Northern Gauteng cover all bases

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Northern Gauteng have increased their odds of winning the men's category of the yearly Gordon Monk Softball Tournament in Ekurhuleni this weekend by entering two teams in this section.

Last year they sent one team and failed to win a medal but their president, Andre Wessels, is adamant having two clubs this year will give them a great shot at victory.

Twenty-three provincial teams will compete in the tournament that pitches off at the Red Sox softball diamonds in Kempton Park on Friday, with the finals scheduled for Sunday.

KwaZulu-Natal will defend the men's title.

Hosts Eastern Gauteng, Central Gauteng, Limpopo and Eastern Cape have also confirmed their participation in this section.

Maxwell Masheula, Eastern Gauteng Softball Union's president, told Sowetan yesterday they hoped to win the tournament despite the fact that Northern Gauteng will have more representatives.

The Easterns finished second in the last instalment of the showpiece, staged in commemoration of the late Gordon Monk.

Monk was a softballer of note and later became an administrator in Eastern Gauteng.

Masheula said teams were allowed to field two clubs in each or more divisions.

This tournament is crucial for men's teams since Softball South Africa's selectors will use it to select the squad for the ISF World Men's Championship that will be held in Canada in June.

The players will also use it to test their strength for the national championships in Edenvale in March.

The men's under-23 teams will compete in the Reserve League in the Kempton Park event.

These teams are Eastern Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Central Gauteng, Northern Gauteng and Limpopo.

KwaZulu-Natal will also be out to defend their women's title but Northern Gauteng are expected to go for the jugular to dethrone them after they finished second last term.

Eastern Gauteng won a bronze medal in this section last year and are also strong contenders for gold this time round.