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Official Review by Kirsten Richards, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Brisbane Bandits moved into Holloway Field in the 2013/14 season to share with the Windsor Royals state league team, who have been playing at Holloway since it was built for them in 1964. Prior to 2013/14, the Bandits had been playing at the RNA Showgrounds.
Holloway Field is very inviting, with views into the ballpark from the surrounding area and a lovely overview of the ground from just inside the gate. Some of the finishing on the infrastructure was new for the 2013/14 season, such as the brick around the dugouts, the outfield fences and the general admission seating, which brought the capacity up to 1,600.
New work for the 2014/15 season included significantly upgraded lighting and further reducing viewing obstructions around the ground by moving and upgrading the lighting. After the 2014 MLB Opening Day in Sydney the foul poles used for that event were brought to Brisbane and installed at Holloway Field. Further upgrades for the ballpark are planned.
In the 2014/15 season the Bandits announced a partnership with the Brothers NRL bid team to create the Brisbane Bandits Brothers Sports Club in Grange, which makes the Bandits the first ABL club to have a branded social venue for social members. Watching the Bandits grow and innovate is a real pleasure.
Holloway Field is very cozy with a strong family/summer vibe. The food trucks are excellent and the fans get loud when the Bandits are on a roll. Every seat in the house is close to the action and has a good view of the field. This is a recommended venue for getting the feel of the Australian Baseball League.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Bandits have a wide variety of food trucks over the course of the series. Wood fired pizzas ($10-$15), Taiwanese-style fried rice ($6-$10), pork buns ($4), filled bagels ($6-$12), American style BBQ ribs and pulled pork ($10-$12), shaved ice and ice cream, and coffee ($4) are amongst the many delicacies you can acquire at a Bandits game.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, hot chips and nachos are available as well, for those who like the more traditional kiosk food.
The bar is well-stocked with beers and ciders ($7), sodas and cans of pre-mixed liquor ($10).
The food variety and quality at the Brisbane Bandits is the best in the league for the 2014/15 season.
Holloway Field is a small stadium that doesn't need a huge crowd to feel full. The field is in a bit of a dip in the landscape, which only adds to the cozy, outside-of-regular-life feel of the stadium.
Suburbia is just over the fence. There are large trees, and a soccer stadium just beyond the outfield fence and houses up on the hill past the entry. As you walk into the stadium, the merchandise table is on your left and there is a clear view of the field over the chainlink fence. Closer to the field the food trucks are on the left and the wheelchair area is up against the fence on the right.
The majority of the seating is on the first base side, which is the first to get shade. The third base side stays in sun longer and faces directly into the sunset. The start time of the games is fairly late in the afternoon, so that is not an issue for very long. The space between the seats is not generous and getting in and out of the rows with a solid crowd can be a bit of a challenge.
The reserved seating area is under a shade shelter rather than a hard cover.
The concourses at Holloway Field are not particularly narrow, but they play host to a number of things that limit maneuverability, such as a bar and a couple of the corporate hospitality suites. This area is not designed for people to pass through from one side to another.
A corridor on the first base side leads to the back of the grandstand. There is a set of stairs leading down from the third base side grandstand to the back of the stadium also. Bathrooms and a buzzing catering area are located under the back of the stands. More bathrooms are provided behind third base as the ones under the stadium are seriously underwhelming and insufficient.
The area behind the stadium also provides a bit of relief from the non-stop action around the ground. Sometimes you can see possums in the tall trees along the back fence of this area.
The set-up of the food truck area almost feels like a night-market with the cheer-team acrobatics, the occasional roar of the crowd and mascots capering through the area add to this effect.
The crowd gets going when the Bandits are on a roll, with a call and response fan-based cheerleader using a loudspeaker.
The Brisbane players are known and sometimes introduced or referred to by their nicknames rather than their real names, which adds to the connection for those already in the know, but might be confusing for newcomers.
Holloway Field is firmly in suburbia, about 7 km from downtown Brisbane. There are some fast food restaurants such as Nando, Subway and Dominos within walking distance. Pepe's Mexican is more of a sit down meal, and the Newmarket Hotel is a bar that is popular with fans and the team for after-game catch-ups.
