The New Forest Knights succumbed to their first defeats of the season on Sunday after a long journey to Cornwall to face the Cornish Claycutters.

Scores of 17-3 and 18-3 didn’t reflect the heart shown by the Knights as the team took some good steps forward, with a number of players impressing Manager, Sam Williams.

After the four hour journey, the Knights got off to a quick start in game one. A drive to centre field by Williams scored Ben Coxhill and Lewis Kelly after Shaun Barrett recorded his first hit of the year to lead off the game.

Chris Stickland pitched his first complete game for the New Forest side, only allowing seven earned runs on the day after a number of defensive mix ups allowed the home side to pull clear. Through two games, Stickland’s accuracy and consistency has helped him establish himself as a key member of the Knights’ pitching staff ahead of a long summer of games.

Despite the score getting away from them, there was no sign of the away side giving up. Andy Swann picked up his first hit of the season and Coxhill recorded his first ever hit in the Knights’ green.

Game two saw Eddie Donald on the mound for the second time this season, as he pitched another complete two innings and continued his adjustment to his new position. As well as pitching well, Donald also stood out as the best Knight hitter in game two, picking up two knocks and showing his all round development.

There were a number of other firsts during the game, with Rozi Hathaway picked up her first hit of the season on an infield single, Ben Coxhill made his first pitching appearance in relief of Donald and Simon Schwarz collected his first hit for the team he helped to found in 2022.

Despite the efforts of the travelling team, the home side’s defensive ability and hitting prowess proved a difficult challenge for a team predominantly made up of rookies. However, Williams was positive after the game, highlighting the growth of individuals and the commitment of those who travelled to Cornwall for the game.

Next week sees the New Forest Thunder play their first game of the season away to Bracknell Inferno, as well as the Knights playing host to the Bournemouth Bears in an exciting local derby.


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