HOW IT ALL BEGAN...                                                   
The consensus is that it all just sort of happened (in 1957/58).  Neil Bricknell and Arthur Brear were playing football at Metro but softball elsewhere. Metro was a sports club that also catered for netball and cricket so “why not softball?”

A group got together at Burt Miles’ (pictured) place and decided to form a softball branch of the sports club. Two teams were entered, one being made up of current players who were entered in the second grade. A 500 pound ($1000) loan from the sports club saw them outfitted in a uniform of red and black halves made by Bev Williams.

Administratively, it was fairly informal after the first meeting - they just carried on and played ball. Not until the second year did they have an AGM and form a committee to run the sport. An advertisement in the local paper for players had an excellent response and saw the sport really take off. This expansion, especially on the junior side, was not without controversy. Every kid who joined was given a free glove much to the displeasure of Mr Rollinson on the sports club as his son played cricket.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ 

                                                ORIGINAL CLUBHOUSE                                                      
The clubrooms you see now have come a long, long way from the original old tractor shed that Ross Ardern remembers when he first joined the club in the early 1960’s.

“Before the development there was a canteen and little kitchen in the middle. You went in the door, turned right and stepped down. There was a dirt floor with old couches and chesterfields scattered around. A few rats also ran about. There was a bit of a shower on the side with a change room. The ladies used the toilet, the guys went round the back.”

A short time later, Bev Williams was offered a house, which was on a section in New Lynn. Les Mitchell, who made the offer said the club could have it for free but it had to be moved in two weeks as Sleepyhead, the owners of the house, were going to build a factory on the site.One week later a working bee was held, and the house was sawed in half from the roof down, the large brick chimney was dismantled and everything stripped ready to be transported to Phyllis Street. The folks in New Lynn had never seen anything quite like it, bodies everywhere.

A number of guys from the club spent hours after football training doing the clubhouse up.  Once the council put change rooms, showers and toilets in, it made a lot of room. Extensions followed in 1973 and additional alterations over the years have further improved this facility.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ 

                                               ORIGINAL UNIFORMS                                                         
The uniforms for the softball teams were drawn up and then came the problem of getting them organised. We decided on a red and black top with black trousers, and starting making a prototype. Material was sourced and the first sample was made. 

A workroom in Ponsonby was loaned to us, free of charge, for a number of weekends and the project began. A call was put out to players, wives, girlfriends etc for help and we set to work. The guys became cutters and anyone who could sew was on a machine. Amazing what you could do in those days when money was short but a great spirit prevailed in the club. We turned our teams out and with white skivvies under the tops the boys looked great.  I can remember seeing them walk out on to the diamond and all of us feeling so proud.

Over the years, these uniforms have changed in style and colour several times from black to white with red and black stripes. Today, the uniforms worn are predominantly black with red and white accents, with tee-ballers playing in Red. 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ 

                             GETTING IT TOGETHER - THE 60s AND 70s                                         
1962 saw the club having to spend money to provide bases and backstops which had previously been supplied by Auckland Softball. Uniform tops only were provided, with players having to supply the rest. Nine teams were fielded. 6 men’s teams – Major B, Second Grade, Fourth Grade, Sixth Grade (2 teams), and Eighth Grade and 3 women’s teams – Second, Third and Eighth Grade.

The Eighth Grade boys had a great season losing only one game and winning the Championship, Knock Out and Champion of Champions Kerry Carruthers became the official club mascot. 

Subs ranged from 5 shillings (50c) and one shilling (10c) a week for midgets to 5 pounds ($10) plus 2/6. (25c) per week for Major B and Second Grade.  Prizegiving cost 10 shillings ($1) a double and 5/- (50c) single. Hall hire was 3 pounds 10 shillings ($7) while the live band cost 6 pounds ($12)

Records for the next few years range from sketchy to non-existent but the Sixth Grade Ladies  won their championship in 1965 and the following year mowing equipment was purchased to a budget of $400. By the 1967/68 season, Metro had 10 teams, four senior men’s and two senior women’s plus three junior boys and one junior girls side.

Don Williams was appointed selector/coach for the ASA Senior Schoolgirls.

1968 saw the Te Atatu men’s teams from seventh grade up incorporated into the club who now fielded four men’s and two women’s senior sides and seven junior boys and one junior girls teams. By 1971, Metro had both men’s and women’s teams in the top ASA competitons and ten other sides.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ 

                                  THE GOLDEN YEARS - THE 70s AND 80s                                        

Although official records are somewhat reticent, much of the unheralded work done on and off the field during the 1960’s was about to bear fruit.

First to shine were the Major Ladies team. Eden had won the right to go to the Dustin Cup as Auckland champions but they chose not to go so Metro were offered the chance to go to Christchurch. Against all the odds and all the predictions they won! Many of the pundits and scribes had to eat their words of doom and gloom.

At prizegiving Paulette Walters and Jimmy Russ took home the major trophies.
The following year, they won the Auckland championship for the first time, a feat they were to repeat four more times (1947/75, 1976/77, 1980/81, 1984/85). They were to win the National Club Championship twice in a row (1985/86, 1986/87) after coming runners up for the five previous years.

In 1970 the club fielded four senior men’s teams, two senior women’s teams, four junior boys and one junior girls team. A decade later they fielded six senior men’s teams, four senior women’s teams, five junior boys and four junior girls teams.

