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MSL Chats to Tournament Regulars at Diffodil

Cardiff league’s renowned and chilled out tournament, Diffodil, ran in Cardiff on the weekend on June 3rd. Cardiff runs a two-tiered setup for C and D grade to provide a tournament for new, developing and experimental teams. MSL catches up with some of the tournament teams you may not have seen in the North West.

Valley Wet Socks

TeamLinkt: https://leagues.teamlinkt.com/leagues/team/11943/220295#home

Valley Wet Socks logo

Est: 2013
League: Cardiff
Diffodil group: C

You can’t help but smile when you see the Valley Wet Socks. Their fun team name, stitched in yellow across their shirts, and their logo of a pair of socks on a washing line with the Welsh mountains in the background brings a smile to your face. The Cardiff League was established in 2008 and Wet Socks, established in 2013, are celebrating their 10 year anniversary. They are a fun team to play, usually registered in the silver tier. MSL catches up with their captain Rob Davies.

“We have one division,” Rob explains about Cardiff League, “We play each other once and then it splits into Division 1 and Division 2. This is our second year to be top. We won it in 2016. We are fighting for the title every year. When you separate out Division 1 and Division 2 there’s not much difference between the top five teams in the league.”

Wet Socks playing
The Valley Wet Socks captain makes a catch at Diffodil 2023

You may not have seen Wet Socks or any of the other league teams at tournaments and that’s because the league sends a combined team. Cardiff’s tournament team has been very successful, winning Bronze tier at Leeds in 2022, Liverpool this year and most recently, the girls won the Single Sex Nationals held in Manchester.

“We formed the Cardiff League [tournament] team last year. So myself and the Red Sox captain, Sian, are the joint co-ed captains of the Cardiff fleet.”

They have their sights on the National League.

“That’s the plan. I’ve asked for the Cardiff team to be considered for NSL4 next year if it happens. Then start working our way up the divisions.”

I couldn’t help but ask if the team are, in fact, from the Valleys.

“So the only original Valley Wet Socks left are me, Nina, Trudi and Rhydian. So me and my mates were in America watching a game of softball in Central Park. So we’re all from Blackwood/Pontypridd area. And we thought this would be cool, we should do this when we get back home. I wonder if there is a league? And then one of the originals, Trudi, she said, ‘There’s one in Cardiff’ and that’s how it set up.”

Rob points to the logo on his shirt.

“So then it’s my little design of a mountain in a valley, a white socks on a washing line and a baseball in the background. So I had my mate design it for me. I just thought it was a bit of a piss take of the Boston Red Sox really. We are the boys who first set it up and we’re all from the Valley. The team’s evolved kind of thing over the years, where people come and go but this has been a [current] team now since about 2019.”

We look forward to seeing Cardiff at the NSL next year.

Bristol Bam

Bristol Bam logo

Est: 2020
League:
Bristol
Diffodil group:
C

Bristol Bam are a well known tournament team and pop up everywhere from Farnham Park to Edinburgh. We talk to Manchester player and Bam regular Ebraham “Ebby” Hassan (who plays for Barflies in MSL) about softball’s most colourful team.

“We’ve been going for four seasons now I think. We started as a tournament team, purely because we felt that Bristol needed one more tournament team. There’s Lucky Strikes and the Bees play.” Bristol Bees are an NSL3 team. “And the Strikes, they’re a well established high level team, so we needed something else. We formed initially as a tournament team and off the back of that we started a second team as well.”

Bristol Bam’s (yet unnamed) second team have their tournament debut at Bristol wRECk this year.

Bristol Bam's pitcher
Bam’s pitcher reaches for the ball at Diffodil 2023

“We have various players, initially from the Bristol leagues, div two and div 3. Mainly it’s a selection from various teams. People that got along with, we just invited them to come and play. We’ve got now, I think, fifty players on the roster. Now we’ve got a few players coming up from Cardiff. You see different people.”

Bristol Bam have been here, there and everywhere. They’ve played countless tournaments..

“Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester. I try to get to quite a few of the Farnham ones. We’ve done Edinburgh quite a few times. We did it the first couple of times as our lead team Run A Base and played once as the Flycatchers. And then once we formed the band, we’ve been playing ever since. We’ve going this year.”

Ebi throwing
Ebby

Bam’s appetite for tournaments is only slowed by the now very busy softball calendar creating event clashes. As well as being prolific on the tournament scene, Bam are well known for their bright yellow and pink kit.

“Well, I came up with your name originally, Bristol Bam, and it was always on the basis that I was a big Batman fan when I was growing up. Adam West’s. So the first variation we did was with a very simple kit with the Bam logo on the front. On the back was all the bad guys from the 1970s Batman. Not just the bad guys, but the bad ladies as well, of course. The villains, let’s say, from the Batman TV series. It’s gone down really well. Everyone’s always talking about it.”

Each Bam player has an acronym of BAM on the back of their shirt. For example, “Big ‘Ard Melons” works in fruit and veg wholesale (as well as sporting an hourglass figure!). Ebby waves at Adam, another player, who has “Big Ass Mofo” on his shirt. Ebby has “Breakfast Always McDonald’s” and the Bristolian greeting “Babber Alright Me’luvver!” Ebby has also designed Barflies’ new kit.

Bristol Bam are planning to come to Manchester main with a combined Bam and Barflies team named Bamflies.

Transformers

Transformsers logo

Est: Unknown
League:
Jersey
Diffodil group:
D

Jersey sent two tournament teams over to Diffodil, Transformers in D tier and Thundercats in C. Jersey Softball Association is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year and held an anniversary tournament at the end of April. Transformers had reached the cup final when MSL chatted to their captain.

“[Thundercats] is basically the same team every time, whereas this team, sort of everyone else who wanted to come. I’ve been playing for Robin as a captain for nine years and I’ve been running Transformers for two to help out.”

Transformers base running
A Transformers player makes the base at Diffodil 2023

Diffodil and Festiball (Edinburgh) have become Jersey’s main overseas tournaments since Bristol became a one day event. He says that they have also toured the US.

“I’ve done three in the US as well. It’s called the Ad Softball World Series. We take Thundercats away for that one. So there’s a few of us that have played over there. Different league!” he says, emphasising the step up. “You’ve got ex professionals playing. If you play in C or you play in B [in the UK] then they put you in D.”

The Transformers captain had to rush off to play their cup final. We hope to see a Jersey team in Manchester some time.

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