We’d been told there was a chance of rain, but we had no idea how much we’d have to live with for the next 3 days…

When we took the field on Thursday, whilst warming up for our friendly match against Bucharest, we immediately noticed the conditions, which were far from perfect. The field was a swamp, and impossible to move around on with any type of speed whatsoever. We started out very cautiously, but soon began to be a bit more ambitious– a big mistake. Within 5 minutes our whole squad was dropping to the ground as if they’d been shot, and in a short space of time we all looked like human Malteasers. Nonetheless, we braved the conditions and played our friendly, which we lost 4-2. It was at this point that we thought we’d be seriously affected by the conditions during the tournament… And we couldn’t have been more right.

On day one, we still spent most of our time getting to grips with the muddy playing surface. We lost our first game against Prague, who went on to win the tournament. During this game, we had one inning where we were hit with a barrage of runs, and only one inning where we were actually able to produce any runs. The second game was scarily similar, with the same level of inconsistency that we experienced in the first game. We wrapped up day one knowing that we had to seriously step up our game.

On the second day, we lost a close game against Warsaw, 6-3. It had been by far our best performance of the tournament, and we were feeling positive. Our final game was against Bucharest, the hosts. We really wanted to demote the host team to last place in the final game (how great would that have been?). And, it was quite a game. Something happened with our defence that hadn’t happened all tournament. We were extremely consistent and gave up no runs. We even turned a double play in the first inning.. And a genuine double play, 6-4-3. That was what gave us the momentum going forward. In the top of the 7th, they managed to score a run to take a late lead. We had one chance to come back, but we took it very well. With runners on second and third, Stanley brought in one with a single, and I was being sent home for the winning run. But OF COURSE, I encounter a 40-foot long mudslide and fall on my way home. Those watching would have to wait just a little longer.

Surely enough, that came back to punish us. Because of course, they took the lead in extra innings, and of course we couldn’t come back again, and ended up losing the game.

That was a game that we fully deserved to win, but we lost. Just sums up our time in Bucharest.

We did at least come back with Sportsmanship Trophy, which was very IICS of us. In the end, we may not have played the best quality softball, but we were definitely the most entertaining team to watch, by far.

–Jacob