Important weekend was Black Sox hopefuls

Last updated 10:33 06/12/2012

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Joseph Parker uses Wladimir Klitschko connections to boost his WBO title chances Ryan Ballantyne beats Tom Walsh's best for world leading under-18s shot put throw Andy Ruiz: I'm already two points down on the scorecards in Joseph Parker's town 10 things you need to know about Andy Ruiz ahead world title fight against Joseph Parker Canterbury Red Sox rack up 22nd consecutive South Island softball title Wellington's Sam McCutcheon utilises experience to take 2016 Kepler Challenge title near Te Anau Aussies won't 'rest on laurels' after three World Bowls gold medals Back to back world bowls champion Karen Murphy hails Burnside as her 'happy hunting ground' Andy Ruiz predicts 'life and death' fight with Joseph Parker for WBO heavyweight title Christchurch teenager Nick Moulai smashes national under-17 3000m record in Auckland

New Zealand's top softball players will gather in Auckland next week to press their claim for a spot in the Black Sox World Championship team.

The National Fastpitch Championships start today at North Shore's Rosedale Park and will this year double as a trial of sorts, with the national side set to be announced after the final on Sunday.

The World Championships will be held in Auckland from March 1-10 next year but preparation started soon after the 2009 event, which saw the Black Sox relinquish their crown to Australia.

"We appreciate that, for the players, selection for a world championship team is the culmination of many years of sacrifice and hard work," says coach Eddie Kohlhase.

"We have been working with an extended squad for the past four years and the 17 players selected form part of a larger squad, who have been pushing each other hard for places in the team.

"The final make-up of the side will be a balance between youth and experience, and many we feel will form the core of Black Sox sides for years to come."

Although the national side is the ultimate goal for a number of players, there is also a national title on the line.

Defending titleholders Auckland will again be a tough side to topple. The side's opening game today is against neighbours Counties-Manukau Waikato, followed by Wellington.

They will round out the opening day of action against rivals North Harbour.

Last summer's runners-up, Canterbury, ease their way into the draw against the Southern Pride, Hutt Valley and Counties-Manukau Waikato.

In the women's competition, Auckland loom as title favourites and open their campaign against newcomers Hawke's Bay.

National Fastpitch Championships, Thursday December 

Men
9am: Canterbury v Southern Pride, Hutt Valley v North Harbour
11am: Counties-Manukau Waikato v Auckland, Hawke's Bay v Wellington, Canterbury v Hutt Valley
1pm: Wellington v Auckland, Hawke's Bay v North Harbour
3pm: Canterbury v Counties-Manukau Waikato
5pm: Hawke's Bay v Hutt Valley, Wellington v Southern Pride, Auckland v North Harbour

Women
9am: Canterbury v Counties-Manukau Waikato, Wellington v Hutt Valley
11am: Auckland v Hawke's Bay
1pm: Auckland v Canterbury, Hutt Valley v Counties-Manukau Waikato
3pm: Wellington v Hawke's Bay
5pm: Auckland v Hutt Valley

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content