Rounders: it’s a sport most people have had some experience with at some point in time. Whether it was the default outdoor sport in PE during our GCSEs or a fun game played at Scout camps, or maybe that was just me? Anyhow, in another collegiate sporting success story for Constantine College, the Rounders team topped the league in style, only losing one game all season. Vision’s Sports Editor interviewed outgoing club Presidents Kyle Siwek and Beth Ferry as well as Constantine College President Tim Woodford (who is a member of the Rounders team) on their league-winning season.
Q: How competitive is collegiate rounders at the University of York?
Beth: Rounders is both the most, and least, competitive sport I’ve played at the University – it’s so much fun that you just naturally get caught up in the competitiveness of it! Everyone gets really stuck in, and it’s not so much an individual focus, it’s all for your team.
Kyle: College Rounders really brings out people’s college pride and competitive nature. We have some long-standing rivalries with other rounders teams (*cough cough* Langwith *cough*) which make for a very competitive league as we train hard and get very excited for particular matches. The fluid league table also makes for a very competitive league, which Beth and I really embrace.
Q: How proud are you of the team for winning the league?
Beth: So so proud!!! It’s been 3 years in the making for Kyle and I, initially placing third in our 1st year, second in our 2nd year, and finally we’re league winners in our final year! We’ve worked so hard, and we’re incredibly lucky to have had such incredible teams over this period, but especially this year. It was such a great environment turning up to a rounders match/training this year, so yeah, very proud!
Kyle: Winning the league has been a huge achievement for both myself personally, and those of us in this year’s team. We’ve trained really hard, and even bought Rounders skills books in order to help improve our technique (who knew Rounders was so complex…)?! Beth and I have led the team for three years, and to end on this high – and do it with such great people – has been amazing!
With England and Wales currently gripped in the Ashes fervour and the debates surrounding the efficiency of the England Cricket team’s entertaining ‘bazball’ tactics, I could not resist asking the following question:
Q: Any ‘bazball’ equivalents in Rounders?
Kyle: We field in a very particular way, trying to get the other team’s stronger batters out first in order to keep their weaker batters in for longer, which is of benefit to us. When batting, we try and make best use of the time, so minimise risk taking is the first few minutes. After which, we have a saying: “risk it for a biscuit”!
Not quite ‘bazball’ then, but both sports have the same fundamental basic skill. You’re not going to win if you can’t catch the balls!
Rounders, like cricket, are college sports not played at the intercollegiate Varsity with the University of Durham, owing to their status as ‘summer sports’ with Varsity played at the beginning of March (which is technically the winter season). However, it is not in the realms of impossibility for Rounders to be played in March if conditions are right. I asked Beth and Kyle whether they thought Rounders should be included in future Varsity competitions.
Q: Do you think Rounders should be played at Varsity?
Beth: Absolutely!!! Rounders is one of the most inclusive sports on the collegiate circuit, making it a fantastic way to get people involved who wouldn’t normally engage in sport. Valuable players aren’t your typical ‘good at sports’ student (I mean just look at Kyle…), so having a goal like Varsity would incentivise even more students to get involved, and inevitably fall for rounders!
Kyle: The best thing about rounders is that everyone is good at something; some people find their strength in a certain fielding position, others in batting, and others in bowling. This means that everyone can play as it doesn’t rely on a single [skillset]. Rounders is actually a very complicated sport, and is governed by a national regulatory body (Rounders England); the rule book is 52 pages long! When a sport like this is both so inclusive (anyone can play it) but also easily umpired, it makes perfect sense to include [it in future Varsities].
Q: Is it fair to describe Rounders as a ‘summer social sport’ or is there more to it than that?
Beth: The summer is certainly a big pulling factor for many people who come to rounders. It’s a great way to be out in the sun, and relieve stress before and during the summer term [assessment period], but it’s also so much more than that. The social aspect really extends over the whole year after, and it’s a shame there isn’t a way to play more through the year. You tend to meet close friends – I mean that’s how Kyle and I met in the first year – and it’s too long a wait to get back on the field.
Kyle: Whilst the stresses of the exam season and a desire to have fun in the sunny weather is certainly a draw for many, Beth and I have consistently tried to encourage a somewhat serious approach to the sport. We encourage regular attendance at training, and pick teams that we believe will enhance our competitiveness. It is also important to recognise that YUSU organise a separate ‘social rounders’ offering for those who just want to play the sport informally, so we like to view the college league as being more serious.
Kyle finished off the interview by praising the support the Rounders team have got from the college committee and hopes that the work that Beth and himself have done over their time at the University has helped institutionalise Rounders within the collegiate system as a fun but seriously competitive sport that anyone can get involved in!
Constantine College President Tim Woodford, a member of the league-winning side, added the following: It has been such a pleasure to work alongside, and play for, Beth and Kyle last season. Their passion, for the sport, alone exceeds everyone else I’ve ever met combined, they are a perfectly mental duo. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a league title than these two, and what a way to end their time at York! The college will miss them both very much.