Marlborough brings home shield
Marlborough saved their best until last, winning the Seddon Shield trophy off Nelson on the holders' home turf on Sunday.
The shield was decided on overall results over four age group matches and the premier men's clash. Heading into the last match, the senior men's battle, the scores were tied.
Marlborough made no race of it in the end, thrashing Nelson at Saxton Field 8-1 in a dominant display, spearheaded by Black Sox pitcher Kurt Schollum and consistent batting and fielding.
The day did not start so well for the Marlborough senior men's team. Despite being 4-0 up in their warmup opener against Nelson, they ended up losing 7-9, having nine players left on base during the clash not helping their cause.
The highlight of their batting was a home run grand slam by Marshall Rawiri bringing loaded bases home but it was generally sloppy stuff from Marlborough.
But come game two, the shield decider, there was only one team in it. Darren Aldridge started the action with a three-base hit in the first inning, but was left stranded on base. Schollum and Rawiri made hits to put Marlborough 2-0 ahead. Then in the third, Aldridge, Ryan Schollum and Kurt Schollum featured with hits to put Marlborough out to 3-0.
Nelson closed the gap by one but at the bottom of the fourth, Tyler Bird got a three-base hit, Tailah Love slap bunted, causing confusion in the Nelson infield resulting in both Bird and Love getting home on errors.
Aldridge and the Schollum brothers continued the batting blitz, the mercy rule invoked to put the hosts out of their softball misery.
Kurt Schollum produced an outstanding effort in hot and trying conditions, pitching throughout both the senior match and the under-19 clash which Marlborough also won 10-8.
It was a proud day for Marlborough's Barney Parnell being 21 years since he last played in a Seddon Shield clash.
Coach Steve Gill and his assistant, player-coach Aldridge, were pleased with their senior men's team performance.
"It was a good overall performance. The young players backed up well from the under-19 team. A great day for Marlborough softball," an elated Aldridge said.
In the under-19s' 10-8 win, Kurt Schollum gave up just four hits and forced a succession of three up three down plays. Tyler Love shone at second base in an overall sharp fielding effort following a sloppy start. Nick Kelly, Bird and Nick De Boo excelled despite having to back up in the senior team.
Marlborough lost their under-17 warmup match 2-11 but bounced back to win the one that counted 8-1.
Drew Roberts shone in the batting department and fielded well at second base, De Boo pitched a good game and Kelly was another standout.
Marlborough under-15 were beaten 9-12 in a close game, the side stranded at the finish with bases loaded. Rawiri Bird pitched well and impressed with the bat.
In the under-13 games, Marlborough were well beaten 0-18 and 0-24 by Nelson, but team manager Cheryl Dunick said her team was far from disgraced. Coached by Tony MacDonald, assisted by Nathan Gill, there were patches of good play but Nelson were just sharper all-round. Ethan Prattley, Declan Hartley and Campbell Gill put in spirited efforts.
The Marlborough senior men's team contests the annual South Island Jefferies Cup tournament in Christchurch on Saturday and Sunday.
- The Marlborough Express