Fresh look for expanded premier grade
Southland Softball Association has revamped its senior club structure for the 2012/13 season in an attempt to give the premier grade a fresh look and expose younger players to a higher level.
The new season starting today features a premier grade of eight teams.
It previously consisted of only three teams, with two of them coming from the Demons club.
A large number of players had become stale with playing against the same faces each weekend and pushed for an expansion of the grade.
The association responded by bringing teams up from the next grade to help create an enlarged competition.
A Central Otago Panthers team will also line up in the premier grade to help players in their region develop.
The plan is for the teams to play each other in a round-robin format before a decision is made where the competition heads to from there.
Southland Softball Association chairman Russell Finlay said the preferred option was for it to be split into two sections after the round-robin series.
He said yesterday there were pros and cons with setting up the larger competition.
An obvious benefit was that an eight team competition would negate the staleness factor experienced by the players.
It would also give more younger players a chance to play against top level provincial representative players.
A drawback was that there could be some lop-sided scorelines and the standard of play could drop.
"Like any change there's pros and cons. You've got to accept that some people prefer to have their small grade but for the most part people are right behind it and expect that there's going to be opportunities moving forward for some young players which is really what we want."
Finlay was excited about the introduction of the Central Otago team and their commitment to make the trip to Invercargill each week to play in the competition.
The Central Otago team has linked with the Panthers.
The team will predominantly be made up of players from the Central Otago region but if they were struggling with numbers at various times the Panthers would help fill the gaps.
"We're quite excited about it," Finlay said.
"A number of their players have been picked up for lower South Island rep teams so there's some really good talent up there."
Meanwhile, a quiz night fundraiser will be held on Wednesday night will be held at the Waikiwi Rugby Club to help get Tim Campbell to the junior world softball series in Argentina in November.
- © Fairfax NZ News