AGM sets the scene for exciting 2022 softball season
The 2022 MK Softball AGM once again took place online and celebrated a year when we managed to strike out Covid and get back to league play and tournaments.
The last two years have seen us all on various Zoom calls and after a brief battle with the wifi making her sound like a deep sea diver, our chairperson Leah gave us an overview in her report, which was supported by Sam’s secretary report.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, various virtual activities kept the community engaged and as the return to play approached in 2021. Several marketing and engagement activities were put in place to encourage players to return and attract new recruits.
The 2021 season
Although our first 2021 training session started in a snowstorm, it didn’t stop new and existing players signing up. Numbers more than met our expectations. We matched our team numbers of 2019 with more player sign-ups and achieved our highest ever number of female league members ever.
What followed was a fantastic season and a title race that was incredibly tight between all teams until the final few weeks, with the Roundabout Rhinos winning the title in the final against the Willow Lakers.
Sessions then moved indoors at the start of October and our fantastic participation numbers have continued with the highest number of indoor league sign-ups from MK players ever, and an average of 25 at our coaching sessions each week. Long may it continue!
In total, 41 members playing in the current indoor league including one newbie, as well several players who joined in 2021 and are playing indoor for the first time. In the 2021 outdoor league we had over 60 members, a record for the Club.
We managed to pull together almost a full tournament calendar with tournaments as far south as Farnham and as far north as Edinburgh. All of this was coordinated by Chris and Chloe, both of whom have been doing the tournament officer role for a few years now and have become a well-oiled machine. A huge thank you to both!
An impressive eight tournaments attended by the Diamonds, plus Nationals which was attended by the 2019 league winners, the Hornets.
We also managed to run another extremely successful Codebreakers Cup, matching what was delivered in 2019 – but with extra fancy dress action on top!
Thanks to the considerable efforts of our social secretary Kat, a range of social events were arranged, from the annual awards night, to a New Year’s walk. Even when Covid got in the way of meeting face-to-face, we ran a virtual mileage challenge – over 30 members past and present clocked up an amazing 5,465 miles – the distance from our home diamond to the NY Yankees stadium in 110 days. Incredible!
Coaching and umpiring
At the meeting, it was agreed that Jod would take the role of League Coordinator (via a change to our Constitution) and she gave an update on coaching and umpiring which are of course so important to the running of our League.
A huge thank you was extended to all coaches and umpires, without whom we simply wouldn’t be able to run the leagues or our training sessions. So, to Adam, Carl, Chloe, Craig, Flynny, Fy, Hedley, Jake, Jon, Leah, Robyn, and Trev… THANK YOU.
Carl, Flynny and Fyona bolstered our coaching ranks and over the summer ran some great sessions, and in Carl’s case some VERY energetic sessions! In addition, Robyn, Chloe and Fy debuted as league umpires.
Getting involved in 2022
The anticipated return of coaching, umpiring, first aid and safeguarding courses mean there are plenty of opportunities to get involved further – contact a member of the committee if you are interested. BASU are also releasing online umpiring training which may be made available to all members as well as aspiring umpires. The committee was reconfirmed for 2022 and we will begin to formalise our plan for the year. Although the executive committee remains the same, we want to remind everyone that it is not a closed shop. We would love new ideas and opinions around the table, even if you are just interested in helping with a particular project, rather than a year-round role.
And finally… NSL3 here we come!
The last bit of exciting news is that our entry has been accepted into NSL3, the third division of the National Softball League. It’s been a long-term aim to one day have a home-grown team in the first division of the National Softball League and this could be the first step towards one day achieving this (even if it’s still a long way off!).
This three-weekend series will be the only MK Diamonds select tournament we enter – more details to follow soon! Thanks to all who attended the AGM, you can download the full minutes here.