• Fun in the Sun attracts South Island softballers

Fun in the Sun attracts South Island softballers

Expect a festive atmosphere at the 40th edition of the Fun in the Sun softball tournament in Hastings this weekend.

The Akina Park-hosted event, which begins on Saturday at 9am and ends with 3pm finals on Sunday, has been promoted as softball's version of the New Zealand Sevens for the past decade. Players and supporters dress up in fancy costumes and for the majority of the teams the fun element is more important than registering the wins.

Teams try and out-dress each other and gauge who turns up with the best mascot. Sevens men's teams, five women's and four mixed teams will be in action this weekend.

"While we've had teams from Australia in the past this will be the first year we have had a side from the South Island." organiser Craig Waterhouse said referring to Canterbury mixed team The Swingers and Canterbury's men's grade side Jokers.

"Because they are travelling so far we expect them to be pretty handy," Waterhouse said.

As has been the case throughout the tournament's history New Zealand representatives must bat with their opposite hands and pitchers who have played at NFC or national interclub level aren't allowed to take the mound.

The women's and mixed teams will play in the same grade but on Sunday the top two mixed and top two women's teams will play for their respective titles.

In the women's grade Hawke's Bay's Monstars will aim for their 10th consecutive title. Hawke's Bay's former White Sox pitcher Michal Tangaroa will spearhead the assault of the Tangaroa Tribe team in the mixed grade.

The seven men's teams will play for the Stuart Hape Memorial Trophy. Waterhouse predicts Flaxmere and Saints B, the finalists in Hawke's Bay's senior B men's competition last weekend, to contest the final.

Several relations of Hape will turn out for the Paki Paki Allstars mixed grade team.