The New Zealand Evergreen Softball Association is a national softball association consisting of former major A softball representatives across different provinces.
Formation and Historical Facts
In 1962, after that year’s game, a group of men gathered at one of the old Broadway clubrooms for a discussion on how former softball players from Auckland and Wellington could meet for a yearly tournament. The team was represented by the likes of Jack Shanks, Bert Chote, and Alf Whelan from Auckland plus Ray McRandall, Norm Laws, Bryan Furness, and Harry Atkin from Wellington.
Ken Morgan, an umpire-in-chief, helped in bringing together the first-ever 1963 Evergreen tournament that took place in Taumarunui. The games were played during that year’s Easter weekend.
For the association to have a stable beginning, some simple ground rules were set by the founding team. At least the rules would help to make sure that everyone was treated equally. To join the association, a player had to have played as a major A representative of their province. However, you need to have been out of the representative tournaments for two years. Age was not a matter of concern.
In the next seven years, until 1970, the Evergreen games were hosted by either Te Kuiti or Taumarunui, and both the Auckland and Wellington teams had an equal chance at taking the trophy home. The weekend started on Thursdays when the players arrived. Friday would be a prepping day for the Saturday games, which could sometimes extend to Sunday mornings. The teams would then head home on Sunday afternoons.
Tom Voyle of Waikato called the team in 1971, hoping to bring together the 1950s and 60s players. That year, the tournament had four teams, including the Hutt Valley squad. The games continued to grow with Bryan Furness being the first-ever National Secretary. Today, up to 16 teams participate in the Evergreen tournaments.