Combined Co-ed Nationals coming up this weekend

Tue 18 Aug 2015

The British Softball Federation’s Co-ed Slowpitch National Championships, which this year will combine all five grades of play in one tournament event at Farnham Park, will take place this coming weekend, 22-23 August.

While the event may not be as large as the BSF had anticipated, 26 teams will be competing across the three premier fields at Farnham Park and four grass pitches.
 

A-Grade Nationals

Eight teams, all of whom qualified through National Softball League play this season, will contest the A-grade Premier Nationals.  The winner will be crowned as the National Champion for 2015 and will be offered a place in next year’s European Slowpitch Super Cup.

These teams are:

Chromies (defending National Champions)
Slammers
Pioneers
H2O
Blue Steel
Bristol Bees
Windsor Knights
Thunder. 

More details on how these teams qualified can be found here
 

Comp Nationals

Seven teams will play at Competitive level, which will break down into Platinum and Gold competitions on Sunday.  These teams are:

Cheeky Monkeys (Leeds)
Greensox (Manchester)
Nino Pravados (London)
Angels (Oxford)
Raiders Gold (London)
Sheriffs (East Midlands)
SPAM (London)
 

Rec Nationals

A total of 12 teams will play at Recreational level for the Silver and Bronze trophies, starting out in two groups of six teams each.  They are:
 

GROUP A
Blue Sox (Windsor)
Coyotes (Leeds)
Fuzzy Ducks (London)
Meercats (Manchester)
Misfits (East Midlands)
ADSL Rookies (London)
 

GROUP B
Tigers (East Midlands) (Defending Champions)
Base Invaders (London)
Falcons (Solent)
Sharks (Manchester)
Red Sox (Cardiff)
United Nations (East Midlands)
 

Finals

The tournament will come down to five finals, to be played at different times on Sunday.

The Platinum and Gold finals will take place (assuming no weather interruptions) at 3.30 pm.

The Premier Nationals, Silver and Bronze finals will start at 4.15 pm.

All Premier Nationals games will be played on two of the dedicated softball fields at Farnham Park, but all the other competitions will get some games on the third dedicated field, as well as the four grass pitches.
 

Numbers

The BSF was ideally looking at a 40-team Co-ed Nationals event, with eight teams competing in each of the five levels of play, so a total of 26 teams is only about two-thirds of that number.

According to BSF Tournaments Officer Liz Graham, around 20 teams that had qualified for places in the Comp or Rec Nationals by virtue of league position or tournament results have declined to take up their place this year.

One reason is the BSF’s decision to combine all grades of play on the same weekend, including the Premier Nationals, which means that players who play on NSL teams are not available this year to play for their league team or another independent team.  According to Liz Graham, this factor has prevented at least four teams from taking up a place, and may have particularly depressed the number of B-grade (Comp) teams.

Another factor may be that Farnham Park, despite the facilities it offers, is a long way to travel for some teams, especially those in Scotland.

Finally, it may be that the Co-ed Nationals still lack the prestige to be seen as the pinnacle event they should be.  Liz Graham said, “There are too many events on all over the country and they don't have the tight regulations Nationals have.  Compared to even five years ago, the number of tournaments has probably gone up four-fold at least. Where does it stop?”

As it took three years of discussion and debate to arrive at the point where all the different National Championships are being played together on the same weekend, the BSF will treat this year’s tournament as an experiment and will assess the views of players and teams after the event.
 

Amenities

One way to make the Co-ed Nationals a more compelling event may be to make it one of the best tournaments of the year in terms of amenities, and this is what the BSF plans to do over time.

Playing the tournament at Farnham Park does provide the best fields in the country, and the BSF plans to have expanded catering options at this year’s tournament, as well as an ample supply of portaloos!

Further upgrades will made to the event in 2016.

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Comments

18
Aug

Nei 11:45

As a committee member & captain of a relatively new team (approx. 1 year of playing) I am pretty surprised by Liz Graham’s (and by extension the BSF’s) comment of “There are too many events on all over the country…the number of tournaments has probably gone-up four-fold at least. Where does it stop?”

Surely this is exactly what you want, so much demand for tournaments and such high participant numbers that this number of tournaments is required?

Additionally whilst I understand stringent entry requirements, they will by their very nature impact on the number of teams who can/will enter.

I say this because we emailed directly asking how we can enter this tournament at rec level on the back of having won rec at Labor Day a week or so before. After nearly two weeks and some chasing we eventually received a pretty unhelpful reply. I have learnt that you need to have played in 4/7 tournaments…still don’t know which 7 they are though so idea whether we were actually eligible or not.

It may just be my annoyance at some of this article, but the fact the “Co-ed Nationals still lack the prestige to be seen as the pinnacle even they should be” is a reflection on the way it is run, structure, enjoyment level etc. and other tournaments are your competition, you don’t have a divine right to be viewed as the pinnacle just because it is at Farnham and has “Nationals” in the title.

Rant over. Good luck to anyone I know playing for any teams this weekend! smile

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