BSF Executive Meeting Report: 7 March 2019

Mon 11 Mar 2019

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 7 March.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Bob Fromer (Administrator), Liz Graham (Competitions Officer), Fiona Kielthy (Competitions Organiser), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (General Officer). 

Single-Sex National Championships

Former BSF Executive member Fiona Kielthy has volunteered to organise the BSF’s Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals and Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals this year, and the meeting opened with discussion about the Single-Sex Nationals, to be played on 22-23 June in Birmingham.

It was decided that the BSF will fence four of the eight fields in use at the tournament this year, and the entry fee will rise slightly – to £280 – to help cover the costs associated with this, although the BSF is still likely to make a loss on the tournament unless entries exceed current expectations.

The Executive also considered an issue raised at the League Heads Forum in February: that the US military men’s team The Bombers is simply too strong for the domestic teams that enter the Men’s Comp division at the Single-Sex Nationals and this is discouraging some teams from entering.  The Executive has decided that The Bombers will not be allowed to enter the tournament this year.

While cognisant that some Bombers players may therefore end up on other teams in the tournament, the Executive will see how this pans out this year before deciding if any further regulation is necessary.

Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals

At the request of Competitions Director Liz Graham, the Executive has decided that entry to the Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals on 10-11 August at Farnham Park will be limited to 24 teams.  This is more than have entered the tournament in recent years, but it will allow the BSF to ensure that the tournament can be compact, using grass fields adjacent to the purpose-built diamonds.

Liz told the meeting that a number of teams that had qualified for the 2019 League Nationals by virtue of their 2018 league position did not send a representative to the AGM, which is a requirement to participate in this tournament.

AGM review

The Executive took a brief look back at the 2019 BSF AGM held on 23 February in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where the AGM session itself was augmented by the annual League Heads Forum meeting held that morning, a Skype presentation on concussion in softball and a session on planned development work delivered by BaseballSoftballUK CEO John Boyd.

The Executive will survey those who attended the AGM to get their views on whether the League Heads Forum should be made a permanent feature of the AGM Day and whether having some kind of educational session, like the one on concussion, was seen as valuable.

Club affiliation offer

The BSF is aware that multi-team clubs, as opposed to single teams, can often provide a more stable basis for sustaining and growing the sport, and the Executive would like to make it easier for clubs to enter composite club teams in tournaments without additional cost or red tape, and without the need to find a new name for such a team.

The BSF will use the 2019 Team Registration Form (which will go out shortly), and will contact League Heads, to identify clubs that existed last season, and will communicate to them about a club affiliation offer.

Criteria for sanctioned tournaments

There was some discussion at both the BASU and BSF AGMs in February about the need for the BSF to tighten and enforce criteria that tournament organisers need to meet in order for their tournament to be sanctioned by the BSF and included in the Events listing on the BSF website.

The purpose of this exercise is so that players can be assured that sanctioned tournaments will be both safe and enjoyable to play in, with at least basic facilities and amenities provided.

The Executive will review its current list of tournament criteria, communicate this to tournament organisers and monitor tournaments during the season to ensure they meet expectations.

Financial matters

The Executive approved the BSF accounts for the year ending 30 September 2018 as prepared by Chartered Accountants Barcant Beardon Ltd.

To help the BSF keep track of spending in the current year, Treasurer Laura Burkhardt will prepare a Budget v Actual update for the Executive every other month.

GB Management Committee and National Teams

Bob Fromer reported that the GB Management Committee has reached an agreement with BaseballSoftballUK to pay a flat fee of £500 in 2019, in return for which GB National Teams can train on the purpose-built pitches at Farnham Park at no direct cost to the teams.  Such training sessions are subject to a pitch being available, and any national team training there will be required to restore the field after the session.

Mike Jennings reported that there appears to be no action from the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as yet with regard to planning for a new Slowpitch World Championship/Cup competition that the WBSC has said it will introduce in 2020, played by full national teams composed of passport holders.  The ESF will continue to pressure the WBSC for news and action, as will Mike when he speaks to WBSC officials.

Registration for 2019

Liz Graham, who serves the BSF as Membership Officer in addition to her role as Competitions Officer, reported that team registration forms for the 2019 season are ready to go out.

Coaching initiatives

The BSF will promote BaseballSoftballUK’s new Slowpitch Academy initiative through a mailing to team captains.  Although the Slowpitch Academy will get underway with sessions in the London area in April and May, there are plans to roll out sessions around the country in future, probably starting in Bristol and Manchester.

Development grants

The Executive will shortly be revising the form that teams can use to apply for BSF Development Grants and will put a link to the form on the BSF website Home Page in an attempt to encourage more applications.

Insurance information

Information about BSF insurance for the 2019 season is currently available on the BaseballSoftballUK website, but Mike Jennings told the Executive that it takes a certain amount of effort to find it.  Mike will speak to BSUK Operations staff to see if the information can be made easier to access.

Use of BSF logo

The BSF has had a request from the Solent Softball League to put the BSF logo on uniforms worn by the league’s tournament teams, and the Executive was happy to grant this request.

Storage for the BSF at Farnham Park

The BSF stores a certain amount of equipment, primarily softballs, in one of the containers at Farnham Park, but has been keen to find a safer and more exclusive way to store its equipment on site. 

BaseballSoftballUK has now proposed a galvanised steel 8’x4’ fire-resistant storage unit that can be located inside one of the containers and locked separately, and the BSF has asked BSUK to proceed with this installation.

Visit by Canadian men’s slowpitch team

Softball Canada President Hugh Mitchener has written to the BSF to say that a high-level men’s slowpitch club team from Quebec will be coming to Europe in September and would like to play games or enter tournaments here.

Mike Jennings will ask for more information on proposed tour dates and the strength of the team.  Although there are no single-sex slowpitch tournaments in the UK at that time, the BSF will ask if the GB Men’s Slowpitch Team can play against the Canadians, and another couple of teams could perhaps be assembled for a small tournament.

In addition, Mike will see if there are opportunities for the Canadians to play in other European countries.

BaseballSoftballUK Board and Committees

A standing item at BSF conference call meetings is reports from meetings of the BaseballSoftballUK Board or Committees attended by members of the BSF Executive.

Jenny Fromer reported that the BSUK Board met on 5 March, and spent time discussing a new Strategic Review that is about to be carried out to inform the organisation’s future direction.  Accounts from the most recent quarter were approved, along with a budget. 

Next meeting

The BSF Executive’s next conference call meeting will be on Thursday 11 April 2019.

Anyone with items to raise at this meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer on:

Back to news listing


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

BSF development grants available, apply