Nottingham Arrows retain National University Softball Championship

Wed 14 Mar 2018

By Luke Stott

With staff and players alike battling the after-effects of unusually inclement weather at Farnham Park on the weekend of 10-11 March, the University of Nottingham Arrows successfully retained their National University Softball Championship (NUSC) title.

With only Field 1 being fully operational for the tournament after heavy rain, temporary diamonds were set up in the outfields of the remaining pitches to ensure the tournament could proceed as planned.

However, this resulted in slightly shorter-than-regulation fences, and home runs arced their way over the backstops all weekend, with Mexican shortstop Rommel Uriarte from the University of York proving the most consistent purveyor of fireworks.


After an initial group stage played out over Day 1, the top eight teams were separated into two further groups on Day 2, with the winners of these groups contesting the NUSC final.

The bottom six teams after Day 1 were similarly split into two groups of three, with each team playing their opposite number in the opposing group to determine their final position.

Much of Day 2's play went with the form book and highlighted the dominance of the two powerhouses of British University Softball this season: the Arrows and the Portsmouth Shafters.

The Final

The meeting of Nottingham and Portsmouth in the final had an element of predestination and more than a little bit of history, Nottingham having defeated Portsmouth in the final of the Autumn 2017 edition of this Championship.

The rematch began with Portsmouth rushing to an early 3-0 lead, only for Nottingham to reply with an offensive explosion of their own, making it 5-3 to the Midlanders after the first inning.

After the early offence, defences from both sides clicked into gear.  Both teams turned slick 6-4-3 double plays and there was a rare 4-3-10 twin killing turned by Nottingham that nullified a two-on, none-out scenario in front of the Shafters' best hitter.

Errors were rare and 1-2-3 innings common as the game progressed under leaden skies.  Every time Portsmouth narrowed the gap Nottingham would reply in kind, and going into the top of the seventh inning the score was finely balanced at 9-7 to Nottingham -- but with Portsmouth's extremely experienced trio of 2-3-4 hitters due up.

Grounders to Arrows third baseman Robbie Studholme accounted for two of the outs required before a grounder to pitcher Matt Tomlin allowed the 2017 NSL MVP the easiest of tosses to Nottingham Club President Kate Winfield at first base to secure the Arrows' second national title and third tournament win of the 2017/18 season. 

Arrows Captain Alec Newton said after the final: "I am immensely proud of the club this year.  We knew sides would have improved since October so to be able to retain the Championship was a fantastic achievement.  This goes a long way to eradicate the scars from losing in the [Spring 2017] final last year and with a new young squad coming through to replace those graduating we are excited by the prospects for the future!"

And there was yet more success for the University of Nottingham club as their second team, the Archers, came through the consolation groups and a tough final game against the University of Kent to finish ninth overall.  Oxford Brookes outlasted the Loughborough second team to claim 11th place and Brighton made it a winning end to their tournament, downing the UCL Capitals 21-1 to capture 15th spot.


Event organiser and BSUK Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said: "It was a great pleasure for me to deliver the NUSC this year.  The students had a great time and showed incredible commitment to playing considering the weather conditions.  There was a vibrant atmosphere, just like a big festival. 

Luis added: "I'm very proud to work for BSUK, which has supported the growth of university play in the UK over many years.  The level of play is now really high, with some universities featuring players from the National Softball League.  I really enjoyed watching the games and watching university students play our sports and having such fun."


1)  University of Nottingham Arrows
2)  University of Portsmouth Shafters
3)  Loughborough University 1
4)  University of Southampton Mustangs
5)  University of York
6)  University of Manchester Maelstrom
7)  University of Reading Knights
8 )  University of East Anglia Blue Sox
9)  University of Nottingham Archers
10)  University of Kent
11)  Oxford Brookes University
12)  Loughborough University 2
13)  University of Brighton
14)  UCL Capitals

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