By Roger Grooms

Sunday March 3rd saw a day of outdoor university games take place ahead of the University Nationals, scheduled for the 16th & 17th of March. Outside of the BUCS format, two teams from Oxford Brookes, two from Nottingham University and one from Loughborough converged in Nottingham for a warm up competition.

Nottingham clinch the top spot

On a cold but bright day, with the sun making an appearance in the afternoon, Nottingham University 1st team came out victorious after a final inning rally from Oxford Brookes couldn’t catch up with a Nottingham team who scored in most innings. However, the real winner of the day is the sport of co-ed softball, being played by so many people from the younger demographics as we continue to make efforts to grow the game at this level.

As an extra special bonus for the day, GB Hall of Fame Player Steve Hazard, often regarded as the best player to ever play the game in this country, delivered a one hour coaching clinic to around 25 members of the various first team players. Having the opportunity to learn from one the UK’s finest players, was a nice reward for them, and hopefully inspires them in their future softball careers.

A positive future for university softball

Roger Grooms, the organiser of the day said “I’m passionate about growing the game and giving back to the community. I’ve been an advocate for 20 years for university softball as a brilliant feeder tool into our leagues around the country. I hope more and more universities will get involved and with more players like myself and Steve wanting to give back to the sport, this is such a good opportunity for them to listen and learn – something all of them took on board. I’d also like to express my thanks to Jennifer Edis, who has been coaching Oxford Brookes now for ten years. With her and her fellow coaches, she is more than doing her bit to help grow the sport in Oxford and we hope this is just the beginning.”

The University Nationals are taking place on the weekend of March 16/17th at The National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park and is free to anyone to come down and watch.