Donyatt-Burstwick Baseball Club is a baseball team located in Burstwick, Donyatt, Ianoia. They are one of ten clubs that founded the I-League in 1900, and the first team to be voted out of the league.
The origins of the club can be traced back to 1894 when Tim Parry, a visionary baseball enthusiast, formed the team under the name Donyatt Baseball Club. The choice of the name aimed to encompass the entire county of Donyatt, reflecting the ambition and aspirations of the team.
In its early years, Donyatt BC achieved remarkable success and quickly garnered a devoted following. The team’s performances on the field captured the hearts of the local community, and their popularity soared as enthusiastic supporters and curious onlookers flocked to witness their games. In 1896, the club joined the Ianoia Baseball Circuit and after an average campaign in their debut season, won the 1897 championship.
However, a significant hurdle emerged in late-1897 when the city government enacted a ban on the team playing games at Walton Heath. The ban was enforced due to a technicality related to the team’s name, as it did not explicitly include “Burstwick”, something the local government wanted to emphasize. With no suitable alternative venues within the city, Tim Parry made the difficult decision to relocate the team’s operations to Stourport, situated approximately an hour east of Burstwick.
Unfortunately, the move had an adverse impact on the team’s fortunes off the field. Fan interest plummeted, and the club struggled to attract sizeable crowds and exhibition game opportunities despite winning their second straight championship in 1898.
In December 1899, after protracted negotiations, an agreement was reached that allowed Donyatt Baseball Club to return to their beloved home ground, Walton Heath. However, in order to comply with the city government’s requirements and regain their playing privileges, the team underwent a name change, becoming known as Donyatt-Burstwick Baseball Club.
The team’s popularity, however, continued to decline even after their admission into the prestigious I-League in 1900. The shift to the more modern, professional league, while a significant milestone for Donyatt-Burstwick, resulted in the dilution of the team’s local fan base. The allure of the I-League and its larger market drew attention away from the once-cherished local team, especially as the on-field performances declined.
Tragically, despite their rich history and contributions to the sport, Donyatt-Burstwick Baseball Club faced a disappointing fate within the I-League. Over time, interest in the team waned, and their performances on the field failed to capture the attention of fans and fellow teams. Ultimately, they became the first team to be voted out of the league, marking a bittersweet end to their involvement in the esteemed competition. They joined the Nationwide Baseball Alliance until it merged with the I-League, becoming the second tier of professional baseball within Ianoia.
Walton Heath Ballpark, usually known as just Walton Heath, is the home stadium of Donyatt-Burstwick, and is nestled on the outskirts, occupying a piece of old swampland that was reclaimed from a former quarry. Transportation options to Walton Heath Ballpark are convenient due to its proximity to the railway line in the northwest of the city. Fans can easily access the stadium using the dedicated train station located within walking distance of the ballpark.
One quirky piece of merchandise that has become popular among Donyatt-Burstwick fans is the “Quarry Cap.” This unique baseball cap pays homage to the stadium’s history, featuring a playful design with a miniature quarry truck perched atop the brim. The Quarry Cap has become a symbol of pride and camaraderie among Burstwick locals. A capacity of 39,600 surrounds the playing area which allows for a slightly higher number of home runs in left field.
The team is affectionately known as the Sharks.