By Jim Birchall
Howick Softball Club is an institution in east Auckland. Many people will have a family connection to the club which was formed in 1973, with the objective of providing softball and tee-ball to the local community.
Boasting upwards of 400 players spread across 30-odd teams, coupled with a total membership approaching 900, the club is the biggest in Auckland, and one of the largest in New Zealand.
The club, located at Meadowlands Reserve is well-appointed with five senior diamonds (including two skin-diamonds) plus a junior diamond and is an integral part of the greater Meadowlands Multisport facility, shared with Cockle Bay Tennis and Howick squash.
Run by manager Barb Croawell, the club and its fields are available for hire, and even houses a children’s playgroup on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
Producing over the years players of the pedigree of Blacksox’s pitcher Campbell Gibson and Whitesox catcher Zoe Tolhopf, Howick are on the lookout for stars of the future, particularly those ‘Tiny Sox” two and a half to four-and-a-half-year-olds, who want to have some teeball fun.
Games start at 9am on Saturdays and the older kids have their chance to swing for the fences from a pitching machine in the ‘Rookie Sox’ competition later in the morning.
The club also runs social leagues, played under the diamond point format, and a school league on Monday nights. They have two very special tournaments coming up, The Brad Croawell memorial tournament draws attention to the rare neurodegenerative movement disorder, Friedreich’s Ataxia, which sadly claimed the life of Barb’s son Brad, aged just 24. The tournament is penciled in for November 29 but is subject to change.
The second is the Bev Smith breast cancer awareness tournament featuring the best premier women’s teams, now in its 11th year, is penciled in for November 29- December 1.
To get involved:
Who: Howick softball Club (Fencibles) Inc
Where: 41 R Meadowlands Drive, Howick.
How: Register online at howicksoftball.co.nz