Hurricanes thriving but founder issues plea for, ‘home of our own’ to help youngsters progress

Hurricanes thriving but founder issues plea for, ‘home of our own’ to help youngsters progress

Young players from Hurricanes Youth Baseball Club

Hurricanes Junior Baseball Club may be flying high but founder Jon Carter has issued a plea for help stating, “we need a home of our own”.

The Tonbridge-based outfit have more than 30 juniors who regularly play the sport which has traditionally thrived in Kent since respected and much-loved baseball legend Margaret Borley founded Tonbridge Baseball Club in 1982 after coming back from a family holiday in America.

The Tonbridge Baseball Club still play at Borley Field while the Hurricanes use the Longmead Sports Ground in the north of the town but they are not allowed to stage matches there so only play away games.

The Hurricanes were formed in 2015 by Tonbridge native Carter and the club are owned and run by him and his brother Ben, while another brother, Nick – a mainstay and dominant figure for the GB national team all through the 1990s – has joined the coaching staff in an advisory role.

Jon and Ben are also former GB internationals, as well as BSUK (BaseballSoftballUK ) coaches and DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) Enhanced Certified.

The Hurricanes are registered and insured through the British Baseball Federation while they are a registered Chartered Club through BaseballSoftballUK.
During the club’s existence the children – boys and girls aged five to 14 years – have led a nomadic life due to there being no available space to create a youth ‘diamond’.

Jon Carter explained: “The club desperately need to find a venue and this could be council, private, or school land as we have aspirations of forming an adult Hurricanes team to allow a natural progression for youth players. There are adult diamonds in Tonbridge, Hadlow & Hoo Institute but these aren’t really fit for purpose for children.

“I started playing because of Margaret Borley who started a club in Tonbridge almost 40 years ago. So Tonbridge and Kent is a real hotbed of talent.
“That’s how it’s really spiralled. Over the years so many people in the Kent area have been playing baseball.

“The club don’t play in a league but we are hoping to next year. For now, the kids need to get more experience. And it’s really that we haven’t got a home ground that’s a youth diamond. You can play off the adult diamond which is what we’ve been doing but the difference is the size. Ideally what we’d like to do is to have enough space to have an adult diamond, as we want to form an adult team, and play youth off of that diamond as well.

“But trying to find any type of field that’s available, I’m finding it almost impossible.”

Discussing Longmead he added: “We literally just go to the field, we put bases down but there’s no fencing in or facilities there for us, so it’s not ideal. I’ve asked the council whether we can play games there and they’ve said, ‘well, no, because there’s no free space.’ It’s more because of football and other sports.

“I played football myself when I was younger. I get the fact there is a lot of football being played but surely they could give us one football pitch somewhere in Kent to allow us to play. I know it’s a minority sport but it will always be a minority sport so long as there’s not a venue for it.

“We would love someone to come forward, either the council to let us use an open field and set up for matches, or anybody who has a bit of private land which we can rent off them. For now we can only play away fixtures. It would make such a difference.

“Tonbridge Baseball Club did allow us to use their diamond for one game, but we don’t have an affiliation with them, we are a stand-alone club, and I’m not sure they would allow us to play their regularly if I’m honest and ideally we would like a home of our own.”

Anybody who can help can contact the club via email address or speak to Jon Carter on 07860 687791.

Hurricanes Youth Baseball Club are based in Tonbridge, Kent.

2021-07-27 13:44:55

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