New softball programme starts in Walton-on-Thames

Mon 19 Aug 2019

A new softball programme, Walton 49ers Softball, has been launched in Walton-on-Thames following the excitement and interest generated by the Walton Blue Plaque event on 7 July, commemorating the first recorded baseball game that was played in Ashley Park in Walton in 1749.

In a summer when the London Series gave baseball its highest-ever UK profile, the festival on 7 July in Walton, with the theme of “Baseball’s Coming Home”, included a demonstration baseball game featuring members of GB Baseball National Teams, a celebrity softball game, performances by local choirs and cheerleaders and a batting cage and speed gun for spectators to have a go at batting and throwing.


Softball programme

The new softball programme, which kicked off with a “come and play” session on Sunday 18 August in Ashley Park and will continue with a session run by a qualified coac h on Sunday 25 August from 11.00 am-12.30 pm, is the result of an exciting partnership between Walton-on-Thames Trading Association, Walton Cricket Club and BaseballSoftballUK.

The Walton 49ers softball programme is open to all males and females over 16 years of age and with any level of experience in the sport, and families are very much welcome to attend.  All equipment will be provided and further sessions are planned.

More information can be found on the Walton 49ers website: http://www.wotta.co.uk/walton-49ers.html.

There are also longer-term plans to develop more softball and baseball in Walton in partnership with Elmbridge Council’s Sports Development Team, including a potential hub for a women and girls programme, disabled baseball sessions and schools baseball from Spring 2020 onwards.


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BaseballSoftballUK Development Manager Patrick Knock said, "We're very excited to get the Walton 49ers programme off the ground and hopefully sustain a new team or club from it.  There was a great buzz and interest in the sport and its local roots at the Blue Plaque event and with this programme starting in the same year as the first MLB London Series, the timing is great."

Joanna Gordon from Walton on Thames Trading Association (WoTTA) is excited to bring the sport to Walton, initially in the form of softball sessions.  She said: “WoTTA is thrilled to have worked with BaseballSoftballUK to create the new Walton softball team, dubbed the Walton 49ers due to the world’s first-ever recorded game of baseball being played in Walton-on-Thames right back in 1749.

“Having recently unveiled a Blue Plaque to commemorate this unique sporting fact,” Joanna continued, “the new team will help keep that memory alive by hosting an annual match against a visiting team.  Going on the fantastic response we’ve had to our social media postings, we’re confident the team will be robust and begin to compete soon.  As word spreads, we’re hoping to get juniors involved as well.”

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