GB Women off to Holland for ESF Super 6

Fri 7 Sep 2018

GB Women’s Team players and staff will convene in the Netherlands on Sunday 16 September to take part in the ESF’s brand-new Super 6 competition, a tournament for the top six-ranked softball and baseball countries in Europe.

The Super 6 softball and baseball tournaments will be played in parallel at one of the country’ best facilities at Hoofddorp, north of Amsterdam, from 18-22 September.

The Softball Super 6 tournament will carry ESF and WBSC ranking points, but its main significance is as a dress rehearsal for next year’s Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, which will be played in autumn 2019 and will feature the top six teams from next summer’s European Women’s Championship plus the top two countries in the African rankings.

The teams contesting the Super 6 softball tournament, in order of ranking from the 2017 European Women’s Championship, are the Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Russia and Greece.

As the GB Baseball Team is not currently ranked in the top six in Europe, they will not be in Hoofddorp, where the Super 6 baseball tournament will be contested by the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Small squad

Unfortunately, the timing of the Super 6 tournament, decided by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), has made it impossible for Great Britain – and perhaps some other countries – to get their full senior squads to the tournament.

This is because some players are unable to get released from work or college commitments at that time of year.  Many people in European softball would have preferred the Super 6 to have been played in July, before the Women’s World Championship, but the September timing was based around the needs of baseball.

The result for GB is that Head Coach Rachael Watkeys and her staff are taking a squad of only 12 players to the Netherlands, including only eight of the 17 players who took part in the recent Women’s World Championship in Japan.  However, five of the players on the squad are currently playing in top European leagues in the Netherlands or Italy.

Below are the players who will compete for Great Britain in the Super 6.  Those who played in Japan are marked with an asterix (*).

Emmilee Blowers*
Sydney Brown*
Hannah Edwards
Lauren Evans*
Carling Hare*
Amie Hutchison
Nerissa Myers*
Stephanie Pearce*
Aubrey Peterson*
Laura Thompson
Amy Wells
Chloë Wigington*

The staff for the team will be:

Head Coach:  Rachael Watkeys
Assistant Coaches:  Liz Knight and Johanna Malisani
Pitching Coach:  Tina Whitlock
Exercise Physiologist:  Kim Hannessen
Team Manager:  Simon Mortimer

Strategy

From one point of view, it may not be altogether a bad thing that the full GB Women’s squad from Japan can’t play in the Netherlands, as it will give the GB coaches the chance to evaluate other players who will want to press their case for inclusion in the squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifier.

There are suggestions that the Italians may send a squad containing a number of younger players to the Super 6 for the same purpose.

And of course the teams that will be in serious contention for an Olympic place when the Qualifier comes round – and GB expects to be among them – may not want to entirely tip their hand at this point to their main rivals.

Schedule

The teams involved in the Super 6 will play a full round robin, followed by a fifth place game, a bronze medal game and a gold medal game.

GB will open their tournament on Tuesday 18 September with a game against Greece at 3.30 pm Dutch time (2.30 pm in the UK).

GB will play Italy at 1.00 pm on Wednesday and will play two tough games on Thursday – against the Czech Republic at 1.00 pm and the Netherlands at 6.00 pm.

The round-robin will conclude for GB with a game against Russia at 1.00 pm local time on Friday 21 September.

Games from the Super 6 tournament are expected to be webstreamed, and available on www.baseballsoftball.tv.

For more information and to follow the schedule and results during the tournament, go to: http://competition.europeansoftball.org/2018/hoofddorp/schedule.php.

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