Coventry Blitz Deliver Softball at the 2023 UK Corporate Games!
22 August 2023
The Coventry Blitz Softball Club had the opportunity to deliver softball during the 2023 UK Corporate Games, which took place at the University of Warwick in Coventry. Blitz Chairman Matt Evans shared the following with BaseballSoftballUK, reflecting on a successful - if not soaking wet - event!
“The UK Corporate Games (UKCG) is the most comprehensive multi-sport employee wellbeing event. A platform for companies from all business sectors to integrate and engage employees, address CSR strategies and raise brand awareness. Annually, thousands of participants representing hundreds of organisations come together for an unrivalled weekend of sportsmanship and celebrations.”
This year’s event was being held at the University of Warwick and softball was back on the schedule for 2023 with the Coventry Blitz Softball Club approached to organise and lead the softball elements. Coventry Blitz, the only club in Warwickshire and the West Midlands, have been growing from strength-to-strength post Covid and we saw this event as a good opportunity to get the Blitz name out there and raise some important revenue for the club to continue to deliver accessible softball in the region.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as rocking on a Saturday and delivering a day of softball. Following 3 months of communication between myself and UKCG, site visits, sports organiser ‘initiation’ meetings and athlete registration it was time to deliver softball! Actually, I should touch on registration… Teams were supposed to supply their own playing kit and whilst we had a prior arrangement to supply one team with gloves it was clear from the looks on athletes' faces that not all teams had gloves.
“I actually play cricket…I don’t have to wear the glove, do I?”
Thankfully we had enough to supply 2 and a half teams, and thanks to spares from another competing team we managed to get everyone kitted out.
There were five companies competing: BUPA Care Services, Freeths LLP, Insight, Safran & Willis Towers Watson (WTW)
Each team were guaranteed a minimum of 3 games upon entering therefore the first challenge was devising a schedule where all teams had the same number of games! In our schedule, teams were guaranteed 4 games (all play each other) and then the top two would compete for Gold/Silver and Third/Fourth would play for bronze.
As seems to be the standard for 2023 softball, the forecast wasn’t great. In fact it was absolutely horrendous… and it turned out to be true! We were faced with constant rain from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. At times during the day the rain was very heavy, but the grounds held up well and no bats were dropped unintentionally so play continued!
Blitz members were acting as scorers, coaches, umpires and tournament control (including medal presentation!) for the day. Picture 5 teams of 10-14 players where only a couple of players total have ever played before… Whilst we tried not to overload them with 100% of the rules from the outset some things certainly took some explaining. Small ball hitters using a smaller ball and only taking one base, when walked, was often a topic of conversation! I will say that many players did want to learn and the feedback we’ve had was that they very much appreciated our coaching points during the day.
Despite the appalling conditions, the competition was played in good spirits and amongst the madness there were some genuinely impressive plays. Taking a hard line drive off the wet grass at 3rd in a brand-new glove in that weather and then making the throw to 1st for the out definitely stood out. As did a 1st base fielder taking a catch peddling back into foul territory or the pitcher taking a sliding catch… though the conditions were ideal for that!
The Bronze final was contested between Freeths LLP & Insight with Freeths taking the win 8-3. The Gold/Silver final saw Safran take on WTW – funnily enough the two teams who had their own kit. WTW reigned supreme to finish the day with a 100% record taking the gold medal with a 12-2 victory.
Following the medal ceremony – where we once again pushed the BSUK Teamfinder (like we did in the captains pack and WhatsApp group!) – it was time for the Blitz team to head home and dry out...following a customary team beverage of course. We even picked up a new player at the pub who came to our next training session!
Following several days of kit drying, the Corporate Games team were in touch to say the feedback was that the Blitz team were “Excellent” and competitors “learned a lot from them.” If you have the chance to support the delivery of softball, it’s definitely worth considering as a cash boost for your club (though it is a lot of work!). Feel free to contact Coventry Blitz if you want to discuss further. At the time of writing the 2024 location was not been confirmed so keep an eye out on their media as it may be a field near you!
Special thanks to the Blitz team who made the event happen: Carl Billson, Lee Grafton, Matt Evans, Nate Richardson, Neil Foot, Sally Bynoe, Tim Bishop & Vrushank Sharma.
Coventry Blitz Softball Club
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