Sue Jacobs was announced as Auckland Softballer of the Year for 1972/73 season, the first of many honours she was to win.
Letters were sent to Council regarding the building of a skin diamond.
Two championships were won in 1973/74, the Sixth Grade Girls and Eighth Grade Boys. The Premier men got a new coach – Russell Ewington, and thus began the saga of what was to be known in the popular press as “Ewington’s Circus” or “the Crazy Gang”. The team began to win consistently, culminating in the winning of the Auckland Championship in 1978/79. Other trophies they obtained included the Vic Guth, Pan Am InterCity and the Brother Patrick (twice).

The Premier women toured Australia in 1974/75 and the following year Sue Jacobs and Barbara Johnson were selected to represent New Zealand.
By 1978/79 the skin diamond was under construction and in addition to the men winning their first championship, the women won the Bonds Trophy in Christchurch. Championships also went to the Major 1 Men and Women and the Major 2 Women.
Steve Nicholas got his first call up to the New Zealand team.

1979/80 saw Russell Ewington stand down as coach of the Premier men. He was succeeded by Terry Skill. Deslea Wrathall and Debbie Mygind were selected to represent New Zealand. Bar Licencing was introduced and Metro was allowed to open from 4.30pm to 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday, but only on Sundays if games were being played.
Bar prices were set. Beer was 90c a bottle, spirits 45c a nip and soft drinks 30c.
Subscriptions ranged from $30 and 10 raffle books for the Premiers down to $25 and 5 raffle books for Minor Men while the Under14 to Under 16 paid $10.50. 
Prizegiving cost $16 a ticket.

The 1980/81 season saw Ross Ardern take over as Premier Men’s coach. Paulette Walters and Micky Brear got married but not to each other. Money was spent on the clubrooms with 100 new chairs ordered and the Sports Club paid for a glass washer for the bar.
The club organised and held an invitational tournament on Waitangi Day. Six men’s teams and six women’s teams participated. Junior prizegiving was held at Wenderholm. Raffles continued at the Westward Ho on a roster system and $7000 was granted to the sports club. Umpires were paid $2.50 per game.

New coaches for both the top men’s and women’s teams with the Late Ken Wheeler taking the men and Don Williams in charge of the women a the 1981/82 season began.
A colour TV was rented for $30 a month. Debbie Mygind and Edith Tuavera were both selected for the New Zealand team for the World Series in 1982/83. Jack Matenga was selected to represent New Zealand as was Robyn Rutter. Unfortunately the Waitangi Day Tournament had to be cancelled at the last minute due to clash with the Pan Am Inter-City.
Canadian pitcher Rick Cornelius had to leave suddenly due to a family bereavement.
$26,000 to $30,000 had to be found to pay for club extensions.

The skin diamond had been completed for some time but at the start of the 1983/84 season an outfield fence had to be built so that Premier games could be held there and the ASA charged $500 for the privilege. A diamond marking machine was built. Wrightcars came aboard as sponsor of the Premier teams. Sal Faleauto became a New Zealand representative.

The following season saw the Brothers club merge with Metro and it was decided to call the club Metro Brothers. This lasted the season before the name reverted to Metro College.
The Vic Guth was held at Metro’s grounds, the club received $300 hire fee. Wedding bells rang out for both Sue Grant and Robyn Rutter. Karen Mills, Tania Rhind and Dean Walley won New Zealand selection The Premier women won all the games they entered while winning the National Club Championships.

In 1986/87 Debbie Mygind and Lesley King set up a coaching scheme. Lesley took over as Premier Women’s coach after Don resigned. The 30th Anniversary of the club was celebrated with a tournament held in January and the women again toured Australia.
The 80’s closed with Fiona Timu receiving a New Zealand call up.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ ​​​​​​​_ _ _ _ 

                                     TURN OF THE CENTURY - THE 90s                                            

In the late 1980’s, softball was almost devastated by the rise in popularity of touch rugby.

Introduced for Australia, the sport took off as a way of getting exercise and staying fit. Most of the popularity was due to the minimal cost and time to play. All you needed was a t Shirt, shorts and trainers and the whole thing was over in under an hour. Compare that with softball with all it's equipment and uniform which together with club fees could set you back several hundred dollars.
While not affecting the top echelons, it devastated the lower grades with many players switching to the new sport, which was so much cheaper and took so little time. Recovery has been slow and numbers are still down. Lifestyle changes with longer working hours and less leisure time, have made it more difficult for people to devote the time to the sport.

The 90s saw many of the younger players at Metro elected for grade representative honours. Subscriptions had increased to $250 for Premiers by 1992 while the reserves paid $200, open grades $160, Under 19 and Students $120, Under 13- 17 $40, while juniors ranged from $30 to $10 for T Ball. They were trimmed back the following year to $170 for Premiers and Reserves, $120 for open grades, $70 for students and amongst the Junior sides for $40 for Under 17’s down to $10 for T Ball.  A social subscription of $20 was approved.

Team numbers had dropped to 5 boys, 2 girls and 2 mixed for juniors. The clubrooms were upgraded in 1993 with new carpet and an upgrade to the bar and a repainting of the walls. From the 1994/95 season the club changed its name to Metro Mt Albert Softball Club. Joel Carden became a New Zealand representative in 1997.  Again there is a paucity of relevant record keeping.  The new millennium continued to be difficult times for the club. It was brightened by the selection of three players, Dion Nukunuku, Karl Gollan and Roman Gabriel for New Zealand. The following year Bernard Hale joined the chosen few.