U23 Men – History and Winners

Laing Harrow Shield
U23 Men’s Championship

Laing Harrow epitomizes all that is Australian men’s softball.  A consummate professional both on and off the diamond, there is no young softball player that does not know his name or aspire to be like him.

Laing immigrated to Australia in 1987 when Softball Canberra secured the coaching services of his father, Bob.  A year later he represented Australia at the 1988 ISF Men’s World Championship (Saskatoon, Canada) at the tender age of 18 years, after being selected from the ACT under 19 state team.

In an era where the Australian men’s softball program only generated activity within the twelve months leading into a world championship, Laing went on to represent Australia at the 1992 ISF Men’s World Championship (Manila, Phillipines) and captained the Australian men’s team to the 1996 ISF Men’s World Championship (Michigan, USA), which for the first time since their introduction to world championship competition, secured a final’s berth.

Laing retired from international competition after accumulating 37 caps for Australia.  Up until the 2004 ISF Men’s Softball World Championship in Christchurch, Canada, he was one of only three Australian men’s softball players to have participated in three senior men’s world championships.

Laing also stepped down from state competition in 1998 after 12 years service to the ACT which included three senior men’s national titles, 1998, 1990 and 1993, and two major awards – Best Batter 1998 and Most Valuable Player 1993.

In 2001, Laing was Assistant Coach under Lindsey Carroll of the victorious Australian under 19 men’s team who took gold at the VI ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Sydney.  He made his senior coaching debut alongside his father during a tour of New Zealand, also in 2001 which saw the Australian men’s team defeat the New Zealand Black Sox for the first time in their 13-year competitive history.

In addition to his Australian softball achievements, Laing has also represented the Canadian Youth team and Australia at senior and junior level in Ice Hockey.

In October 2002, Softball Canberra nominated Laing for ASF Hall of Fame membership for services rendered to softball.  His nomination was successful, and he became only the second male, and first male softball player to receive this national softball honour.

In 2003, Laing was further recognised with perhaps one of softball’s greatest honors: his name was bestowed on Australian softball’s newest men’s competition, the Australian Under 23 Men’s Fastpitch Championship, which shall forever be known as the Laing Harrow Shield.

In October the same year, Laing achieved the ultimate hat-trick when he became the first Australian men’s softball player to be inducted into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.


Championship Winners

2004 NSW in Sydney 2016 NSW in Sydney
2005 Australia U19 in Canberra 2017 Queensland in Brisbane
2006 ACT in Brisbane 2018 Queensland in Brisbane
2007 ACT in Melbourne 2019 Queensland in Brisbane
2008 ACT in Perth
2015 Queensland in Brisbane


Individual Award winners

Most Valuable Player
2004 Andrew Thurtell (NSW) 2016 Rhys Shelley (Qld)
2005 Andrew Kirkpatrick (ACT) 2017 Kurt Barbarich (WA)
2006 Nick Shailes (NSW Country) 2018 Brandon Goffer (Qld)
2007 Andrew Kirkpatrick (ACT) 2019 Izack Rossi (NSW)
2008 Damien Nairn (Qld)
2015 Josh Wagner (Qld)


Best Batter
2004 Jeff Goolagong (ACT) 2016 Hayden Mathews (NSW)
2005 Travis Southam (Aus U19) 2017 Kurt Barbarich (WA)
2006 Matt Norton (ACT) 2018 Brandon Goffer (Qld)
2007 Andrew Kirkpatrick (ACT) 2019 Ethan Field (Aus U17)
2008 Lewis Weldon (Vic)
2015 Ryan Merriman (Qld)


Best Pitcher
2004 Adam Folkard (ACT) 2016 Nathan Dickinson (NSW)
2005 Andrew Kirkpatrick (ACT) 2017 Marshall Kronk (Qld)
2006 Adam Folkard (ACT) 2018 Jarrod Russell (Qld)
2007 Andrew Kirkpatrick (ACT) 2019 Matthew Beach (NSW)
2008 Matt Stafford (ACT)
2015 Jeremy Jemmott (Qld)


Player of the Grand Final
2015 Danny Kronk (Qld) 2017 James Purcell (Qld)
2016 Leigh Halpin (NSW) 2018 Jourdyn Hollands (Qld)