Diaries from The Diamond: An Uphill Struggle
Primrose Hill is, as its name suggests, a hill.
Hills are not very flat, and therefore they are deceptively difficult to play softball on. Sure, the hitting the ball part is still fine. But, as anyone who’s ever played softball will tell you, it’s the pitching that’s key.
Tragically, our starting pitcher was at home, probably with his feet up flicking through a book of baby names, completely unaware of the fact that his beloved Chiefs were about to try to pitch up the side of Mount Everest.
So, which brave soul would fill JC’s huge shoes?
In the rushed pre-game try-outs, Marina looked promising (a low trajectory, as deadly as the Spanish Armada) but she threatened to crack under the immense pressure, so retreated to back-stop. George ‘Steady Arm’ Stolton was also accurate in pre-game practice – but faded into the outfield when the time came. Matt P had vowed never to pitch again after the Facebook Fiasco.
In the end there was only one man for the job, it was the turn of the dodgeball demon, the ping-pong prodigy, the one and only PJ.
Haider lost his first ever coin toss. A bad omen. We were put in to bat first.
Things quickly went from bad to worse. The Sonic fielders seemed to have on magnetic mitts, and every time we smacked it into the stratosphere it fell down straight into their hands. Gravity seemed against us. Our first innings ended with 0 points on the board.
Then it was our turn pitch. They had some big hitters, but even more dangerous was their phenomenal discipline. Shakespeare’s famous old question, ‘To swing or not to swing?’, was most often answered with a statuesque leave and a slow trot to first.
And in this vein the game became close. A painfully slow war of attrition with monstrously long innings that led to wide-spread hypothermia in the field and fast-fading light.
The game went on and on, and for the first time this season the Chiefs looked in real trouble. The rulebook was constantly out. Tempers bubbled up and a hint of unrest began to spread through the team. Ed took some phenomenal catches in the outfield, but all seemed to be lost. The Sonics started talking about playing for points difference. They had put in a couple of monster innings with the bat and they came back in only needing four runs to win.
Suddenly something changed. The pressure now off, the Chiefs galvanised and the Sonics crumbled. PJ’s pitching became devilishly accurate and before we knew it Matt P had got the final run out.
The Chiefs had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Disbelief turned to delirium and the modest sounds of our sportsmanlike celebrations spread softly through the dusky summer’s evening. The cool box was almost empty.
The Sonics had run us close, far too close for comfort, but in the end we’d come through.
The winning streak continues.