Tonbridge baseball diamond honours inspirational ‘Mrs B’

Tonbridge baseball diamond honours inspirational 'Mrs B'

TONBRIDGE Baseball Club celebrated the opening of their new ‘diamond’ at the start of the new season this month – naming it Borley Field in honour of their founder Margaret Borley.


The Tonbridge Wildcats played their first home game of the year against the Brighton Jets at the renovated ground at The Slade.


Then the club’s other team in the British Baseball Federation Single-A Division, Tonbridge Bobcats, took on Guildford Millers.


The ground’s upgrade was jointly funded by the club, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Kent County Council and neighbours Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club.


The field was opened by the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Roger Dalton, who threw the ceremonial first pitch according to the sport’s tradition, amid cries of ‘sign him up’ from the players.


Andrew Mackay, Tonbridge Bobcats’ captain, said: ‘It was a wonderful day, the new diamond looked incredible in the sunshine and the fact we opened it with two wins just makes it more special. We are so pleased we were joined by ‘Mrs B’ as without her the team wouldn’t exist.


‘We are thrilled to be able to honour ‘Mrs B’ with this great new baseball field, it is a perfect reminder of her effort to establish baseball in Tonbridge and her continuing support for the club.’


The club Chairman, David Mote, added: ‘What a great day of baseball, two titanic tussles, two Tonbridge wins, and a brand new diamond. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen.’


Margaret, who received an OBE in recognition of her services to the sport, founded the Bobcats in 1982 after a holiday in the United States.


While she was looking for a coach, her sons convinced her to do the job because she had extensive coaching experience in field hockey.


Under her guidance, Tonbridge gained a reputation for producing talented young players, and many went on to play for the national side.


In 2009, Great Britain Baseball played in the World Cup with a roster that included two of her proteges, Alex Malihoudis and Will Lintern.


Lintern told the Times: ‘I would, of course, like to thank Margaret Borley, for without her efforts to establish baseball in my home town, I may not have continued to play following my move to the UK aged nine.


‘Tonbridge was less than five miles from my house, and without the easy access I may not have continued to play this great game.’


Margaret, who still attends home games and is honorary President, is recognised in both the British and American Baseball Halls of Fame.


In the first match, Brighton Jets took an early lead but Tonbridge roared back after the third innings with strong batting by Matt Styles, Chris Henderson, Gareth Nutt and Shaun Drury, who combined for five extra base hits and eight runs.


A good pitching performance from Nutt saw off a late rally from Brighton to secure a first win of the season for Tonbridge by a margin of 12-9.


Tonbridge teams have reached the Championship finals in each of the last three years, including winning the competition in 2015.


But the club is now having to adapt to a changing landscape in the county’s baseball after the formation of the Hadlow-based Kent Bucaneers, who recruited several former Tonbridge players.


Mackay said: ‘We have an eye on developing new players and putting the emphasis back on enjoyment of the game. We have had a lot of success by playing the right way and we are always looking to grow club membership.’


Open training sessions are held at Borley Field every Wednesday evening. For more information, email or visit

PICTURE: FIELD OF DREAMS: Club founder Margaret Borley with Mayor Roger Dalton

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter