Bristol Brunels, the club’s development team, had a baptism of fire against two top quality Cardiff Merlins’ pitchers in their first full match in the South West and Wales Baseball League (SWWBL) fixture on Sunday.

Despite going down 14-4 and 22-0 in the double header at Somerdale Pavilion, the team had plenty to be proud of.

Three Brunels, Jo Sutcliffe, Declan Ryan and Michele Botta, took to the mound to pitch for the first time ever against a strong Merlins line up and there were good performances in the field and on the bases.

Shortstop Jon Exon put pressure on the Cardiff fielders all afternoon and scored from second base after stealing third in game one.

Starting pitcher Charlie Turner pitched well in the first game and made an excellent play from first base to throw the runner out at second base in game two.

Rookie outfielders Alex Lane-Kieltyka and Matt Barter both took a couple of steepling catches to make crucial outs.

“It was a tough afternoon, for such an inexperienced team, against two very good pitchers who threw around 70mph,” said Brunels player/manager Richard Evans. “Despite the odds, not one player gave less than their best and everyone contributed something positive to the team during the two games.”

Next Sunday the Brunels travel to Bournemouth to take on the Bears A team while the Bristol Bats take a trip to Cardiff to take on the Merlins.

Meanwhile, the Bristol Buccaneers welcome last year’s champions, the Taunton Muskets, to Somerdale Pavilion for a double header which starts at 12 noon.