Checking in on the Universities in the North

Fri 20 Dec 2019

Baseball and softball clubs at universities in the North of the United Kingdom have been making steady progress with their development plans this autumn. Each of the Uni teams are at different stages of growth, but through their work with the BaseballSoftballUK Development staff, all of them are making great progress!

Below is a quick summary of what they have been up to in the last semester:

Edge Hill University

Edge Hill University's baseball club was successful in gaining funding from Campus Sport to run baseball sessions in 2019. Edge Hill Serpents Baseball Club was founded by student Liam Murphy, who not only acted as a coach, but enlisted help from from the Liverpool Trojans to come along and lead speciality pitching and catching sessions. Liam’s plans for next semester include applying for further funding from the University and keeping sessions consistent to keep players interested to move onto next year.

Commenting on Serpents' progress, Liam said, “I'm really looking to get things properly funded and set up as a team considering there's been massive progress with BUCS but that's a future goal. We've had about 14/15 people each session with massive support from the Vikings (American football team) because they're all interested in American sports.”

University of Manchester Maelstrom

Maelstrom took the leap and accepted promotion in the Autumn 2019 Manchester Indoor Softball League, moving up to Division 1 and finishing 6th in the league - and 4th in the Cup Tournament. Along with this, Maelstrom have taken part in the BSUK University League, competing in the North division with the University of York and the University of Salford for both indoor and outdoor competitions. In October, they entered two single-sex male teams in the Manchester Indoor tournament and in November, Malestrom competed in the Autumn 2019 Manchester Indoor Tournament. Their weekly "Sporticipate" sessions, funded by UoM Sport, have been really popular with up to 30 participants each week.

Maelstrom co-captain Charlie Hughes commented, “We’ve had a really successful first semester at the University of Manchester Softball Society in terms of playing and results, but also on the social side of the Society. We have teamed up with the Dodgeball society for a softball/dodgeball taster event and with the Ultimate Frisbee Society on a couple of occasions to play Pub Golf, do a bar crawl through Manchester and to go bowling. In Semester 2 we will hopefully qualify for the National University Championships at Farnham in March and will again be entering the weekly Manchester Indoor Softball League for Winter 2020 starting in January and are looking forward to the outdoor season starting again.”

University of Bolton

Following the success of the University of Bolton softball programme in 2016, it has been quiet on the softball front. However, with new satellite funding for 2020, sessions will begin again in Bolton for students in February! Sessions which will be Thursdays 7-8 PM and will take place at the University of Bolton following the popular archery session.

Manchester Metropolitan University

This year saw a revamp for MMU softball to create a fresh start for 2019/20. Following the Fresher’s fair in September, a new softball activator was selected – Brogan Blair, a first year Filmmaking student from Preston. Brogan will head the softball sessions as part of the Active Campus programme from January.

Active Campus is a sport programme for Manchester Metropolitan University, and students can access a wide range of sports, totally free of charge.

Linni Mitchell, North West Coach who will lead the sessions at MMU said, “Being added to the Active Campus programme will give softball great exposure across the university. Anyone looking to join a new club will look at the Active Campus Timetable so to be on it will be fantastic publicity for the club.”

University of Salford Swifts

In 2019 the University of Salford Softball Club, the Swifts, elected a new committee, with Rob Goldsworthy taking on the role of club president. The team, who practice weekly on a Wednesday, have had their largest intake of female players this year after struggling to recruit girls in previous years. The team entered the University Softball League and played their first outdoor games of the year in October, facing experienced sides from University of Manchester and University of York. Boys from Swifts joined up with UoM Maelstrom and MMU Universities to create a team for the Manchester Indoor Single Sex tournament in November. Later in November, Swifts took on Maelstrom and York in the indoor phase of the University League, putting up a strong fight verses the other experienced teams.

Discussing the work this past autumn, BSUK Coach Linni Mitchell reported, “On top of the development work and coaching we do with the Universities in the North West, this semester was the launch of the University Softball League. From speaking to the students I know these games are something they particularly look forward to. There is something about beating local league teams that just doesn’t compete with beating rival university teams. The teams have progressed substantially in semester 1 and I’m confident they will continue to grow and develop considerably in 2020.”

Luis Arrevillagas, BSUK Regional Development Manager commented, “We stay in close contact with the Universities throughout the year and the new University Softball League has helped us to do that even more. Edge Hill in particular have progressed from nothing to a fully fledged club this year and that is a huge achievement, hats off to Liam who has worked really hard. With the news that baseball and softball have made it to the next phase of talks with BUCs, progressing to the next stage of the sport review process is only onwards and upwards for University baseball/softball.


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