2016, the 112th season of Sydney University Baseball Club, was a bountiful one. Premierships for 3rd and 4th Grade, a Bronze Medal at AUG’s and retention of the Uni Cup provided additional hardware for the University’s trophy cabinet.
Other highlights included: our first University Gold recipient in a decade; forging a strong sponsorship partnership with The West Village; raising $895 for charity on Ladies’ Day; accessing elite batting facilities at Oval #2; and a brand new website sydneybaseball.com.
The club is fortunate to have the dedication and support of so many individuals and organisations, to which I would like to offer my personal thanks: Executive Committee, Coaches, Managers, Delegates, Players, Scorers, Umpires, Spectators, Sponsors, Photographers, Social Media Team, Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness, Baseball Australia, Sydney Winter Baseball League, Pacific Coast Baseball League, UNSW Baseball/Softball Club, anyone who picked up a rake, or washed a uniform, or cooked a sausage, or contributed to our club throughout the season.
Whilst it would be fitting to expound on all those listed above, my shabby writing would not do their contributions justice. However, there were three key role changes in 2016, that I would like to elaborate upon.
My predecessor Huw McKay: pillar of the club, captain, statesman, historian, perennial corner of the 1st Grade infield, and inarguably our best player of the 21st century. Thank you for your blessing and guidance in passing down the role of President. I hope that establishing a Cynics franchise in Singapore has been rewarding for yourself and Yolande.
Our outgoing Head Coach Jason Moir, who embodies the Cynics spirit and worth more to his players than his self-deprecating assessment of "just a dumb truck driver". Regardless of pedigree, if you're swinging a hot bat, Jason will send you to the plate in a big spot. Or, if he thinks you’ll get him an out, he'll put you on the hill. Personally, Jason has been a large figure in my own baseball career, and I consider him one of my truest mates. It's been a privilege to share the diamond with him for the past 13 years, and on behalf of Sydney Uni Baseball Club I'd like to thank Jason for his tremendous contributions; we hope you enjoy retirement.
Our incoming Head Coach, Mitchell Liddle, a Sydney Uni Graduate, Elite Athlete Scholarship recipient and intervarsity Green & Gold. Aside from his decorated Cynics career and being instrumental in our recent 2nd/3rd Grade premierships, Mitchell has devoted 30+ years playing and coaching for the Orioles, and was the inaugural Head Coach of West Sydney Boomers. Mitch is innovative, tactical, a players’ coach, and has the full endorsement of our committee. I urge you all to congratulate Mitch on his appointment.
Following our Presentation Night in early September, there were two additional achievements which have not been widely publicised.
Anthony Gray was merited with a University Gold for his service to the club (our first Gold since his older brother James in 2006). Anthony raised the bar for the role of Secretary, and was so good that he retained some of his duties after graduation whilst serving on the Executive Committee. Anthony's lasting legacy will be his role in organising our Centenary celebration in 2004 and involvement in instituting many of our club's traditions, including: The University Cup vs UNSW, Ladies' Day and the Ron Rushbrooke scholarship. Congratulations Tony, it was a privilege to nominate you for the honour.
Sydney University allegedly committed larceny at the 2016 Australian University Games, absconding from Perth with a Bronze Medal. Following a 1-3 start to their intervarsity campaign, the students proceeded to win their next four games to scrape into the 3rd place playoff; ultimately defeating the University of Newcastle 5-0. Congratulations to Alex Cobb for being named in the Green & Gold squad. An asterisk accompanies these results, as the squad failed to earn the Tin Medal for off-field performance; reportedly there were casualties galore in the pubs of Western Australia!
2017 promises to be an exciting campaign, and we’re expecting many of our younger talents to become difference makers on the diamond. We continue our search for a new home ground, with potential solutions on the horizon. Other areas of focus will include: increasing student participation; promoting scholarship opportunities; and connecting further with our alumni.
I wish you all success in the 113th year of Sydney University Baseball Club.