BSF Executive Meeting Report: 21 May 2018

Tue 22 May 2018

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Monday 21 May.  Below is a journalistic report on discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Stella Ackrell (Administrator), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK)


BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt reported that affiliation fees from leagues and independent teams were coming in and that the BSF had paid out money up front on behalf of various softball groups that was due to be repaid, so a full financial update would be presented to the Executive in June when things had settled down.

Laura will invoice the six different club teams playing in European Cups this year for half the entry fee; the BSF pays the other half, and this year is also covering the 100 euro organisers’ fee that is charged for ESF Cup tournaments.  The BSF pays the full entry fee to official ESF or WBSC tournaments for national teams.

While the BSF gave out seven development grants in the last financial year, totalling £1800 – which was less than budgeted – only one grant has been made so far this year and applications have been thin on the ground.  The Executive has decided to advertise the grants once again on the BSF website.

However, grants need to be requested for genuine development purposes.  The Executive turned down a grant application at the meeting which essentially amounted to a request to buy a new team an expensive bat.

The Executive also voted to provide some support for BASU umpire Bridget Cameron, who has been selected to umpire at the WBSC Women’s Women Championship in Japan this summer, and who will have to pay her own flight costs to do so.

This discussion raised a more general point about the support provided by BASU to British umpires who officiate at ESF and/or WBSC tournaments, and Jenny Fromer will write to BASU to ask for a discussion on this issue.


Liz Graham reported that all leagues have been reminded to get their fees in by the deadline of 31 May and she will be sending the same reminder to independent teams.

It appears that the Swindon Softball League has not affiliated to the BSF for some time, and as a result, their league page has been removed from the BSF website.  However, BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell has contacts in the Swindon League and will talk to them about the benefits of affiliation.

There appear to be some teams that do not affiliate to the BSF but who occasionally play in BSF-sanctioned tournaments, and this raises issues of insurance coverage.  Should tournament organisers be responsible for checking on this when teams sign up?

Another issue that intersects with questions of affiliation and insurance is when clubs form composite tournament squads with a unique team name made up of players from different teams that are part of the club.  Should these composite teams pay separate affiliation fees?  Are they covered by insurance?  At the moment, separate affiliation fees are required in these circumstances, and the fees then provide insurance coverage.  But the BSF will put an item on the agenda for its face-to-face meeting in October to discuss whether there could be different arrangements that recognise the value of clubs and make the finances easier for composite club teams.

National Championships and Tournaments

Liz Graham reported that seven Men’s Comp teams and six Men’s Rec teams will play in the BSF Single-Sex Co-ed Slowpitch National Championships in Birmingham on the weekend of 30 June-1 July, while 14 women’s teams have signed up for the competition.  However, 11 of these 14 are Rec teams, and the tournament will need to be formatted to take account of this.

Liz posed the question of whether the Single-Sex Nationals, which has been played in Birmingham for many years, may need to move to Farnham Park to attract more of the Southern-based Women’s Comp teams.

The Executive was also told that entry forms have now gone out to teams qualified to play in the BSF Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals, scheduled for the weekend of 11-12 August at Farnham Park.

One question posed to the BSF about this tournament by a team captain was whether the rule that only two NSL players are allowed on a team below Platinum grade at the League Nationals could be modified so that three NSL players are allowed on the squad but only two can be on the field at any one time.  The BSF decided that the rule will not be changed for this season, but the idea can be considered for next year and will be discussed at the Executive’s face-to-face meeting in the autumn.

Two tournament-related questions were brought to the BSF by playing members.

One was whether anything could be done to “landscape” the thick overgrowth behind the left-field fence on Pitch 4 at Farnham Park so that balls hit over the fence are easier to recover.  The BSF will raise this with BaseballSoftballUK.

A second question was about the rule on the score of a game reverting to the previous complete inning at tournaments if time runs out and the inning currently being played has not been finished.  Has the BSF said that NSL league games cannot revert and must be played to a conclusion?

Liz Graham told the Executive that the rule about games being played to a conclusion only applies at National Championships and not to NSL league play, whether at Diamonds or other tournaments.  However, BASU Representative Chris Moon said that umpires at NSL league games want to complete them if at all possible and generally use their game management skills to ensure this happens.

Webstreaming and video

The BSF Executive has decided, in principle, that games from the final day of the 2018 Premier Nationals will be webstreamed live from Farnham Park and will then be available on demand from BSUK TV.

However, in conjunction with BaseballSoftballUK, the BSF is still looking for quotes from production companies before choosing the company that will carry out the broadcast.

Earlier in the season, there will be live broadcasts from games at Farnham Park on the final day of the London Cup International Women’s Fastpitch Tournament on Sunday 8 July, featuring the GB Under-19s and three other national teams; and the GB v Ireland Slowpitch Challenge game that will be played late in the afternoon at the Windsor Invitation Tournament on Saturday 14 July.  Both of these broadcasts will be provided by EuroBaseball TV.

The BSF is also planning to commission a promotional video for slowpitch softball, and is currently drawing up a brief before inviting tenders.

Other items

  • The Executive approved a plan for website coverage of 11 international tournaments this year in which British national or club teams will be competing.  The coverage, which the BSF is funding, will involve dedicated reporters attending three tournaments, while other tournaments will be covered via webstreaming or by reports sent by participants or others attending the tournament.
  • General Officer Mike Jennings told the meeting that the bat-testing machine which was jointly purchased by the BSF and European Softball Federation will be in the UK through 11 June.  The machine was used at the first Diamond Series Tournament on 19-20 May to test the bats of players on the Chromies, Pioneers and H2O, who will be playing in this year’s European Slowpitch Super Cup, and players from the GB Slowpitch Men’s Team, who will be playing in the first European Men’s Slowpitch Championship in June.  GB Fastpitch players who want their bats tested will be able to do so at the remaining Great Britain Fastpitch League dates on 26 May and 2 June with notice.  The ESF will then have the machine in Europe for the rest of the summer to use at its various tournaments.
  • The BSF Executive has formed a subcommittee consisting of Jenny Fromer, Stella Ackrell and Liz Graham to draw up plans for renovating and improving the BSF website, and the subcommittee held its most recent meeting on Wednesday 23 May.

Next meeting

The next BSF Executive conference call meeting will be on the evening of Thursday 7 June.

Anyone with matters to raise at that meeting should contact BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell.  

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