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One-run loss for Redbacks

10:20 06 May 2014

Dennis Rodenbusch pitches for Essex Redbacks (pic: Darren Wainer)

Dennis Rodenbusch pitches for Essex Redbacks (pic: Darren Wainer)

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London Marauders 16 Essex Redbacks II 15

In another gripping encounter between the Redbacks and London Marauders, it was the team from the capital which came out on top by the closest of margins.

It was the second-string Redbacks’ opening game of the year, whereas the Marauders had already won their first two matches.

But the Billericay-based side came out all guns blazing as they raced to a 3-1 lead after the first two innings, with Arun Mandalia holding the London side at bay.

However, he ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning as London flexed their muscles to score seven times and power ahead.

Though the Marauders continued to extend their lead, the home fans wouldn’t get the easy win that they may have thought they were in store for.

In the fifth inning the Redbacks scored three times to reduce the deficit, but were still six behind.

Cue a six-run rally by the visitors as the Essex team pounded out hit after hit to tie things up, and although they conceded another in the bottom of the seventh, they were within a couple of runs of regaining the lead.

Dennis Rodenbusch replaced Mandalia on the mound, the first time the American had pitched competitively in nearly 30 years, and Tom Barnes replaced the overheating Mike Gunn behind the plate, after the catcher had also taken a knock to the head in proceedings.

With Rodenbusch limiting the Marauders and the batters coming to life, the Redbacks took a two-run lead into the bottom of the eighth and entering the final inning it was all square at 15-15 in what was turning into an absolute cracker at Finsbury Park.

But Redbacks were not able to capitalise on their great comeback.

To win the game the Essex side would need to keep the Marauders from scoring and have another go at scoring in extra innings.

With the bases loaded, the ball found its way to Mandalia, now at short stop, and a nasty hop prevented him from picking it up cleanly, allowing London to walk off with a well-fought win to deliver a heartbreaking last-ditch loss to the Redbacks.

Manager Neil Hall said: “It was an absolutely fantastic effort all round from our players in the face of such heat and adversity, with only 10 players available on the day.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way we played and thanks to the London Marauders for another really enjoyable, really exciting game.

“We lost by just a couple of runs in the reverse fixture last season, so we’re getting closer!

“We’ll pick ourselves up from this and we’ll be stronger for this weekend against the London Musketeers. Hopefully home advantage will give us that little bit of an edge that’ll push us over the line.”

Redbacks host London Musketeers at Forest Glade, Billericay on Sunday (12pm), while the first team visit Herts Eagles in Hemel Hempstead in the hope of picking up a couple of wins to move up the AAA South table.

*Training for senior players is from 6.30pm at Forest Glade, Billericay, on Wednesdays and from 6pm at Melbourne Park, Chelmsford, on Thursday evenings.

Junior training takes place from 6pm at Forest Glade, Billericay, on Wednesdays with games taking place throughout Saturdays in May prior to the new backstop being completed by the end of the month.

For more information about the Redbacks, the new facility or ways to get involved on or off the field, contact Sean Briscomb on:sean@essexredbacks.com or 07877 580474.

To keep up to date with the club news visit the website at: www.essexredbacks.com or interact on Twitter via the handle @essexredbacks.

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