Last year was the first year we have been fully engaged in the running of GBFL as a committee.
We think we made some improvements on structure and communications for the league. We definitely had more players getting involved and this has created a demand for an expanded league in 2016.
There is a push towards all men and all women leagues to support the national teams but also a demand for mixed teams to allow juniors and new players to start (or restart!) playing fastpitch.
Junior players need to see good pitching but facing the strongest men's pitching may be too much for some. Some of the women players want to see the fastest pitchers they can before going on international duty while others prefer not to play against the men at all.
The midlands and new Manchester teams face a 4 hour drive (each way in some cases!) to play at Farnham and need to see some good quality fast pitch further North, which effectively will remove most of the mixed teams from the Farnham leagues.
Not an easy set of demands to square.
To try and address it we have been in conversation with the team captains and BSF over the winter and have come up with the proposed format for 2016 that hopefully addresses some of these concerns. I have no doubt it will not be perfect and we will make further adjustments for 2017 but for now we will see how this year goes and learn some more lessons.
In an ideal world, this years format will give everybody quality game time, the sun will shine and we will work towards a Finals / Open tournament at the end which becomes a celebration of Fastpitch in the UK!
Please feel free to email the league and come up with suggestions for how we can improve things for this year or next and we will definitely try to accomomdate them.