Swindon Bombers as Plate winners at Edinburgh’s Festiball 2023.
Photo credit: Edinburgh Softball League
Your roving reporter chats to Fiona and Alex of Swindon Bombers at Edinburgh’s Festiball about their love of tournaments, their development plan, and their own Zuckerberg!
So, Swindon Bombers, sometimes you’re Oxford Bombers?
Fiona: “Swindon Bombers is our Swindon league tournament team. Oxford Bombers was a bit of confusion at the Liverpool Shield. So me, Josh and Alex take turns to captain.”
Alex: “We have a close affiliation with Oxford.”
Fiona: “I decided to go over to play in Oxford after Covid and was put on the new Rebels team. I then invited the Rebels players along to play with us Bombers in tournaments. So we’ve got quite a few players that are known as both Bombers and Rebels. The combination of some of the high level of those players have made [the cut for] the Foxes, which is the new NSL3 team. Several of whom are here today.”
And the team itself has been going for how long?
Fiona: “Swindon Bombers has been going… When was our first wRECk tournament? Uh, 2018. ‘18 I think was the first year we did wRECk in Bristol. Then we did wRECk, Battitude and Cotswold Bowl in ‘19. Then Covid hit. And then we’ve done a lot more over the last two years.”
And as the league team, I presume going a lot longer?
Fiona: “Bombers was a league team until pre-Covid. Then we kind of took bombers into the tournament side and then, yeah, it isn’t actually in the league now as a team. So the Bombers are just a tournament affiliation. As a squad we’re made up of players from Spitfires and Cubs in our main league plus a few development division players.”
Are you enjoying Edinburgh this year? Did you play last year?
Alex: “I first came up when I was playing for Maidenhead in 2017 or ‘18. And I was co-captain of that team. I brought the team up, captained for the following year. But I brought in a load of people I’d met in the Swindon area and then I umpired last year ’cause I couldn’t get a team in, and brought Bombers this year. We love it. We love this tournament.”
Have you been Manchester way?
Fiona: “We haven’t. It’s on the list. We looked at the calendar this year and there was a couple that we normally do and it was more back to back travel. Yeah, we did Leeds and everyone really liked it. We chose Liverpool this year for the ‘different one’. There was something about the Manchester dates that didn’t work.”
I think NSL was the following weekend.
Fiona: “That’s what it was. There is an element of, actually, we want to try and do more different places, so we will be potentially coming to Manchester.”
I’m not aware of a Swindon League. Have you been around long?
Fiona: “You might be next year because we are hopefully going to affiliate [with BSF]. So we’re not as well known because we’re not in the [national] league. So we don’t get to the table, so it wasn’t official in that way. Down south we’re obviously known because we’re in the tournaments but obviously up north we don’t come up as much.
Swindon is now four teams in the main league and then we’ve got a development division of five teams. But we’re aiming to grow the main league. We’ve been between three and ten teams over the twenty years, it goes up and down. Daniel’s the chair of Swindon League, I’m the treasurer and we’ve been playing in the league for about fifteen years.”
Alex: “And the last couple of years you’ve been incredibly good at growing them. There’s four new teams, a whole raft of getting players into the game. So that’s been really good.”
Fiona: “Daniel’s got a development strategy. He’s got a big plan and that helps us to make our decisions. So we’re aiming to take over the world apparently.” She’s laughing. “We’re aiming to play softball, we’re aiming to make it accessible and fun. Daniel, he’s the quiet one on the hill.”
Alex: “Yeah, he’s sitting and computing the whole time.”
Fiona: “He’s usually in the background, I’m the voice. We’re very big on, you know, keeping the bigger picture and strategy in mind. We’re trying to create products effectively, thinking, who are they for? It’s got to be from a leader’s perspective, so we have our own opinions on what we want.”
Your own business analyst. We could do with one of those.
Fiona: “I mean, it’s true. It’s one of those things that until you’ve got it, you don’t even realise it was needed. Because when he first revealed his strategy to Kirsty, she, what did she call him then?” Fiona calls over to the hill. “Daniel, what did Kirsty call you that time?”
Daniel: “Uh, Dickhead?”
Alex: “No, no, the other time.”
Fiona: “Oh, Solution Architect. Every time we go, should we do that? It’s like, well, where does it fit in the big picture plan? We want elite coaching. You know, we’ve got some really good talent and we don’t have enough high level coaches.
Adam’s our Zuckerberg. He’s all about the socials. He built all our website and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. That came a few years ago, like it has been, it seems like everything’s within the last two years.”
So if you’re registering next season for BSF, are you going to look at the new NSL4 division there?
Fiona: “Josh, he was umpiring over there.” Fiona waves across the field. “He wants an NSL4 team. We’ve really enjoyed playing in NSL as Foxes. Yeah, it’s been really, really nice to play in. It’s weird to play softball for years, I’ve never even entertained doing it [NSL], but you get the right team, and suddenly you’re like, ‘Oh, actually, I do feel confident to play’. And I wouldn’t have before. But I think that’s what it’s all about. I’m all about team. I’m all about people.”
We look forward to seeing the Swindon Bombers in tournaments next season.
Swindon Softball League: https://www.swindonsoftball.com