This was it. The most anticipated tournament of the season where only the coolest teams (except Dazzlers) can play and this year was set to be a classic. Not only were we staying in an amazing apartment in Newtown (thanks to Chris), Josie and Bola had arranged two great nights of comedy and to top it off we had two days of softball to play in perfect, sunny conditions. OK- that was a little bit of an exaggeration but the weather prediction had be kind to us with only one day of rain and the temperature expected to climb to a balmy 15 C on the second day.
The journey up:
With the exception of Paul who chose abandon his team mates and fly the Pirates were supposed to meet at 1.30 at King’s Cross. That proved easier said than done as our plan soon unravelled as no one could find Chris, who just happened to have all our tickets. Minutes ticked away and still no sign of anyone except Nads, Charlie, Whitney, Dave and Josie who had moved to the train platform in
panic preparation to pile onto the train. At precisely 1.55 Chris appeared, cool as a cucumber with the rest of the Pirates in tow as we set about trying to squeeze into coach D. Then the fun began as we stood squashed in the aisle waiting as Phil unceremoniously threw people out of our reserved seats. Let’s just say they didn’t look very happy though in contrast we were very pleased and set about improving everyone’s journey by cracking out the Prosecco, then the beers, then the cider and whatever else we could drink. How time flies when you’re all shouting, drinking, laughing, rubix cubing and in Bola’s case chatting up a girl aptly named ‘fingers’ on account of the fact she admitted that she likes getting fingered. Poor Charlie was sent packing off to another carriage as he used his young person’s railcard (such are the perils of dating a tomboy hey Nads) and we picked up Fiona en route who was sporting an impressive black eye.
Next stop- Edinburgh!
Wow. Clearly we had gone up in the world since last year as this place was soooo much better. No noisy gay bar or deep fried mars bar/kebab job underneath us- this time we were surrounded by pristine gardens and spectacular views. Having arrived a day earlier Paul greeted us and showed us around- there was a huge reception room (aka Paul’s bedroom), a well stocked kitchen, dining room (aka Paul’s bar), 3 toilets, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms and a loft room. We soon worked out the bed logistics -Chris/Josie and Charlie/Nads got the executive rooms, Fiona, Whitney, Marines and Lucy took the loft, leaving Dave, Alex, Phil and Bola sharing the other room and in the latter’s case- the big double bed.
Being a little more organised than last year Josie had ordered food in so we set about cooking about 8 pizzas for dinner while Paul and co got busy with the drinks. Pizzas demolished and it was time to check out the local bar as well as investigate the Base Invader’s crib. Most of the Pirates crawled back around 2am leaving Paul to check out a late night comedy show with Rocco and co, whilst Alex had to deal with his bed deflating during the night.
Softball- Day 1
For unknown reasons Phil was the early bird in the morning. His early start was a bonus for the rest of the Pirates as he set about preparing a bacon, eggs, toast and beans for anyone that was up early enough to eat. Yum yum, softball on a full stomach and only a mild hangover.
Game 1: Finsbury Dazzlers
This year the tournament had been kind to us with a leisurely 10.30 start against The Dazzlers. Quite why a team 2 divisions above us were doing in comp C instead of B was beyond us, though apparently they were meant to be in B grade. Yeah right as they banged out 4 home runs in the first game, earning them a hollow victory as we gave them ‘3 cheers for B grade!’. AARRRRR!
Game 2: The Honey Badgers
The next game saw us play the H-Badgers who had narrowly beaten the Base Invaders. These guys looked pretty decent but we managed to hold them to only two runs despite their best efforts to influence the blue. Bola didn’t quite see eye to eye with their third base who had words with him for swearing at them. ‘Where we come from we don’t swear’ were his words to which Bola replied something like- ‘where we come from we don’t cheat, so fuck off’. Clearly that riled them and gave us a push as we racked up 6 runs in the last innings whilst running the time down where upon the game reverted back to 3-2 and a well deserved victory for the Pirates.
Game 3: Base Invaders
Having already lost 3 games the Base Invaders were looking to us for the first victory. With the banter levels cranked up we set about putting some runs on the board whilst at the same time playing some tight defence. It was all going so well (6 runs up) until the heavens decided to open just as we took the field. Rather than postpone the game the blue insisted we took to the field during the monsoon which made it ever so slightly difficult to play, if not impossible to see through the rain let alone field. Eventually as the rain subsided we managed to get them out only for the sun to pop out as we came into bat. With the game on a knife edge they managed to bring in their run to win the game 9-8. Nooooooo!
