A Bay of Plenty and Waikato combined softball competition could be on the cards this year as softball continues its return in Rotorua.
The sport, once popular in Rotorua, made a comeback last summer under the banner of Central Bay Softball.
While there was a buzz around the softball community when the sport returned, a lack of teams really hurt the local competitions last season.
One of the drivers in bringing the sport back, Leigh-Anne Mullins, recently started a new organisation called Bay of Plenty Rotorua Association of Softball.
She said the new organisation would look to build on what was done last year, holding T-ball competitions for children aged 3-9, softball competitions for juniors aged 10-16, plus a competition for seniors.
“With our juniors and seniors we are looking at working with Waikato and Western Bay of Plenty Softball and doing a triangular competition.”
Mullins said the organisation was working with Softball New Zealand to become affiliated and was also in talks with Hamilton and Tauranga for the triangular competition this season.
Mullins said it would begin its competitions on Saturday, October 31 with games based at Puketawhero Park.
“Between now and then everyone can register online and we are sorting out teams.”
She said online registrations for individuals wanting to play could be done at www.sporty.co.nz/boprasoftball and anyone wanting to enter an entire team could email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, Central Bay Softball will not be running any competitions this year.
Former Rotorua pitcher and softball enthusiast Vince Taylor has taken the role as BOPRA Softball president. He said they wanted to grow the game back to what it was like in the early 1980s in Rotorua.
“We are rebuilding it and it may take three or four seasons to really be pumping again but we are re-building it from scratch,” he said.
“Our future vision is we would like to find a base in Rotorua where we can have skin diamonds like we used to have back in the day, with the support of the council.”
He said they had been going around schools in the area and had received a great response. He said they warmly welcomed teams and players from outside the immediate area to take part, including from areas like Reporoa, Tokoroa, Kawerau and Whakatane.
Gary Hamilton-Irvine, Sports reporter, Daily Post