1992 saw the debut of a new team to the British Baseball Federation……..the Guildford Mavericks
At the end of 1991, the Wokingham Millers who had competed for 4 years in Division 2 South of the BBF, were struggling with numbers, after several departures in the off season and were on the brink of folding. With about 7 players left on the team, a proposed relocation nearer to the homes of those that remained, was suggested.
At one point it was looking likely that the club would relocate to Farnborough as a school in Cove area had been identified. With plans then to start recruiting in the Farnbrorough, Aldershot, Woking and Guildford areas to establish the team which was to go under the new moniker of the Farnborough Angels, chance then stepped in
A group of Guildford based friends had the idea to form a baseball team. With little
except for enthusiasm, they applied to the British Baseball Federartion to have them accepted into Division 3 South. At this point the BBF arranged for the two clubs to get in touch with other……and to cut a long story short, a merger too place and a new club was formed. It took on the name of Guildford Mavericks (a name aleady in place for the Guildford based group), and took the place in Div 2 South, of the Wokingham Millers.
With Martin Roberts as Chairman and a committee of Richard Williams,
Trevor Goacher and a head coach of Nick Jolly, the new team made it’s BBF debut on a typcially wet April day at Waltham Abbey. The overiding memory, being one of hiding under the M25 for one of the many passing showers. Although this first game was lost, that turned out to be one of only a few over the course of the season, as the Mavericks put in a strong showing, and many of the new players took to the game very easily.
Standout performances on the field in that first season, came from SS Nick Henderson and OF Jim Llewellyn-Smith who lead the club offensively, whilst on the mound Dave Wallace was a revalation (and in future seasons would go on to throw the clubs only no-hitter). Behind the plate Mick Finn was oustanding, with an arm that all but stopped the running game. Having said that, the real stars were those whose efforts off the field of play enabled the club to put a team out and to put the games on. Richard and Trevor in particular did a lot of work with the ground. The home ground for that first season was Northmead Junior School, on Grange Road (on the other side of the tracks from the current Christs College). Martin as club chairman oversaw a lot of the procurement of club equipment (probably far too much off the back of his own financial support), and all the players helped out. Nick Jolly provided the experience to lead the team on the field of play and in general, the team grew from the simple fact of playing games. This was in the days pre-internet, so all communications were by phone or post. The club magazine of the Goat…..not G.O.A.T. saw it’s debut and was more a comment about some of the lack of experience that must have been shown at the time. One thing that was interesting to note, is that the lower leagues were no more supported by the BBF back then they are currently. Umpires were provided by the home team, and coaching consisted of whatever books players could lay their hands, which was typcially from the likes of SportsPages or bought in the US, and everyone learnt as they went.