Find a venue
We hired the Haltemprice Leisure Centre in Anlaby on the outskirts of Hull. It has four badminton courts and it gives sufficient space for the Rounders pitch. Try to negotiate on price if you are having a block booking.
Invite teams to join the league
Invite the existing teams from your summer league and consider allowing them to merge teams. This is especially helpful if you think that the teams will struggle to raise a full team every week.
Cast your net wide
Encourage teams and especially new Rounders players to join your league. With the blessing/approval of the relevant league secretaries, I invited teams/players from a netball league and from the East Riding Rounders League. I also contacted local newspapers and got articles published in the free newspapers to promote our new league. A free newspaper is delivered to every home in our region so this is an excellent way to publicise your league. Consider social networking sites such as Facebook, and running a ‘try it’ session before starting the league. Think about the minimum and maximum number of teams you’ll want for your league. I planned on a minimum of five teams and a maximum of eight teams for our first year and we ended up with seven teams. You could invite individual players and put them into teams on the day.
Measure and mark out a Rounders pitch at the venue
Ask the sports hall if you can measure and mark out the Rounders pitch, using small pieces of heavy duty tape. You’ll need tape markings for the 4 bases, the backstop line, the front line and the batter and bowler mat. These tape markings will make setting up the Rounders equipment each week easier. Don’t start marking out the pitch until you’ve walked around the sports hall. Our venue has nets at one end of the sports hall. On closer inspection I discovered that the nets contained 3 footballs and dozens of shuttlecocks! This is where our Rounders ball could’ve ended up, far out of reach. I quickly decided to change ends and mark out the Rounders pitch with the nets behind the batter.
I purchased some heavy duty tape for the pitch markings. I don’t have any throw down lines but I’m lead to believe that these are just the thing to use for the front line and backstop line. I’ve improvised with lengths of white ribbon/tape which I stick down using the heavy duty tape. You will need a couple of soft balls. We decided to use a soft ball.
First session – timing games and assessing the rules
We used the first session of our block booking to assess the rules, the equipment and time the games to see how many matches we can fit into the 2 hours per week. All of our teams turned up and they were asked to write their comments on a feedback sheet. The games were played without recording the results and they will not be added to the league tables. I’ve designed a score sheet (batting sheet) for the indoor game which is on the Rounders England website. The start time and duration of each game was recorded. On average, a game of one innings of 18 good balls takes around 15 minutes. This should allow for four Rounders matches (a match consists of two innings, 18 good balls per innings) per week. The first match starts at 7pm, the second match starts at 7.30pm, the third match starts at 8pm and the final match starts at 8.30pm.
Agree the player fee to cover your costs
Your teams will have paid an entry fee or league fee but you’ll also need a player fee, to cover your costs. When a team has a match, each player in our league pays a £2.00 fee or £10.00 from the team. The sports hall hire is the big expense and we must collect sufficient funds to cover this and the cost of equipment we’ve purchased.
Work out the fixture list
Before you start to work the match fixtures, check the calendar for any special dates which you might want to cancel from your block booking. To try to keep our teams happy, I’ve worked out the fixture list to ensure that if a team has 2 matches the matches are played consecutively. I have also ensured that every team has early matches and late matches.
Enjoy the game!
With good preparation and planning, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the game. I saw lots of smiling faces on our first night.
By Pauline Connington, HWSA League Secretary