A composite Whanganui softball team was on international duty at the weekend providing much-needed warm-up action for visitors competing in the U18 Men's Softball World Cup in Palmerston North from February 22 to March 1.

Players from the Athletic, Castlecliff Club Mustangs, Ezi Finance Braves and Palmerston North-based Dodgers combined to give teams from Japan and Canada game time ahead of the world junior series starting on Saturday.

Whanganui pitcher Danny Green serves one up to Canada during a warm-up game to the U18 Men's Softball World Cup in Palmerston North.
Whanganui pitcher Danny Green serves one up to Canada during a warm-up game to the U18 Men's Softball World Cup in Palmerston North.

Normally the Whanganui players would be competing in the Manawatu senior men's softball league which was suspended to allow warm-up games for the internationals.

Teams from Palmerston North-based sides Bluesox, Huia Chiefs and Kingswood also faced up against juniors from Argentina, Australia and, of course, New Zealand.

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Defending champions Japan warm up against Huia Chiefs ahead of the 2020 U18 Men's Softball World Cup that begins in Palmerston North this weekend.
Defending champions Japan warm up against Huia Chiefs ahead of the 2020 U18 Men's Softball World Cup that begins in Palmerston North this weekend.

Co-coached by Kay Kotuhi-Brown and Ricky Boniface, the composite Whanganui side was roundly beaten by the international rivals, but gained invaluable experience along the way.

"They got to play teams they would not normally ever meet, so it was great experience for our men," Kotuhi-Brown said.

"Games were played in Palmerston North and Levin while we also hosted Australia here in Whanganui yesterday (Monday). The only Whanganui team to play in the normal Manawatu league were our Athletic women in the premier grade and they won 15-0 against Kingswood Angels."