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Give the Giants a break

Gordon Wilmshurst lines up a big hit. The Giants stalwart will be looking for a big finish to the season. PHOTOS/FILE

Masterton’s Giants Softball Club certainly needs a change in fortunes.

Going by the happenings of the 2021-22 season, I doubt if there’s a club more hard done by in any sport anywhere.

Dreaded defaults, byes, and rained off games have resulted in Giants’ two premier men’s sides taking to the diamond a combined 13 times.

That’s seven games in anger for Giants Blue in a 17-week Intercity premier three competition, while Giants Red, who started the season in the Hutt Valley Presidents Grade, before stepping up to Intercity Premier Three Section B for the second half, played six games out a possible15 weeks. That’s right, less than 50 per cent of their seasons spent off the diamond.

The season pre-Christmas was hardly acceptable for Giants Blue, with only five games [all unbeaten] in the 10 weeks of softball played. There were also two wins by default, two byes, and a game rained off when the visiting team Tawa were travelling to Masterton, where it was hot and fine, only for the game to be canned because it was wet in Wellington.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the new year has been diabolical, starting with a win by default, for a second time, over Dodgers Black.

Giants Blue coach Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana. His team have played only seven games over the season.

Giants Blue did get game time in a 0-8 loss to Poneke-Kilbirnie, followed by two weekends of abandoned games because of atrocious weather, which impacted most summer sport.

Then there was a win over Kapiti, a bye, and another default win, although the latter is excusable with their opponents Dodgers Blue impacted heavily by covid-19.

If the Blues’ lack of game time is bad enough, Giants Red have hardly fared any better.

Starting their season in Hutt Valley presidents grade, and three weeks later than the Blues, the Reds had three outings for two wins and a loss, a bye, a rained-off game and two wins by default, including one from Hutt City United Presidents, who have not played Giants in Masterton for many years.

Promoted to Intercity for the second part of the season, Giants Red are unbeaten in three games in premier three Section B, without any defaults.

However, doubt surrounds the outcome of last weekend’s game with Dodgers White after Giants were advised by Intercity Softball that Dodgers White were defaulting, only for that to be incorrect.

No matter how one looks at it, it represents poor value for the affiliation fees, which club president Chris Feary said are from $1200 to $1500 for a senior team.

A major concern for the club are defaults, which have been a common occurrence going back many years.

The selfish attitude of some players from over the hill was aptly summed up in an email from a Hutt City United player after an article I wrote condemning his team’s continual refusal to travel over the hill to play Giants.

“Most teams and players just want to turn up 30 minutes before the game, play for hour and half [sic] and then go and have a beer,” he said.

“It is good that Giants are in the Hutt Valley comp which helps strengthens the numbers but it is called a Hutt Valley comp and if Giants want to participate then unfortunately they need to travel.”

I absolutely detest defaults, and in my opinion if a team enter a competition they commit to playing each and every game.

Obviously, thecovid-19 outbreak has had some impact, so that is understandable.

In all other instances, a default usually indicates a lack of team morale, poor organisation, or just plain laziness.

The Intercity default policy is weak, only requiring notification by Thursday night, so heavier sanctions might have fewer teams pulling out.

The shoddy treatment often shown to Giants needs to be tackled in the offseason, but in the meantime there are the finals.

Saturday’s opponents for the Blues and the Reds are still to be determined, but no matter who and where they play, and it would be fitting if it’s their beloved South Park.

Let’s hope Giants can finish the softball season on a high and with a smile on their faces.

If there’s one club that deserves the accolades, it’s the Giants.

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