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Rounders boom due to demand for sociable sport

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They play every week and bid to outdo each other as much with their names as on the scoreboard.

Base Invaders v Son Of A Pitch. Drum and Bases v Saved By The Balls. Bats Hit Crazy v The Merry Go Rounders.

Or maybe you would prefer to be part of Base City Rollers? Or Positive Battitudes? Perhaps, Bat To The Future?

This is rounders, the sport that most people probably played – and enjoyed – at some point during their schooldays, which is now being resurrected, organised, polished, and given a new lease of life across South Wales.

Some play in all-female teams. Some are mixed. Most have an age-range that allows mothers to play with sons and daughters, fathers to play with nieces, or even some whose schooldays are long behind them, to smash it up with their grandkids.

They generally play outdoors in the summer and indoors when the days get shorter and the weather turns.

a woman in a number 9 bib holding out a rounders bat, ready to hit the ball


It started out as a vague idea mentioned down on Aberavon beach by a former football coach, Julie Clayden.

That was last November – just 10 months ago. 

Since then, My Rounders has mushroomed into 73 registered teams playing in eight separate leagues with over 1,200 players.

“There was a demand out there for a social sport that would be fun to play, but which would also help your fitness,” says Julie.

“I put a post on social media and within three weeks I had 152 people who wanted to play. Most people remember rounders from their younger days and the fun it gave them.”

That was the spark for the Port Talbot League, played at Aberavon Leisure Centre. Next came Gowerton near Swansea, Pontardawe, Neath and there are leagues on the way for Bridgend, Cardiff and Barry.

For those who have long forgotten, rounders is a sport that involves nine players in a team, a bat, a ball, four bases in a diamond-shape, a pitcher or bowler, and an umpire.

Each batter tries to get around the four bases to earn a point or rounder and the team with the most rounders after an agreed number of innings is the winner.

Teams can be same-sex or mixed. My Rounders allows each team to include a maximum of three male players, but they also run separate women-only teams and leagues.

“Rounders is just a really accessible, social sport that everyone seems to enjoy,” says Julie.

“People love the fact that it is for all ages, and all levels of fitness. We have attracted some people who are quite fit and active and play other sports too, but we also have many more players who wanted the friendship aspect and the fun element – particularly among their friends and families, or workmates.

“When we started at Aberavon Leisure Centre, we had a viewing gallery and it was great that a single mum could come along, play rounders, and have her kids cheer her on from the viewing gallery where they were safe and sound.

“You don’t get many sports as sociable as rounders, the rules are simple and people just seem to love it.”

Like every organised sport, My Rounders needs officials and umpires to help it run smoothly, which is why they offer training for umpires to officiate.

My Rounders book the venues, supply the umpires, and even help form teams if an individual wants to play but doesn’t have other ready-made teammates.

Costs are around £50 per week per team, which works out between £4 and £5 for each player.

So, what about the players? Who are they and why do they play rounders?

Natalie Edwards on a field wearing an orange bib with the number 5 printed on it, holding a rounders bat and smiling for the camera.
Natalie Edwards
Danny James standing on a pitch, smiling at the camera whilst people play rounders behind him
Danny James

Natalie Edwards – Bats Hit Crazy

I used to play rounders with my mum when I was little. She would have loved organised leagues like this.

I’m 42, I’m a mum and I’m deemed overweight. 

There isn't really any team sport for people like me, there just isn't. I could probably go and play tennis with one other person, or badminton. 

I could do running, but rounders is the only thing that I can do as part of a team and that’s why I love it.

I suppose there’s netball, and maybe football for women now, but it just felt to me there was a clean slate with rounders and everybody was on the same level.

My husband has started playing and so does my nine-year-old. How many other sports can you say that about?

There are people of all different fitness levels, all different abilities, and I see that all the time because I also umpire.

It’s just a fantastic sport.

Danny James – Base Invaders

I heard about the rounders leagues on Facebook and my wife, my sisters and my daughters all said they’d like to play so a few of us decided to register a team.

I ended up being captain of the team because I was the one who registered. But at first, we got hammered every week!

We started practicing a bit more and slowly started improving.

It was the talk of the town in Port Talbot and the numbers of teams and players just really took off.

I think it’s because it’s so social. You’re playing sport, but you’re having fun with your family and friends.

I took a bit of ribbing from my mates when I started playing, but the next thing I knew I was on all the posters!

I’m recently retired, but I’ve done all sports over the years – football, karate, golf. 

Rounders is very sociable. Some teams stay around afterwards and chat with tea and cake and when I went to the presentation evening at the end of last season, it was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had!

I’ve played team sports all my life, but I’ve always noticed that there were never many organised team sports for women, so this is great.

Some people I know who play this have tough lives. They live alone, they don’t have much money, they don’t get to socialize very much.

But rounders has been a godsend for them and to see that is quite uplifting.

With my wife and daughters playing, I’d say about 30 per cent of our conversation in the house now is about rounders!

Women on a field playing a game of rounders
Kathy Griffiths smiling for the camera, tossing a rounders ball in the air.
Kathy Griffiths

Kathy Griffiths – Base City Rollers and Your Base Or Mine

Rounders has just exploded and I know some people who are playing four times a week!

It’s almost become slightly cultish, but the attractions are so obvious and it’s just so much fun to play.

Our daughter, Stella is at university in Portsmouth and she started playing there. It sounded great and I was a little bit jealous, because I loved rounders at school.

Then, a friend of mine mentioned she played in a league in Port Talbot and I told her I would love to do that.

So, I put my name down, with one of my mates, and I haven’t looked back since!

The reason I love it so much is that I’m playing in a team with my son, Dan, and Stella. What other sport can you play competitively with two 20-year-olds in your own family – one a boy and the other a girl?

There’s also a husband and wife who play in our team. I think I might be able to persuade my husband to play, soon.

There are all ages playing- and all shapes and sizes. Some are sporty, others haven’t done any sport for years.

No-one cares and no-one judges. It’s just great fun.

I am a 57-year-old and I’m not the oldest playing by a long stretch. It’s active and very sociable because you get to know people.

It’s just such a sociable sport. Everyone who plays feels like they have made some contribution, even if it was just one thing they did in fielding or one hit with the bat.

It’s just reminded me how much I love being part of a team sport.

I’ve had years standing on the touchline, watching my kids do sport, and now I feel like it’s my time. 

If kids can see their mum is carrying on doing some sport when they are 40 or 50 years old, then that’s a great message for them to carry on doing sport, too.

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