Members and participants:

It isn’t often that we receive a significant groundswell of public opinion from members. This week, we have been flooded by emails and posts about our decision to not send a Development Team to the Women’s National Championships next year.

I write to inform all that we have heard you: we have re-instated the Development Team, effective immediately.

The Board was moved by the outpouring of support for this team, and voted overwhelmingly to rescind our earlier decision.

Yes, while there are many who believe that we do not have the player depth to support a second team at the national level (just 4 Div 1 GBL women’s teams and only 3 Futures League teams), there is the general understanding that there exists a gap after Youth Womens (U16) and promotion to the Open team. We recognise that the decision to remove the Development Team before we have alternatives in place for this age group is premature.

The fact is, of course, that there are no certainties moving forward. With the advent of the WABL and the National Showcase, it may well be that the days of the Open Women’s Nationals are numbered; that before long we will have for the girls exactly what we have for the boys: U16, U18, (U23,) ABL.

For clarity, BQ is – and has always been – committed to the development of women’s baseball. We have – in just the past two years – created a state Showcase event, expanded and enhanced the GBL competition for women, instituted a Women’s Futures League, and invested in both the Barclay Cup and the Youth Women’s national events. We have done more in this past short while than any other state – some might even argue that we have created much more opportunity for women and girls than we do for boys/men.

But we still have a long way to go. We haven’t announced anything yet, but the board has been discussing – much of it for some time – a number of innovations that we are keen to pursue for our fastest-growing cohort.

These include:
• Lobbying Baseball Australia to include education and skills development experiences at the AWC/AYWC
• Working with School Sport Australia to develop an U18 National Championships
• Inaugurating an U21 Women’s Invitational (hosting other states)
• Investigating touring team/s to the US and/or Japan (and hosting)

As you can see, we continue to look for ways to evolve, engage, and enhance playing opportunities and experiences. We want our female players to have the best pathways and playing options possible.

And we’d like you to continue to express your opinion and provide your support. After all, it is your sport.

Thank you to those who took the time to write in – it is appreciated.

Chris Norrie