South Island U15s softball tourney hits town

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South Island Under 15s softball action is on from today at Argyle Park in Ashburton.

Hundreds of budding softballers from around the South Island have converged on Ashburton for the Mainland Softball southern zone U15s open club championships.

Nelson batting first against Fairfield in their opening match of the U15s championships.

The competition of Under 15 boys and girls started today at Argyle Park, in Allenton, and runs through until Sunday.

Mid Canterbury won hosting rights for the tournament just four months ago and since then a swag of dedicated volunteers have had hands on deck to get the venue tournament ready.

Carl O’Neill

Mid Canterbury Softball Association president Carl O’Neill said 22 teams were competing in the boys and girls competitions and had travelled from as far afield as Invercargill and Nelson.

The event is an open club championships, not a regional event, and there were multiple teams from each district. Mid Canterbury is represented by three teams; two boys teams, coached by Pat Patea and Rob Flanagan and one girls team, coached by Richelle Aubrey.

Each team has around 12 players, as well as supporters and game officials and would give a good boost to the local economy.

Fairfield’s Hannah De Bressac at catcher.

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

Fairfield coach Richelle Aubrey (centre) talks with game officials.

Spectators were welcome to attend the event at the Argyle Park grounds. QR codes would be on site for covid location recording.

Mr O’Neill said five or six games would be run at a time starting each day at 9am and every two hours.

The last game of the day was from 5pm.

The girls final on Sunday is at 1pm and the boys at 3pm.

Fairfield pitcher Rylee Anning-Bensley in action against the Nelson side.