Second Lagerball Tournament is a success in Manchester

Wed 13 Sep 2017

Manchester Softball League’s Urmston Rippers hosted their second annual Lagerball Tournament on Sunday 10 September at the Urmston Sports Club on Moorside Road in Urmston.

Lagerball is a unique tournament, perfect for absolute rookies to get stuck in and play softball in a fun, light-hearted and jovial atmosphere.  Players signed up individually and were divided into four roughly equal teams based on their experience of the game.  Each team had a wide spectrum of players, from A-Grade NSL players to rookies who hadn’t picked up a glove before 10.00 am that day.

Team names, chosen by Rippers Chair Al Bruce, were based on 1980s TV presenters coupled with murder weapons. 

Anneka Rice’s Explosive Devices wore red, Terry Nutkin’s Acid-Filled Dustbins wore blue, Michaela Strachan’s Deadly Passions dressed in black and Bernard Cribbins’s Knife-Wielding Gibbons wore white.

The format was a round-robin, with two games played before lunch and one afterwards, followed by finals to finish the day.

Rippers’ players organised a barbeque, selling burgers and sausages in the lunch break to raise funds for the club, while drinks were available from an on-site bar at the Sports Club.

Origins

It was Al Bruce and his dedicated committee who came up with the idea of running a local tournament at the end of the season to give their players one last chance to play before the weather takes its inevitable turn for the worse in Manchester.

Individual rather than team registration gives players a chance to play with new sets of people and keeps the teams competitive.

Anneka Rice’s Explosive Devices went undefeated all day and won the final 21-6, mercying Terry Nutkin’s Acid-Filled Dustbins.

Michaela Strachan’s Deadly Passions took third place, beating Bernard Cribbins’s Knife-Wielding Gibbons 12-11 in a close playoff game.

Strength to strength

The Urmston Rippers have gone from strength to strength since forming in the summer of 2015 and entering two teams in the Manchester Indoor League that October.

Since then, they have been promoted from Division 4 to Division 3 in the Manchester Softball League in 2016 and formed a second team, Rippers Vipers, in 2017.

Rippers have entered three teams in the 2017 Autumn Indoor League, which is held locally to them in Trafford: the Chicken Dippers, Strippers and Tugboat Skippers.

The Urmston Rippers train at Urmston Sports Club and their weekly training schedule has helped them introduce new players into the squad. 

The team seems to have a knack for attracting new members and charming them into staying, perhaps because the focus in the team is always on having fun.

Rookie Amy Davies, who played for the first time at Lagerball said, “I’ve had a brilliant day.  The tournament was great fun and everyone was friendly and welcoming.  I’m hooked and can’t wait to play again!”

Amy will be joining the Rippers squad for the pending Indoor season.

BSUK North West Coach Linni Mitchell said, “I applaud all of the work Al Bruce does for his club, helped by his loyal sidekicks Dave and Ed.  The club is really moving forward and it’s great to see new players being welcomed.  Their effort and hard work is paying off and is shown by the club growing its numbers.”

BSUK North West Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said, “Urmston is becoming a real hub for softball, with the Rippers having players coming out of their ears!  We are looking into setting up a pre-season mini-league next March here in Urmston to jump on the success the Rippers have had with attracting local residents.  Watch out for more details closer to the time.”

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