Softball champs in Ashburton early next year

Hundreds of budding softballers are expected at an U15s tournament in Ashburton early next year.


It’s an unexpected last minute opportunity but one host organisers are welcoming, despite having less than four months until game time.

Mid Canterbury Softball Association president Carl O’Neill said it was unclear yet just how many South Island teams could arrive en masse to Ashburton, but given it was the open club championships, not a regional event, there could be multiple teams from each district.

‘‘There could be four teams from Ashburton, ten teams from Christchurch, three or four from Dunedin, Central Otago, Southland, Nelson, Marlborough.’’

It was also a mixed event with Under 15s boys and girls teams ‘‘so there is the potential to be 30-odd teams’’ with around 12 players per team.

‘‘It’s a definite bonus for (Mid Canterbury Softball).

‘‘We held the secondary schools one a couple to three years ago which was a new thing for us, so we are in a better position now than we were then.

‘‘We know what we need, what we’ve got to do and stuff like that.’’

Mr O’Neill was at the helm of the association then too and said a dedicated committee was now working through the finer points needed.

‘‘We’re lucky we’ve got a whole bunch – there are eight of us on the committee – who work together really well, and we’ve already had a plenty of outsiders offer to help.’’

He said the plan was to break the organising of the event in to smaller sections for completion to make it manageable.

There were seven associations in the South Island but Mr O’Neill said having a central South Island location for the championships made it easier for travelling teams.

‘‘It was between us and our good neighbours South Canterbury, but it came down to the flip of a coin in the end. And we happened to win that,’’ he said.

The four day event, due to go ahead at Argyle Park on January 13 to 16, would require additional facilities which needed to be hired, such as toilets, changing facilities and a mobile office for games officials, Mr O’Neill said.

Applications for funding assistance were being completed, and businesses and organisations sought for sponsorship or support such as the use of marquees for teams shelter during the event, he said.

Anyone able to sponsor or support the event can contact Mid Canterbury Softball through Facebook.