Three Bundy clubs join forces with Hervey Bay for new softball comp
THREE Bundaberg clubs will join forces with Hervey Bay Softball to create the region's biggest competition.
The new-look Hervey Bay Softball competition will see a minimum of four teams in under-12s, U14s, U17s and both A and B grades for men's and women's softball.
The sudden expansion was confirmed at Hervey Bay Softball Association's meeting on Thursday night.
Three Bundaberg Softball clubs - The Waves, Brothers United, and defending A-grade women's premiers Bargara - made the extraordinary decision to leave the Rum City's organisation and affiliate with Hervey Bay for the 2017-18 season.
Hervey Bay Softball president Donna Jenkins said it made for an exciting season for the sport.
"There's a lot of excitement and anticipation about the three clubs from Bundaberg joining us," Jenkins said.
"We'll primarily play our games in Hervey Bay, and the Bundaberg teams will travel to us each week."
Former Bundaberg Softball president Louise Cole acted as a liaison for the three clubs' move.
She said the move to Hervey Bay would provide players and clubs a brand new experience.
"It will allow our players to experience playing against people they might only get to play against at rep level, so we're really looking forward to a good season," Cole said.
Cole said she expected some backlash from Bundaberg's softball community, as the clubs' defection halved the number of clubs left in competition.
"There will always be some backlash, but we haven't been able to create a good atmosphere," Cole said.
"Hopefully the different teams will have a good experience and we'll enjoy a positive atmosphere in Hervey Bay."
The clubs' inclusion could see Hervey Bay Softball's affiliated member base explode with more than 200 possible players.
The new-look competition does come at a minor regional cost, as Hervey Bay's junior teams, the Terrors, will withdraw from Maryborough Softball.
The Terrors won Maryborough Softball's under-15s title in 2016-17.
"We've sent those teams there in recent years and it was always the intention to grow our competitions," Jenkins said.
The new softball season is scheduled to start on Saturday, October 7.