Caunton Victoria Baseball Club, normally known as Caunton Victoria or simply Caunton, is a professional baseball club located in Caunton, Deuxshire, Ianoia. The club was a founding member of the Nationwide Baseball Alliance in 1900, and was still part of the league when it rebranded as the Nationwide League, which formed the second tier of professional baseball in Ianoia in 1915. They are affectionately known as the “Highwaymen”, due to the city forming as a notable rest stop for travelers.
Caunton Victoria was formed on October 1st, 1898, as Queen Victoria Sports, by a group of friends looking to play baseball, due to the immense popularity of the sport in Ianoia at the time. Caunton joined the Ianoian Baseball Association a few days later. The clubs first recorded game was on the 14th of January 1899, defeating Dymchurch Nine, 5-3 at home.
After failing to gain entry into the I-League midway through 1899, the club renamed themselves to Caunton Victoria and joined the Nationwide Baseball Alliance (NBA). The Highwaymen played their first competitive game on Friday 6th of April 1900, losing 4-0 to Red Flag. Two days later, they won their first game, 6-3, and won their first home game 6 days later in a 6-4 victory over Strelda. In their inaugural season, the club finished second-last with a 21-33 record.
On 22nd of January 1901, Queen Victoria passed away and two weeks later the club renamed themselves Caunton Edward, in honor of King Edward who ascended to the throne. The name change was opposed by fans of the club, and following two years of below-average performances and poor attendances, the club reverted back to the Caunton Victoria name in time for the 1903 season. The following campaign proved to be Caunton’s best since joining the NBA, finishing as runners-up to Souldrop, one game back, despite never holding top spot all year.
After four straight years of fluctuating around mid-table, the Highwaymen finished as runners-up once more in 1908, spending June and July trading places with Brinkburn Coastal and Ince Ironworks before a dip in form saw them drop to 4th in August, recovering with a string of good results in September. Caunton backed-up their strong showing with third place the following season, before winning their first ever league title in 1910 by moving into top spot on the final weekend, having spent much of the year hovering between 3rd and 5th.
It was to be Caunton’s only title prior to the merger between the Nationwide Baseball Alliance and I-League in 1915, with the Highwaymen finishing third in 1911 before a string of injuries hindered the club the following year, seeing them sink to 11th. The club rebounded in 1913 to achieve a third runners-up placing before slumping back to 9th in the final year before the Ianoian baseball pyramid came into existence.
Located on a former unused block of land in the eastern part of Caunton, Rothbury Field is the home ground of Caunton Victoria, a stadium the club has played at since it was formed. With Leicester Road and Crawford Lane extending from home plate to the left and right foul poles respectively, Rothbury Field – sometimes known as Leicester Road – originally backed onto back gardens of row housing beyond the outfield, which were eventually knocked down and converted into grandstands in the 1930s.
Due to the square plot of land, center field extends 462 feet from home plate, whilst both foul poles sit fairly deep, making this a pitcher-friendly ballpark. 11 foot high walls surround the expansive outfield which sees a substantial reduction in home runs as a result. Because of this, speedy baserunning is crucial and triples happen here roughly 30% higher than league averages.