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16 teams graced the home of UK softball at Farnham Park for the annual London Raiders tournament, this year held on Saturday 30 July. Marking the club’s 30th anniversary year, the weather held out with beautifully sunny skies all day (an anniversary gift, perhaps?!).

The one-day tournament is especially targeted for new and emerging players to gain some of

their first tournament experiences in a fun and friendly atmosphere - and based upon the smiles, scores and cheers at the end of the day, this target was well-achieved! Some players also got to have their first games on the famous dirt fields, an experience to remember indeed!

The day began with a round robin, splitting the teams into four divisions of four teams, offering each team three games to secure points. Scores aggregated at the end of the round robin ranked each team and placed them in their respective grades: Glitter Grade for 1st ranked teams, through Gold, Silver and to Bronze Grades for those ranked 4th.

Knock-outs within the grades were the final fixtures of the day and lead to the much-coveted trophies. But with games for the ‘losing’ teams too, everyone had five games throughout the day, giving plenty of opportunities for our new players to really hone their skills. Congratulations to Reading Blue Bolts who won the Glitter Grade (full Grade winners below).

As this is the Raiders, there is of course much more to the day than ‘just’ softball! As our 30th anniversary year, this year’s fancy dress theme was the ‘90s (the decade Raiders was founded). Teams took full advantage of the theme: players in tie-dye and neon colours filled the diamonds; costumes from classic ‘90s films also featured (Sister Act and Top Gun to name a few!); and some monsters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles even found their way to the pitches! Great work to everyone who dress for the occasion.

Individual MVPs were also chosen by opposing teams throughout the day and awarded to those with the most votes - congratulations to Ali and Steffan this year!

And finally we also awarded the Trish Crowley Spirit of Raiders Award to the player who best represented the fun, friendly and sportsmanship attitude of the day. This year the award was named in honour of former Raider Trish ‘Trash’ Crowley who sadly passed away earlier in the year and was awarded to Ali from Swamp Monsters - well done Ali!

Thank you to everyone who helped organise the day (particularly lead organiser, Kat!) and to all the players who took part with great enthusiasm and in the spirit of the day. As a club, we always look to foster new talent and are pleased to be able to continue to do so at our tournament. We look forward to all the teams joining us again next year!

Full results and prizes are as follows:

  • Glitter Grade Winners: Reading Blue Bolts

  • Glitter Grade Runners Up: Raiders 2: Bat in the Habit

  • Gold Grade Winners: Bristol BAM!

  • Gold Grade Runners Up: Bracknell Scorchers

  • Silver Grade Winners: Gladiators

  • Silver Grade Runners Up: Burderop Bombers

  • Bronze Grade Winners: Thames Valley (TV) Rattlesnakes

  • Bronze Grade Runners Up: Swamp Monsters

  • Team Fancy Dress Award: Raiders 2: Bat in the Habit

  • MVP: Ali (Swamp Monsters)

  • MVP: Steffan (London Raiders)

  • Trish Crowley Spirit of Raiders Award:

    • Winner: Ali (Swamp Monsters)

    • Honourable Mention: Derek Dyer (London Raiders)

    • Honourable Mention: Syks (TV Rattlesnakes)

    • Honourable Mention: Steve (Gladiators)

Photos: Jason Demay; various team members

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