BSF Executive Meeting Report: 14 September 2017

Mon 18 Sep 2017

The BSF Executive held a monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 14 September 2017.  Below is a journalistic account of discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (Administrator), Jana McCaskill (National Teams Officer), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Steve Getraer (General Officer).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).

Financial matters​

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt circulated preliminary accounts for the BSF’s 2016-17 financial year, which ends on 30 September.

A number of items remain outstanding, so the final accounts will be different, but Laura told the Executive that there has been significant underspending in a number of areas this year, particularly BSF development grants, database registration (this relates to the use of Spawtz functionality on the BSF website) and the money set aside for legal costs relating to the proposed merger with the BBF and BSUK, which for the moment is not proceeding.

The Executive will discuss the financial position further at its annual face-to-face meeting on the weekend of 28-29 October, when the accounts will be more complete, and may identify areas for further spending next year.

Development grant

The Executive approved a development grant of £250 to purchase equipment that will support the delivery of higher-level coaching sessions in Bristol.

This request had been considered at the previous meeting in August, when it was decided that more information was needed.  This has since been provided, and the Executive was now happy to support the request.

BSF grants tor helmets

An online article reporting on the death of a slowpitch player in Canada who was hit on the head by a thrown ball and was not wearing a helmet has recently been circulating in the softball community.  Partly in response to this, the Windsor and Maidenhead League will make helmets mandatory next year and plans to purchase four helmets for each of its 16 teams.  The league wanted to know if the BSF could help.

After some discussion, the Executive agreed that for each team purchasing four helmets, the BSF will make a contribution.

The BSF will also revisit recent requests that it turned down from teams seeking help to purchase helmets.

The Executive will discuss the BSF’s position on helmets at its face-to-face meeting in October.

National Championships

BSF Competitions Director Liz Graham told the Executive that the dates for National Championships in 2018 will be:

  • Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals: 30 June-1 July in Birmingham.
  • Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals: 11-12 August at Farnham Park.
  • Co-ed Slowpitch NSL Nationals: 1-2 September at Farnham Park.

Liz advised that money will need to be spent next year to replenish the BSF’s supply of bases and outfield fences for National Championships, and there are likely to be additional costs to support camping at Nationals and to provide portaloos.

Liz reported that there had been positive feedback to the use of two-umpire systems at Nationals this year, the cost of which is split between the BSF and BASU.  The BSF hopes that this initiative can continue.

Scoreboards at Farnham Park

While the three original diamonds at Farnham Park all have scoreboards (which are rarely used, something the BSF would like to see changed), there is no scoreboard on the new diamond adjacent to the Home Plate clubhouse.

The BSF owns a portable wooden scoreboard that was built back in the late 1990s and in recent years has only been used for the Softball World Series.  A suggestion has been made that this scoreboard be stored at the Home Plate clubhouse next year, and brought out for use on the adjacent softball field.

BSUK is also exploring a more ambitious plan to re-locate the large scoreboard currently behind the centre field fence on the original baseball field at Farnham Park to a position behind the right field fence on the new softball field.  From there, if the scoreboard is made double-sided, it could serve both the original and new baseball/softball combination fields.

If this plan goes ahead, the BSF will consider making a contribution to the cost.

The BSF is also prepared to make a contribution to the cost of installing a defibrillator in the Home Plate clubhouse for the benefit of all users on site.

Team contacts and communication

The BSF will review its registration procedures for 2018 in an effort to ensure that its database has a contact name and email address for all affiliated teams.

The number of team contacts on the BSF database has been increasing in recent years but is still far from complete.  As the National Governing Body for softball in the UK, the BSF would like to be able to communicate with all its member teams when necessary and appropriate.

With regard to communication, use of BSF social media has been increasing with the help of BSUK, but at its face-to-face meeting in October the Executive will consider additional and more creative uses for its social media.

2017 League Heads Forum and 2018 BSF AGM

The BSF’s annual League Heads Forum for 2017 will be held on Saturday 11 November from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm at a new venue:  the West Midlands Police Sport and Wellbeing Association, Tally Ho, Pershore Road, Birmingham B5 7RN.

The agenda for the League Heads Forum is currently being compiled (suggestions from League Heads are welcome), but there is likely to be a brief session on umpire training run by BASU.

The 2018 BSF AGM will be held on Saturday 24 February at the Hough End Centre, Mauldeth Rd West, Manchester M21 7SX, where a number of Northern-based AGMs have been held in the past.

National teams

The Great Britain Management Committee (GBMC) will hold its own face-to-face meeting on the weekend of 21-22 October, a week before the BSF Executive holds theirs.

The plan is for the GBMC to meet on Saturday 21 October, and then on Sunday to meet with coaches and managers from GB teams and, if time allows, to conduct debriefs on this past summer’s tours to European or World Championship competitions.

Jenny Fromer reported that after some initial hesitation about attending this year’s Slowpitch World Cup, to be played on 16-19 November in Plant City, Florida, GB Slowpitch will now be sending a team.

The BSF and the GBMC are hoping to arrange a meeting with GB Slowpitch Team staff in the near future.

BSUK Subcommittee meetings

Each BSF Executive conference call meeting hears reports from recent BSUK Board and Committee meetings, which are attended by BSF Executive members.

BSF President Jenny Fromer attended the most recent meeting of the BSUK Board, where the main topic was whether the BBF would join the BSF in agreeing to measures necessary for baseball and softball, through BSUK, to comply with the government’s new Goverance Code for sport.  Compliance is necessary for a sport to receive public funding.  Shortly after that meeting, the BBF agreed to comply.

Jenny also attended a recent meeting of BSUK’s Development Subcommittee on behalf of Steve Getraer, who normally represents the BSF on this Committee but was unable to make the meeting.  Going forward, both Steve and Jenny will attend these meetings.  The main items included:

     -- The DSC is planning to publish a bi-monthly Development Newsletter for clubs and leagues.

     -- The 2018 Coach Summit will be held on the weekend of 27-28 January, probably in Milton Keynes.  There will be workshop sessions and keynote speakers on Saturday, and guest coaches will work with High Performance Academy athletes on Sunday.

     -- Under a BSUK staff reorganisation, areas of responsibility have been assigned to specific development staff.  These are:       

  • Participation – Patrick Knock
  • Clubs and Leagues -- Liz Knight
  • Workforce – Leah Holmes
  • Facilities – Luis Arrevillagas
  • Talent and Little League – Johanna Malisani

Next meeting

The next meeting of the BSF Executive will be its annual autumn face-to-face meeting on 28-29 October.

Anyone with items for the agenda should contact BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell (

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