The MSL 2023 season starts in April!
The league opens with the Manchester First Ball Tournament on April 22nd and 23rd. Registration is expected to open in February. The league starts on Tuesday April 25th at Parrs Wood for divisions 3 and 4 and on Wednesday 26th at Wythenshawe Sports Ground for divisions 1 and 2.
Keep an eye on the fixtures page for game week dates, MSL tournaments and our well loved away days at tournaments hosted by other leagues and organisations.
Looking for a team? Looking for players? Ask in the MSL Players Wanted Facebook group.
Travelling Dodgers to defend championship
League winners Travelling Dodgers will be looking to retain their title after finishing two points ahead of second place Mavericks in August. They ended the season with a whopping run differential of 97. We catch up with Travelling Dodgers’ captain Jonny Huck on their success.
“I expect a hard season fighting it out with Mavs, Thunder and Camels.”
Travelling Dodgers are a relatively new team, when did they form?
“We are a weird team we started off as an off shoot of Manchester [Jammy] Dodgers – that is how Travelling Dodgers were started [as a tournament team]. With NSL1 the tournament team got bigger than the league team and we had to make hard tough decisions regards whether we wanted to be best in country – we won NSL1 league in 2019 and NSL1 nationals in 2021 to qualify for Europe next year. I wanted to have the roots of the team in Manchester, where a lot of the team is based and the aim with the league team is to be successful in its own right but also feed into national level softball.”
Travelling Dodgers will be aiming to retain their title next year. Who are your biggest challengers?
“We will be hoping to retain the title, however, we are aware that hasn’t been done for a few years. We welcome back Rachael Shkurko from an ACL injury but have lost Sara Al-wagfi to Tigers, which is a big loss. We have some rookies last year and they have a year under their belt, which is positive. It will be hard as I hear Thunder and Camels have been recruiting well. I expect a hard season fighting it out with Mavs, Thunder and Camels.”
You have some impressive hitters, both Large and Small Ball. Is it true that on the Leeds Tournament someone hit a pitch out of the park and into the ground’s cricket pitch?
“Yeah, wind assisted! We have one of the most talented players in the country in Dan Downes.”
As a tournament team, you are travelling to Europe next year?
“Yeah, as a team it is a big year as we get to play in Europe as a result of winning NSL1 nationals [in 2021]. Super excited for it as will be the first time experiencing it. There is a different host each year but rumour has it that it will be in Italy.”
Meerkats Aim to Survive
“If she can’t stop it with her glove, she uses whichever part of her body is closest. No fear!”
The Division One teams will be joined by the Meerkats and Speeders from Division 2. The Meerkats are heading for their fourth stint in Division 1. Captain Sonia Hine is optimistic of their survival next season.
“Going into Div 1 this time, we are looking in a more healthy position. As of now we have gained Carlos, formerly Bats, and we also have our US SS (short stop) superstar Keith. We are hoping to be more competitive this time, with more depth of squad for the guys, plus our newest recruit Jess will be back, and the wall Kate Barlow, will hopefully come out of hibernation as fearless as ever.”
I couldn’t help but ask what gained Kate the nickname “The Wall”.
“Kate Barlow is solid on 3B (third base). If she can’t stop it with her glove, she uses whichever part of her body is closest. No fear!”
Big Ambitions for Didsbury Bats
“We aim to beat everyone, though we expect all the games to be tough!”
Didsbury Bats, Hackers and Mayhem Freeze have been promoted to Division 2. Didsbury Bats’ Jerry Seabridge is confident that his team will continue their winning streak. “The Bats hope to continue to win now we are promoted to Division 2. 2022 was a major rebuild for the team after failing to properly prepare for the post-Covid return in 2021. The squad is much stronger and are committed to doing as well as they can. That said, as ever we’re always on the lookout for new players, especially those wanting to improve.” It seems that no one is a threat to the Bats adding, “We aim to beat everyone though, we expect all the games to be tough!”
“There are no easy matches in Division 3 and no club is too big to go down.”
Sluggababes to give 110%
Rookie team Sluggababes took the top spot in their first season to reach division 3. Screwballs and Tiggers will follow them out of the bottom tier. Co-captain Matt Tanner explains their meteoric rise.
“We formed as a new team for indoor Autumn 2021 and are made up of some players from what was Thunder IV, a part-flock of Seagulls, and some completely new players.”
Despite having a relatively inexperienced team, Matt is looking forward to next season.
“Well there are no easy matches in Division 3 and no club is too big to go down, so we’re just going to take each game as it comes, go out there and give 110%, and leave it all on the field.”
Sluggababes are known for their exuberant cheering and support of their team mates during play. I asked if their enthusiasm contributed to their promotion.
“I do think our team spirit contributed to our success last season. We try to make it so that everybody feels like they belong, that it’s their team as much as everyone else’s. And we all play mainly to have fun, so we try to keep it light and encourage each other so that even if we lose at least we’re enjoying ourselves.”