New sports craze attracting participants of all ages

The newly formed South Wales Rounders Association (SWRA) has seen the sport take off to such an extent in South Wales that they have attracted nearly 400 members in a matter of months.

The Rounders craze that began last November has seen the formation of 3 mixed gender leagues around Port Talbot. Within three weeks of launch, 152 players had registered, a figure that has now risen to 432 with the formation of 32 vibrant and diverse teams.

Founder of SWRA, Julie Clayden, said she has been blown away by interest in the sport in South Wales.

“Ages range from 19 to the oldest player being 64. The most popular age category is 36-45.

“Rounders is a truly accessible and inclusive sport with ambitions to incorporate walking and wheelchair Rounders in the future.  It’s fun and also supports mental and physical health.

“Around 70% of the teams did not know each other because they signed up as individuals – and a survey also revealed that around 75% of participants did not engage in any other physical activity/ sport on a weekly basis before joining.”

SWRA have further engaged participants into the sport by facilitating a team of 22 newly qualified umpires – all of whom have successfully completed their Level 1 qualification, and 19 have already gone on to complete Level 2.

Rounders is set to expand even more dramatically over the next 18 months with plans for new leagues to be added in Swansea, Swansea University, Bridgend, Neath and Cardiff.

Julie continues:

“When we set up the Association, there was zero guidance or support locally and it has taken some time to find the right people to help move rounders forward. The new SWRA has been grateful for guidance and advice from Rounders England, who are the only Rounders National Governing Body (NGB) in the UK, and we are especially grateful to Rhian Lilley, Director of Development at Rounders England for supporting our initiative.”

“We have to self fund for the first 2 years, then we are able to enter an 18-month application process to gain recognition that Rounders is an established sport in Wales. Without an NGB, the large sporting grant facilitators such as Sports Wales are currently unable to support us.”

Julie Clayden recently ran trials that attracted around 60 women in order to enter 3 teams into a Regional tournament organised by Rounders England, in a female-only competition that is being held in Leominster, Herefordshire.

The SWRA are currently fundraising to provide kit, transport, training facilities and equipment so that the teams are able to compete. Any donations to help make this happen are gratefully received and can be made via the Go Fund Me page:

To get involved with the sport, you can visit the group’s website or follow them on Facebook.