Game 4: Lucky Strikes
With Dave as DH it was Chris’s turn to pitch to one of the best teams in our division. Whitney discovered that lightning could strike twice as the same umpire that dismissed Dave last year for his power balance managed to spot that Whitney had a dangerous piece of jewellery (a piece of string on her wrist!) on and duly dismissed her. What an arsehole, not that it affected the game as by that point in time we had more or less given up (except for Alex) after our soaking in the previous game and looking forward to a hot shower, food and a show. No hanging around in the clubhouse this year as taxis had been pre booked. Nice!
A quick shower followed by some more cocktails and we had shaken off our afternoon malaise and ready for some action. Being such a sophisticated bunch Nads and Alex had managed (somehow) to book us a grand table at the Scottish Malt Whisky Society. The Whisky connoisseurs were quick to hit the bar to find their label of choice (was it a 1561 Alex??) whereas the rest of us pawed through the menu for food. Most went for good old fish and chips, haggis (vegetarian for Josie) while Dave and Marines settled for the steak pie.
Dessert was firmly on the menu- a tasty bit of spotted dick but with time running out we had to say goodbye to our luxury surroundings and bomb it to get to see Mick Ferry in time. Just like last year the room was as hot as the sun but the hour passed quickly as as pour Mick started to drown in a pool of sweat.
At that point someone the group became separated and most headed back to the apartment Lucy, Alex and Dave ended up at another pub watching a free fringe show featuring Quint Montana. An hour later and everyone was back in the apartment before the hard core crew (Bola, Paul, Marines, Lucy, Alex and Phil) headed out again in search of more alcohol and comedy.
Softball: Day 2
With Phil sleeping off his hangover it was Dave’s turn to get the breakfast on, despite running out of bread, milk and bacon. Fortunately Alex and Nads volunteered to pick up supplies only to discover that Sainsburys didn’t open until 9am on Sunday. Luckily Tescos did so with coffee, tea and beans on toast in hand we set off to the pitches.
Game 5: Dohnuts
Despite a promising start and the fact that the sun was shining we were actually doing quite well in this game until a 3rd innings collapse saw them put on 9 runs in one innings. Up until that point it we had actually been leading and succeeded in shutting them out in all but that one innings. Blame our aching bodies and hangovers for that minor lapse!
Game 6: Demons
With Chris DH, Fiona got her moment to play short stop against the Demons. In another ridiculously tight game we traded runs with them right up until the final innings where they only needed to score 2 runs to win the game. Luckily we were on form for that innings as we managed to hold them to just 2 runs and lucky for us tie the game which meant a play off for the plate, where we got to play the Demons again.
Game 7: Demons (play off)
Another tight game with Chris pitching this time and Phil getting to try short stop. Almost immediately he made a great double play as we managed to pick up a decent lead against the Demons. At 6-2 it looked as if we had the game sewn up with only one innings left but they managed to pull back a couple of runs before Chris struck out the last batter and the team headed off for a beer at the clubhouse. Though we didn’t know it at the time, by virtue of the Base Invaders losing (again) to the Demons we had qualifies for the plate final, against out favourite team the Base Invaders. Wooooooo!
Game 8: Base Pirates vs Pimlico Inavders
With 7 games played we decided to mix things up a bit for the final game and pick some names out the hat for a Base Pirates vs Pimlico Invader final. Marines had her moment to shine as pitcher as all positions were mixed up (Chris on 1st!) but truth be told no one really cared about the result and just enjoyed the game and the subsequent team photos, the highlight being the entire Pirates team photo
bombing stealing the Base Invaders team photo.
No sooner had we arrived at the clubhouse then the rivalry was back on as we launched into a game of flip cup. Leading from the start it was down to Chris as anchor to finish off the Invaders with a single flip at the end. As if things couldn’t get much better we saw Blue Steel win the Grade A final with a great comeback and then, the highlight was to be called out as Comp C plate winners. The best part about it was that no one (except Bola) had an idea we had won anything let alone a crate of cider. It was going to a be a messy evening!
Another round of cabs and we were once again back in the apartment and racing against the clock to get out for the next show- Abandoman. A quick shower, change and portion of fish and chips later we were all heading out the door with the exception of Paul and Phil who ran out of time and decided to play beer pong together, before everyone returned and then headed out again for the softball party. Many shots later the Pirates crawled back to the apartment with Alex cementing his legendary Pirate status by heading back at 4am and then returning again for the last hour to party!
Edinbugh- we thank you for an awesome time!