It’s been exciting to see how much our little club has grown this year with four teams being entered at Waverley and for the first time entering a team into the Casey competition. We give a special welcome to all of our new and returning members.
With some new faces on our executive and general committee we hit the ground running way before the actual softball season commenced.
We had a number of past juniors move to other clubs or decide to pursue other sports which, after additional recruitment, left us with a vast range of ages within our junior ranks. We didn’t feel it was right to play our youngest players up in under13 but we were short on numbers to fill two full teams. Eastern Raiders were experiencing similar difficulties so we were rapt to be able to merge the two clubs and Northvale Raiders was born. And what a season the mighty Northvale Raiders had!
Our Under 13 team improved their core skills so much and were such delightful young ambassadors to our wonderful sport. Our Under 11 team proved to be a team of little fighters and never gave up, literally to the last minute of the season. Playing in extra time in the Qualifying Final they missed out making it into the Grand Final by the skin of their teeth. I still can feel the excitement of those final moments and I hope that all of our juniors continue to feel that excitement that only softball can bring for many years to come.
This year saw some of our junior players stepping out of their comfort zone and participate in the Under 12 Spectacular with Eastern Raiders and they were also selected to join the Waverley Blue Sox Representative team which we are very proud of them.
Our Open 4 team came out for the first half of the season with all guns blazing even with me as acting coach. It was wonderful when John McKenna agreed to return as coach for the second half of the season. As the dynamics of the team changed it took us a little while to all find our footing again but we did and then one by one we picked off the other teams to make it to the Grand Final. Brandon Heights proved why they had been on top of the ladder all season and were worthy winners but we certainly gave it our best shot and are proud Runners Up.
Open 3 relied on Open 4 players to fill in each week which meant the team dynamics changed each week but to all the girls credit they played as if they had been playing together for years and had a great season. A huge thank you goes to Michelle Donnison for stepping up to coach the Open 3, part way through the season even going so far as to complete her Level One coaching certificate. Your humour and passion was always on hand to remind us to go out and enjoy ourselves, no matter how much we were hurting by the end of each long Saturday.
Our Casey team were entered into the A grade competition and with majority of the players returning after many years away from the game they gave it their all. Although I never made it down to watch these ladies play I know they thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed environment that Casey had to offer and hopefully will be keen to return.
We only ran two major fundraising activities this year. Our annual chocolate drive and the very successful Bunnings BBQ which resulted in having to run out for more sausages, not once but twice! Thank you to everyone who assisted with these fundraising events.
We welcomed new sponsors to the club with M.T.M. FITNESS and the Wheelers Hill Hotel, who are providing the venue for our AGM & Presentation day today and also provide any member who has signed up with 10% discount on any food or beverage purchase. We are also very happy to have the continued support from Fielders Choice who not only gives each one of us a discount upon any purchases but they also supplied our $30.00 vouchers for any new member’s this season. So a very BIG thankyou to all our sponsors and we hope to have the continued support into the seasons ahead.
I am delighted to see so many new families into the club this year and I only hope that we can continue to grow the club and keep enjoying this fabulous game of softball.
My personal thanks go to our committee for their hard work throughout the season, without you the club would not be able to continue. Thank you to each of you for all your support you give to the club and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone back out on the diamond next season.