Chichester Falcons raise £500 for local charity

Sat 27 Apr 2013

Chichester Falcons Softball Club hosted the first annual Chichester Charity Softball Tournament on Sunday 14 April, raising £500 for the charity Children on the Edge.

Children on the Edge is a Chichester-based international children's charity which exists to “bring forgotten children from the edge to the centre”.  Where war, natural disaster, poverty and abuse rob children of the essential ingredients that make up a full childhood, Children on the Edge aims to give these things back.  From providing education to persecuted Rohingya refugee children in makeshift border camps to supporting vulnerable children enduring appalling slum conditions in Uganda, Children on the Edge focuses on making a difference to the lives of children who are overlooked, ignored and forgotten.

Four teams

With four teams competing, players at the all-day event at Chichester University enjoyed a day of softball, music, food and even sunshine.  Competing were The Flames, led by Ben Sawkins and representing West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service; Chichester College Crushers, headed by former Solent Softball League President Andy Burgess; Lakeside Lions from Hampshire, captained by Carl Simmonds; and Aldingbourne on the Edge, a composite charity team led by Matt Swanson and Ben Wilkes.

The day began with a short coaching session led by the Falcons’ legendary coach James Wheeler, who employed his unique, enthusiastic coaching style to get the rookie softballers – many of whom were trying out a mitt and throwing a softball for the very first time – up to speed. 

Practice drills were run before the games with the use of a couple of batting nets and the rules of the game were explained (especially the tagging-up rule) on a pitch diagram.  Scorers and base coaches were provided by the Falcons so the new players could focus just on playing and equipment was generously provided by in Manchester.

Play ball!

At 11.00 am the umpires emphatically yelled “Play Ball!” and the matches got under way.  Spectators and families were treated to a fantastic display of softball, played with good spirit and humour that epitomised the nature of the tournament.

Falcons' players were on hand to help the teams with the softball rule book and game techniques, but before long the players were confidently turning plays and hitting home runs like seasoned veterans.

At the lunch break, a selection of players swing the bat in a Home Run Derby to determine who could hit a softball the furthest.  Men and women competed separately, with Matt Cordy and Amanda Clay picking up the first prizes with impressive fly balls hit deep to left field.

Final positions

The matches continued throughout the afternoon and the final positions were decided by two playoff games.  The Flames and Aldingbourne on the Edge battled it out for third place, while the Lions and Crushers locked horns for the tournament title.

Lakeside Lions ultimately took the top spot with a 3-2 victory over the Crushers, with the Flames winning their tie 9-6 to finish third.


A raffle and presentations followed, where the UK Head of Children on the Edge, Ben Wilkes, gave his thanks to the teams and organisers for their support.  “It was a great day that has seen people from all walks of life come together to support a fantastic new community event,” Ben said.  “We really appreciate the support shown to Children on the Edge and we can't wait to get back out on the pitch next year!”

James Clarke from the Falcons announced that the tournament had raised £500 for Children on the Edge, prompting a huge cheer from the crowd of tired and happy softballers.  The money raised from the tournament will go straight to helping restore a full childhood for some of the world's most vulnerable children.

“This was a monumental day for our club, and we are delighted to have helped a good local charity by getting people outside playing softball together,” said Falcons captain David Morris.  “To look out on the field and see over 50 people learning the game, working as a team and having fun together made all the hard work and planning worthwhile.

“Our thanks go out to Simon Hasted from the University Sports Department for the use of the field and pavilion,” David continued, “and also to Andy Burgess from Chichester College for providing trophies and support, the Softball Shop for lending us all the equipment, BB Catering and Whipped & Baked for their awesome food and kind donations, Lewis Harding for the sound system and Falcons Emma, Ferret, Loops, Sparky, Harsha, Whelowski, Peachey, Chuck, Evil C, Chipper, Vicki, Marv, Cheets and Danielle for all their help on the day.  Softball was the winner today.”

And the Falcons may have gained further benefit from the event, as a few players from the new teams have already inquired about continuing to play and coming to Falcons training.

Anyone interested in trying softball and joining the Chichester Falcons should visit or email

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