AT A STRETCH Wildcats catcher Martin Barker slides into third base at Brentwood

TONBRIDGE Baseball Club will throw curve balls and steal bases on a new diamond next year after another successful season.

The club was set up 30 years ago by octogenarian Margaret Borley, and the fresh field of dreams at The Slade will be called Borley Field in her honour.

The new facility cost £12,000 to install, and Kent County Council has contributed a grant of £5,000.

The Wildcats team were runners-up in this season’s British Baseball Federation Double-A competition, losing to Leicester Blue Socks at the National Baseball Centre in Slough last month.

JERSEY ROYAL Margaret Borley MBE receives an honorary shirt from Ben Carter and captain Gareth Nutt

The sluggers and pitchers have been improving with every season. In 2015 they won the Single A league, one level lower down, and then last season the club fielded two teams for the first time and were runners-up in the Single A.

This year they also came second at the Ulster Baseball Tournament in Belfast.

They have also launched a youth section with 20 children coming along to be trained by accredited coaches who learned the game when Margaret taught them a quarter of a century ago.

Now 87, Margaret became the first person to be awarded an MBE for services to baseball in 2007.

TOP TEAM Tonbridge Wildcats, class of 2017

Dave Mote, one of the player-coaches who hails from Canada but only started playing for the first time aged 48, says the team is a mixture of young and old, men and women.

“It’s one of very few sports where you can have that sort of age range,” he says. “It’s a great team game and you don’t have to be that fit to play.

“It’s a good life-learning exercise and you get people coming along who would not normally paly any sport.”

For more information about the club, visit www.tonbridgebaseball.com