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May '13 23

Farnham Park due to open in early June

by Baseball Softball UK, www.baseballsoftballuk.com

The much-anticipated opening of the first purpose-built community baseball and softball complex at Farnham Park in Buckinghamshire is approaching fast.

The Farnham Park Management Committee (FPMC), formed by BSUK to oversee the development, has announced that play may be able to start at the new facility as soon as early June, with a formal Opening Ceremony planned for Saturday, 20 July when there will be both high-level baseball and softball activity on the site.

The development at Farnham Park consists of two purpose-built softball and youth baseball fields and a combination adult baseball and softball field, and has been in a construction phase since early 2012. The last major factor dictating the opening date was the readiness of the grass, and thanks to some good recent growing weather, plans to open the site are moving into action.

The Farnham Park Management Committee has laid out a work programme that could lead to the site opening for softball in the week beginning 3 June and for baseball soon afterwards, most probably at the start of July. The first major softball tournament to be played on the new pitches will be the second Diamond Series tournament on the weekend of 8-9 June.

Call to arms

However, despite major construction work having drawn to a close, some sport-specific work is still needed before the site can be opened, and the FPMC is seeking volunteers to offer their help at a work day on Sunday, 2 June.

A call to arms for volunteers was issued on 21 May on a Facebook group set up for Farnham Park, which has over 400 people on it following progress on the site. Anyone willing to offer help and support on 2 June should contact BSUK Joint CEO John Boyd, by email to or by phone on 020 7453 7035.

If you are willing and able to help with a range of jobs on the day, such as digging holes for base plugs, installing benches and helmet racks, painting, moving fence panels, tending the grass areas and line-marking, please get in touch.

First of a kind

Funded by Sport England through its Exchequer fund for capital projects and supported by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the site at Farnham Park is the first of its kind in the UK. Its location has been chosen to serve the needs of existing baseball and softball communities and the site has long been used for important softball tournaments such as the Diamond Series and events run by the Windsor and Maidenhead District Softball League.

The facilities constructed on site will also lead to new adult and youth baseball and softball programmes for the local community, and one of the first events on the new pitches at Farnham Park is likely to be a schools tournament organised by BaseballSoftballUK’s Development Manager Patrick Knock and South Bucks District School Games Coordinator Karen Donnelly.

Facilities strategy

Building the baseball and softball diamonds at Farnham Park was a significant project that included leveling unused undulating land at the southernmost end of the site. Construction was carried out by Agripower, a firm specialising in sports facilities that has recently completed construction of a softball and youth baseball field at Conniburrow in Milton Keynes.

John Boyd, who was instrumental in creating the vision for Farnham Park, said: “The result of our construction work is a high-quality and appealing cluster of fields that will be enjoyed by many baseball and softball players for years to come. There has been a great deal of interest already shown in the fields because they are the first of their kind and make a firm statement that baseball and softball are played in this country and are deserving of purpose-built quality facilities.”

This project is a the result of a several years of work, and represents the coming together of a number of elements including funding, local interest and a coordinated approach to facility development contained in BSUK’s Baseball and Softball Facilities Strategy 2011-17.

Opening Day

Plans are already advanced for an official Opening Day for the site on July 20, when the BSF will be holding its Single-Sex Slowpitch Championships and a series of high-level baseball games will be taking place between GB players and foreign opposition.

John Boyd said: “The intention is to have a fun weekend of baseball and softball events to mark the opening of the new facility and to thank the many people who have been so vital in making this project happen. So please save the date!”

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