GB Fastpitch Teams head for Canada Cup

Sun 30 Jun 2019

Sunday 30 June -- While the GB Women’s Team is battling for a place in the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier in the Czech Republic and Poland this week, three more GB female fastpitch teams will be assembling near Vancouver on the west coast of Canada to test their mettle at the Canada Cup.

The Canada Cup is one of the world’s biggest and best invitational softball tournaments, and features an International Division that regularly hosts some of the world’s top national teams, as well as Futures (Under-19) and Showcase (Under-16) Divisions for younger national, club and travel balls teams.

The GB programme is sending a team to each of these divisions this year, the largest contingent we have ever sent to the tournament.


GB Under-22 Women

The GB Under-22 Women’s Team, without an official ESF or WBSC competition this year, has entered the Canada Cup International Division, which will be played from 8-14 July, and will feature senior national women’s teams from Canada, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Pakistan and Korea, as well as the Canadian Junior National Team. 

Several younger players from the GB Women’s Team – Katie Burge, Beth Fleming, Aubrey Peterson and Alana Snow -- will fly to Canada as soon as the Women’s Europeans are over to reinforce the Under-22s, who will be Head Coached by Jo Malisani.  These players will fly back to Europe afterwards for the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier – assuming that the GB Women have claimed a place in the tournament.

The team won’t play its first game until Tuesday 9 July, to allow for the players flying in from Europe, but will face a baptism of fire with a game against the Canadian Senior National Team on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a game against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday morning.

Other opening round opponents with include TC Colorado, the New Zealand Major Sox, the Canadian Junior National Team and Canadian Team Calahoo Erins.


GB Under-18 Women

Head Coach Robbie Robison will take the GB Under-18 Women’s Team, also without an ESF or WBSC tournament this year, to the Futures Gold Division in Canada, where they will face a host of strong club and travel ball teams from the United States and Canada from 8-14 July. 

The Under-18s, who will be transitioning from an Under-19 to an Under-18 programme over the next year in line with changes to ESF age groups, will be reinforced by GB Women’s Team pitcher Hannah Edwards, who will do the trek from Europe to Canada and back again.

The GB Under-19s will open against the TriCity Titans 02 on Monday 8 July, and other group opponents will be GA Power DeMarini Gold, WA Acers Under-18 Gold, San Diego Renegades and the Saskatoon Import Auto Selects.


GB Under-16 Women

The first GB Team to take to the field in Canada will be the GB Under-16s, also with Jo Malisani as Head Coach.  Their purpose in Canada is to prepare for the European Under-16 Championship starting at the end of July in Croatia, and the Under-16s will play in the Showcase Select Division at the Canada Cup from 5-8 July against American and Canadian club and travel ball teams.  Once this tournament is over, a number of the Under-16 players will join the GB Under-19s in the Canada Cup Futures Gold Tournament.

The GB Under-16s will open with two games on Friday 5 July against Delta Invaders 03B and Cloverdale Fury 04, and will play further group games against SSWR Thunder 03B and Eastside Rough Riders.


Effort

It has taken a great deal of effort to send three GB Teams to Canada, and the families of the GB players involved are supporting the bulk of the costs, with a number of players competing in two or even three tournaments for Great Britain over the course of the summer. 

Unfortunately, some players have had to withdraw from these teams for financial reasons, which is one of the handicaps under which the GB Softball programme operates.

But if the GB female fastpitch programme is to continue to progress and to develop players for the Senior Women’s Team, then we need our younger teams playing every year in challenging competitions.  For those teams without an ESF or WBSC tournament this year, the Canada Cup will be a more than adequate replacement, and for the GB Under-16s, the Canada Cup will provide excellent preparation for their European Championship.

Reports on the three GB Teams in Canada will appear on the BSF website during the tournament.

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