found confidence, albeit against a much higher ranked team. Once again we batted really well with Shorty picking up a home run and Josie making base through out the game. It was neck and neck for the first three innings while the outfield took catch after catch and Chris led the infield with tight defence. Just when it looked as if we could take the game there were a couple of walks followed by some massive hits from their frizzy haired South American player. He was clearly on a roll as in the last innings he more or less made every catch and play and we lost the game by only a handful of runs.
That left us on played 5, lost 3 and won 2 although only one game was a write off. Not bad at all!
After a quick beer most of us were back in the apartment and preparing for the evening out. Pizzas were ordered in with the exception of Dave who got to eat Natalia’s lovely venison stew and soon the drinks were flowing. A quick shower, room change for the boys (so Neil and Baldeep could move into the double) and we were heading out to the Fringe thanks to Josie and Baldeep who organised the tickets.
The first show was by Max and Ivan which featured a reunion sketch. At first no one knew what the hell was going on but the show started to pick up especially when a member of the audience was picked out to humiliate. Neil (sitting in the front row) was lucky to dodge that bullet as was Bola who sneaked out the back entrance during a song without getting caught but the highlight was the scene with the science teacher and student. Good stuff.
The second show, Bola personally guaranteed that if we didn’t like the show, then he would refund our money! Luckily for Bola he had seen the Doc Brown Unfamous show before so he knew that he was onto a winner. From the opening credits he rapped his way through the show switching between hood talk (I aint no snitch) to racism. Perhaps the best bit was the section – ‘everyone’s racist’ with the epic lines:
“How came every time an igloos built it’s white?- eskimos- racist!”, “Fuck the clouds- the whole sky is racist!”-check out the link for the whole rap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrK_HVGOnUo
Unusually for the Pirates there wasn’t much drinking after the shows- perhaps as everyone was absolutely knackered and half baked as the comedy hall was roasting. A quick drink and it was time to head back and attempt to get a good night’s sleep for the early start the next day.
Sunday- Day 3:
With almost a full night’s sleep everyone seemed to be up just a fraction earlier this morning. Once again coffees and tea were brewing and breakfast was in the pan. The early birds got the full English whereas the late comers (Paul) just had time for toast. Mind you the smart Pirates (Chris, Josie, Nads) had already bought their breakfast and lunch at Tescos around the corner. D’oh!
Game 1: Gregory’s Gorillas
Despite the sun coming out and actually feeling better than on the first day this proved to be our worst game of the tournament. With Neil arse resting again it was down to Gids to take to the mound until he was taken out with a fast ball to the ankle. Ouch! Chris took over but we could barely hit against this team. Chris scored the only run of the game (though was unlucky to have his home run called foul by the miserable powerbalance hating blue) and we went down something awful like 17-1.
Games 3: The Mutants
With Gids nursing his bruised ankle it was left to Neil to pitch out the game. We already knew that we had done enough to play for the Plate and subsequently lost this game as well. At least it wasn’t a bad as the previous game with some great fielding especially from Whitney and Fiona. Whitney’s arm was so good that we didn’t even need the cutoff for outfield plays and would even give Shorty and his arm of an angry God a run for his money. Paul also had a great game at first and both Chris and Dave batted well.
Game 3; Playoff vs The Tarts
After beating The Tarts yesterday they were all out for revenge. In a change of tactics Chris played as pitcher whilst Neil was DH and Gids and Dave were in the outfield. The game was as tight as a gnat’s chuff with the Pirates and the Tarts trading runs each innings. Clearly Chris was on a mission as he managed to hit 2 homers in the game and picking up RBIs galore with Fiona, Baldeep and Josie also having a great game. In the end it came down to a near mirror image to the day before, this time we had bases loaded and needed the home run. Sadly it was not to be but we ended the daily in the sun and on a high!
Of course no tournament would be complete without the after party! Whilst Alice/Rob and Dave/Nat had driven off early into the sunset it was left to the rest of the Pirates to party hard. There have been uncomfirmed rumours about Bola’s disappearance, Marine’s dancing and Paul’s drinking but of course whatever happens on tour…..stays on tour!