Historic moment for baseball and softball in Essex

Fri 30 May 2014

Backstop viewDuring the third week of May, Redbacks Baseball & Softball completed the historic construction of not one but two permanent backstops at their baseball and softball diamonds in Billericay and Chelmsford. It marks the culmination of the first five years of hard work for the club to establish permanent facilities for the sports in Essex.

Club Chairman Vince Warner said: “These backstops are fantastic.  We’ve put in a lot of hard work on the field by delivering success, and this represents the hard work club members have put in beyond that.  These new backstops will enhance the playing experience of everyone who comes here, and will optimise safety for the children who play junior baseball at Forest Glade.

Training experience

On Wednesday 21 May, the Redbacks’ junior teams were able to enjoy the new backstops at Forest Glade for the first time at midweek training.  Around 20 of the club’s youngest players made use of the facility and enjoyed some top quality coaching under the guidance of Youth Officer and Redbacks’ first team star Rob Yuille.

Junior playersRob said: “This is a defining moment for the club.  In a single week we’ve gone from having to pack down all our equipment after practice and games to having two beacons for baseball and softball in East Anglia.  The backstops are excellent and already have got the kids even more excited about playing here.  I hope that we can build from this to attract more people of all ages to the club now that we have a year-round presence.”

On Thursday 22 May, the backstops and safety fencing at Melbourne Park were also completed.  The Chelmsford facility is the home of the Redbacks’ first team, who are currently leading the BBF’s AAA South Division, and the new facilities will significantly reduce the amount of time setting up and packing down after training and games.

It is also hoped that the Redbacks can capitalise on the new facility in Chelmsford by developing junior baseball in the city and adding to the club’s continuing softball development.
 

Outreach

Junior at batClub Secretary Sean Briscomb added: “We’ve run a number of outreach events and activities and worked closely with a number of schools, so this new facility will provide an outpost where we can now host tournaments and events more easily in a safe environment.  We’re excited about our softball development too, and we hope to be able to use both the Chelmsford and Billericay sites to enhance corporate events, like the one we ran with Wickes last year.”

Treasurer Richard Crabb, who provided much of the administrative support for the backstop developments, added: “We wouldn’t have been able to get these facilities in place without the continued support of our players, their families and of course the local Councils and Barleylands Farm and Forest Glade Football Club.

The backstops were mostly funded by grants from Chelmsford City Council and the Basildon Council Communities Investment Fund.  “We hope to also be able to provide revenue for further developments through sponsorship opportunities that will be available for game days and on our training and playing jerseys,” Richard Crabb added, “and we would be eager to hear how we can work with local businesses to enhance our links across the community.”

For information about how to sponsor the Redbacks, contact Richard at:  :richard.crabb@yahoo.co.uk.

The Redbacks’ junior teams (for players aged 16 or under) train on Wednesday evenings from 18:00-20:00 throughout the summer at Forest Glade, Billericay, while adult training takes place on Thursday evenings from 18:00-20:00 at Melbourne Park, Chelmsford.  Anyone interested in getting involved with the Redbacks, or who wants to find out more about the club’s outreach activities with local schools and youth community groups, should contact Club Secretary Sean Briscomb at: sean@essexredbacks.com.

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