August rounders social: match analysis

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Venue: Victoria Park

Attendance: Several

Result: Team 1 beats Team 2 by 10 rounders to 9.5

The life of a start up is a series of milestones. The first sale. The first office. The first fundraise. The second fundraise. The fourth office. The first overseas office (in NYC: we’re hiring!). From this heady list, can now cross-off the first annual intracompany rounders match, which took place on a hot August evening in Victoria Park.

Martha Lambert (left) assesses the pitch

Martha Lambert (left) assesses the pitch.

Twenty employees gathered and arranged themselves into two teams. At this point, a rush of creativity overcame everybody, and the teams decided to call themselves ‘Team 1’ **and ‘Team 2’. Jack Cook (data) captained Team 1. Ed Dean (data), Team 2. Their appointment made a great deal of sense to all involved; teams at are, of course, used to being led by data.

Team 1:

  1. Jack Cook (Data) (c)
  2. Rhys Pedrick (Sales)
  3. Rory Bain (Engineering)
  4. Dani Unsworth (Talent)
  5. Charlie Kingston (Business Operations)
  6. Martha Lambert (Engineering)
  7. Danny Martinez (Growth)
  8. Connie Mills (Customer Success)
  9. Pete Hamilton (Founder)

Team 2:

  1. Ed Dean (Data) (c)
  2. Andy Provan (Engineering)
  3. Lucy Jennings (Customer Success)
  4. Isaac Seymour (Engineering)
  5. Charlie Barette (Operations)
  6. Lisa Karlin Curtis (Engineering)
  7. James Shedden (Design)
  8. Sam Starling (Engineering)
  9. Alicia Collymore (Engineering)

Team 2 began the game in the field, with Lucy Jennings (customer success) opening the bowling. Jack Cook (data) was first at the plate. He feathered the opening ball between two fielders and ran to third base. And we were off.

Rhys Pedrick (sales) then picked up the bat. Rhys is 6 foot 5 and all levers and pistons, like a Victorian steam engine. He cracked his first ball high into the air, and into the cupped hands of a fielder. The fielding team cheered. Rhys’s own team then began to cheer, realising that Rhys might turn this moment into an inspiring post on Linkedin - ‘how rounders failure improved my demos’ perhaps (connect with Rhys on LinkedIn).

Team 2 failed to follow up on this early breakthrough, with Team 1’s batters scoring well and refusing to get out. Take Rory Bain (engineering) for instance, who hooked the ball into a gap and hurtled around the bases for the day’s first rounder. In only his second week at the company, he was demonstrating a quickness and a nous that’ll serve him well in an engineering team that ships often and ships fast.

Even when Team 1 made mistakes, they didn’t end in outs. Dani Unsworth (talent) missed the ball twice, before sticking a desperate bat in front of her final ball, prodding it, and running to first. Dani was then followed round the bases by the rest of her team, who hit strong shots one after the other: Charlie Kingston (business operations), followed by Martha Lambert (engineering), followed by Danny Martinez (growth), followed by Connie Mills (customer success), followed by a rounder from Jack Cook (data), and another rounder from Rory Bain (engineering). It started to look like a parade for Team 1; they processed from base to base, throwing winning waves to the assembled crowds.

In truth, Team 2 never quite got the ball humming. The bowler, Lucy, said that the ball wasn’t moving in the dry air, but there were grumbles from her teammates that she was holding back, restraining a killer instinct that she had claimed to have in one of her interviews. This latter theory had something to it. A few days after the match, Lucy was overheard saying “I tried not to be too competitive - it was only my first week”.

Like most parades, however, Team 1’s got a bit worse as time wore on. Dani Unsworth (talent) got out. Connie Mills (customer success) was sadly caught out, despite her attempts to bribe the bowler (worth a go). And the innings came to a halt with Team 1 having scored 10 rounders.

After some half-time oranges and craft beer, the teams were back on the field. Ten the score to beat.

Rhys Pedrick (sales) opened the bowling to Andy Provan (engineering), who dabbed the ball straight to a fielder - caught! A golden duck for Andy, and a measure of redemption for Rhys (his LinkedIn post was writing itself).

This early out riled everybody up. A lot of shouting and whooping followed. And in all this excitement, the ball went missing. Megan Batterbury (talent) first noticed its absence and declared an /incident (NB /incidents aren’t just for engineers). The chaos stopped, and the teams followed the appropriate workflow for finding lost balls. After a few minutes, Charlie Kingston (business operations) saw it lying behind a fence. This was no bother for Charlie, a man with an untiring love for operational problem solving: he scaled the fence - dropping down onto the grass with a lovely forward roll - and fetched the ball. Game on.

Moments before the forward roll

Moments before the forward roll.

When play resumed, Lucy Jennings (customer success) took the initiative for Team 2 and scored a rounder. Isaac Seymour (engineering) then handed the initiative back by running himself out.

Things hung in the balance when Lisa Karlin Curtis (engineering) stepped up to bat. Earlier this year, Lisa gave a speech at the LeadDev conference about ‘using incidents to level-up your teams’. Everyone agreed that she had knocked it out of the park. But could she do the same on a rounders pitch? Well, Rhys sent a cutter down the pitch and Lisa struck the ball hard, pulling it deep. She had knocked the ball all right, but Victoria Park is a big park. Danny Martinez (growth) gave chase, diving at the ball before it hit the road. The park boundary remained untroubled and Lisa only reached fourth base.

Data fields: Jack Cook stops a shot

Data fields: Jack Cook stops a shot.

It was an innings of nearlys for Team 2. Lisa had nearly cleared the boundary. Charlie Barette (office manager) had a series of second bases. Ed Dean (data) struck it long and high but only reached third. This was a surprise to everyone; Ed had recently come back from a holiday to Mallorca where he’d walked the length of the island, and yet he couldn’t manage the fifteen metres between third and home. Where were the rounders, Team 2?

And so it was that Team 2 lost. They nearly won, ending their innings with 9.5 rounders to Team 1’s 10. But at least - after a wonderful evening - both sides could go home with something: Team 2 with their near victory, and Team 1 with their real victory.*

If you’d like to play in next year’s match, we’re hiring.

*Team 2, upset at having lost, persuaded Team 1 to play another innings. Team 2 won that one. The validity of that innings is contested, but Pete Hamilton did hit a rounder, a founder’s rounder.

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