BSUK Club Spotlight: Bristol Baseball Club

Mon 23 Oct 2017

2017 SWBL Champions the Bristol Badgers

By Luke Stott

In the latest edition of BSUKs Club Spotlight, Bristol Baseball Club, the 2017 SWBL Champions, tell us what makes a championship club both on, and off, the field.

“I have always liked baseball,” Richard Evans, Chairman of the Bristol Baseball club tells me. “My first real interest was in 1985, following the Royals/Cardinals World Series through the Herald Tribune. On a couple of trips, I went to Candlestick Park and the old Yankee stadium but a trip to New England in 2014, the Royals/Giants series and a tour of Fenway Park convinced me to seek out a local team. A trip to Google and an intro session in 2015 set me on my way.”

The club he helps run was founded in 2008 and entered the Bristol Badgers into AAA division of the BBF, playing their home games at a diamond built by its members. In 2009, the club set up its second team, the Bristol Bats, aimed at less experienced players and played its games as part of the South West Baseball League. The club’s first real success came when the Badgers won the BBF AAA south title in 2012. In 2013 both teams moved to the SWBL and have performed consistently well since then. 

Tom Hollies looks to do damage with the bat against the Exeter Spitfires

The club currently has about 55 playing and training adult members, ranging from 18 to 58, and three rosters: the Badgers, the Bats, and a training development roster. The separation of playing staff based on ability serves everyone well in a club that caters to beginners all the way through to the most experienced domestic players, some of whom with Great Britain credentials. 

One of the newest areas at the club is a youth section that will begin in 2018 and already boasts five U16 members.  Evans is also proud of the club’s policy of inclusivity.  “One the best things about our club,” Evans says, “is the diversity of nationalities.  We currently have Lithuanians, Swedes, Americans, South Africans, Welsh and English players.  We could do a very good GB v Rest of the World game.”

With so many members of the club, good governance has always been a priority and Bristol have met that challenge admirably with a ten-strong committee who cover everything you can imagine from coaching, team management, finance, press and media and the website to social events, field development and SWBL/BSUK liaison.

Up until this year, the club had been relatively nomadic in its existence, finding temporary homes all around Bristol, but as spring arrived the club finally found a permanent residence in the grounds of the leisure centre Somerdale Pavilion in Keynsham. The expansive facility, ringed on three sides by the river Avon and adjacent to Avon Valley Country Park, sparked a flurry of off-season recruitment; all eager to play on a ground, many say is the best in the southwest.

Ben Smith scores against the Taunton Muskets

With their ranks stocked full of talent, The Badgers won their first SWBL Championship in 2017, beating the Exeter Spitfires 9-3 at home in a final watched by over 100 spectators.

BSUK’s Head of Development, Chris Rawlings, has been on hand to assist the club with its continued development and the support has been gratefully received, “I think our relationship has moved forward this year,” Evans says. “Dialogue has improved through the coaching scheme, a desire to start a youth section and our first steps to achieving the Clubmark.”  Despite the successful year both on and off the field the club’s committee isn't finished yet and have ambitious plans for the future having agreed a five year development plan which includes increasing the club’s playing depth, a new 14-16 youth section and further development of the field at Somerdale.

It’s hard to imagine that the Bristol Baseball Club won’t have more success lying just around an Avon river bend…

Bristol Badgers and Bristol Bats team photo 2017
 

Back to news listing


Comments

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Related

Get in the Game

Sign-up with the BBF to PLAY BASEBALL

Sign-up with the BSF to PLAY SOFTBALL

Out of the Park Baseball 18 - banner
Advertise with us 468px
Follow Us
Sponsors