Route to the Co-ed Nationals in 2015
Mon 26 Jan 2015
In an effort to make the BSF Co-ed Slowpitch National Championships a competition that teams around the country want to qualify for, the BSF wants to increase the number of teams taking part and improve the quality of the tournament.
There are four different routes to a place in the 2015 Co-ed Nationals, to be played on the weekend of 22-23 August at Farnham Park. These routes are detailed below.
2014 Nationals Winners (Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze)
These teams will receive an automatic place in the 2015 Co-ed Nationals as defending champions – except that last year's Silver winner will be required to compete at a competitive level rather than staying in the recreational half of the tournament.
To confirm a place, these teams will need to have a representative at the 2015 BSF AGM on Saturday 28 February in Watford (see details here).
2014 League or Division Winners
The 2014 winner of each division in every BSF-affiliated league is eligible to have a place at the appropriate level in the 2015 Co-ed Nationals. These teams will have been notified of their eligibility either directly by the BSF or by their League Chair or Committee. If a league has, say, three divisions, then the winner of each division can have a place in the Co-ed Nationals. Should the winning team not be able to take up its place, then it will be at the BSF’s discretion whether the second-placed team in the division is offered the place.
To confirm their place at Nationals, or to keep their option open to take up their place, these league and/or division winners will have to send a representative to the 2015 BSF AGM on Saturday 28 February.
2015 Tournament Teams
Any independent tournament team affiliated to the BSF and outside the National Softball League that would like a place in the 2015 Co-ed Nationals will need to indicate this by the time of the AGM by emailing BSF Tournaments Officer Fiona Thorley (email@example.com). Based on the number of teams wishing to utilise this route to Nationals, the BSF will determine the criteria to be met to obtain a place.
Independent tournament teams that have indicated their desire for a National place will need to be represented at the AGM.
The top eight teams in the National Softball League (NSL), as determined by NSL play in 2015, will qualify for the 2015 Premier Nationals, as has been the case in previous years.
This year, however, the Premier Nationals will be played as part of the Co-ed Nationals, along with all other grades of play, on 22-23 August at Farnham Park.
The idea of the Co-ed Nationals taking place with every level of competitive softball represented on one weekend, was a goal that I supported back in 2012 or 2013 when it was proposed by the BSF.
However, this didn’t happen for 2014 (for reasons such as clashing with European elite competition etc) and having played in those Nats last year without the NSL teams being involved I’d like to explain why I’ve changed my view on having them there this year.
Yes, it will be 8 fewer teams there by not having the Premier Nats at the same time, and more teams does tend to make for a slightly more lively and sociable tournament.
There will also not be the opportunity to see the best in our sport showcasing their skills either.
However last year, from the perspective of one of the ‘minnows’ (entered into the Silver/Bronze pool), despite ending up in the lower half of the competition, our team had some of the best softballing experiences we’ve had, as for once we got to play the majority of our games on the proper dirt diamonds and not just a final, or a semi if you’re really lucky, as happens at Diamond Series.
My concern is that if the ‘elite’ level rejoin the rest of us, then that will dilute the number of games the lower level teams get to play on the real diamonds, if any, and we just end up playing in a slightly smaller version of Diamond, with the big boys getting all their games on the best surfaces.
Now I know the NSL teams do pay more at Diamond for the privilege of playing on those pitches, but I’m sure our teams would be willing to pay the extra £1 per player per day (I understand it’s £20 more per team?), if not a fair bit more, to make use of these facilities. Facilities, may I add, that the softball community as a whole have contributed to, not just the 12 teams playing NSL, who financially are only contributing an extra £240 per tournament, and which in all honesty probably doesn’t go directly back to BSF anyway.
Please don’t think I’m knocking NSL, as I love watching the highest level games at Diamond, but the Nats last year was the one opportunity of the season where the little guys (and girls) got to play on the big stage, and this must surely be the differentiator that the BSF should be using to create interest in the Nationals, and to make it different to being just another tournament on the calendar.
They want it to be a tournament for teams to aspire to qualify for, well it will be if they let teams get a better softballing experience than they can get at any other competition, and that means playing softball on the proper pitches.
Having played in the co-ed Nats last season - where the NSL teams weren’t present- I think for the lower level teams having a joint Nats will be a backward step as they’ll get less game time on the proper diamonds.
Last year around 70% of our games were on the dirt diamonds but if the NSL teams are involved they’ll inevitably get priority or at least there’ll be 8 more teams to share those 3 pitches with, so won’t this just become a smaller version of Diamond?
I’m not a hater of the NSL, in fact I like watching the top teams play when I’m there, but the best part of the Nats for our team last year was getting some quality game time on those dirt diamonds, which just won’t be the case this year (unless BSF are going to stick the NSL teams over on the rugby pitches - go on I dare you to! Lol).
As a current NSL player I agree with above comments about separating the NSL and the Nationals
The NSL should have a championship event played by the top 8 teams as in previous years - the winners would be crowned National Softball League Champions and the top two be afforded the usual perks that title carries - entry into the euro-clubs championship.
The Nationals could then be a separate Open event that allows teams other than NSL teams to play on the dirt diamonds and be crowned National Open Champions..