The ballpark is next to a large park that runs along the Enoggera Creek for several kilometres and could be an enjoyable walk before settling in for a game.
Accommodation options nearby are extremely limited, but downtown Brisbane is reasonably close and would be a better place to stay.
Brisbane fans are cheerful and friendly and seem to know their baseball pretty well. Even on exceptionally hot nights, the crowd remains pleasant. The fans are happy to lead their own cheering, when the Bandits are on a roll, especially later in the game, once everyone is warmed up.
Fans tend to stay for the whole game and join the team on the field afterwards.
The ballpark is just off one of the main arterial roads of Brisbane, which is very well serviced by bus, leaving you with a 5 minute walk down to the ballpark. The train line is a little further away, with a 10 minute walk from Newmarket station. Check out the Translink website to plan your trip, using the destination Spencer Park.
With the proximity to the main road, it is a straightforward drive from most parts of greater Brisbane. Allow time for traffic if you need to cross the centre of the city and be aware that some of the highways are toll roads. Payment can be made online or via phone call. The phone number and website to use varies depending on which roads you take, but are clearly marked on roadside signs.
Fans are discouraged from walking around the inner part of the concourse and the area itself is quite cramped. The wheelchair area is on the first base side at ground level.
General admission tickets are very reasonably priced ($5-$20, depending on group size and promotions) and there is plenty going on around the stadium. The food is excellent, especially given the small size of the stadium. The mascots are constantly on the prowl interacting with the crowd.
The corporate entertainment areas on the ground-field around the infield are practically in the players' pockets. The larger party tent down the third base line provides a nice in-between, but does see its fair share of foul balls. All corporate area pricing is in line with the other parks in the league.
Holloway Field is a lovely place to watch a baseball game. If you are there on a busy night, the queues to use the toilets are the only thing that lets it down.
Have we mentioned the food often enough yet? Because the food at Holloway is really, really good.
The members-only room above the reserved seating area has a display of trophies, Windsor baseball memorabilia and other items of historical interest.
Holloway's combination of easy access, inviting feel and closeness to the action are a perfect package.
Member Review by megminard on Dec 31, 2013
The Brisbane Bandits play in the new ABL (Australian Baseball League). They played their first three seasons in the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane, Queensland and moved to historic Holloway Field for the 2013-2014 season.
Lots of work was completed to upgrade the ballpark for the arrival of the Bandits. New brick was placed around the dugouts and behind home plate. All new seats and a canopy were installed. Outfield fencing was erected. All of this renovation creates a cozy and quaint baseball atmosphere.
It’s a short field with dimensions of 340’-360’-320’ from left to right. Pitchers hate coming here because of all the home runs given up. But that always makes it enjoyable for the fans.
There are three proposed additional phases of upgrades to Holloway Field. Phase one will be lighting upgrades that will take the lights from the infield concourse to outer parts of the venue so the poles won’t affect the viewing of the field and to make the lighting more MLB compliant.
The Windsor Royals Baseball Club also plays at Holloway Field and has been playing there since its opening in 1964. Holloway Field has hosted regional competitions, Senior and Junior State Championships, Senior and Junior National Championships, the Claxton Shield Championships, the Coca-Cola Classic, and more.
All dollar amounts listed in this review are Australian dollar value (AUD).
Member Review by uita71 on Jan 05, 2014
The Bandits moved from RNA Showgrounds to Holloway Field beginning with the 2013-14 season, and while there was excitement about playing at a baseball only facility there was also concern about moving to a place with such a small capacity.
I went to two games during my visit; the atmosphere for a crowd of 800 was surprisingly high. When the fans are packed into the blue seats the sound seems to elevate and it made for quite an exciting night. I also love their mini concourse at the top of the seats, allowing fans to interact while watching the game. Another nice touch was the group beyond the CF wall putting K's up as Bandits pitchers were striking out players.
The hot dogs at Holloway are ENORMOUS!!! You will only need to eat one when you attend it was amazing to see. The food & drink options were pretty good as well.
Nearby Holloway Field is the Newmarket Hotel, a place where fans, players, and coaches alike visit after the game. During my visit I was able to talk baseball with others for hours- definitely a place to check out.
It's the smallest facility but they've done a very good job in making the most out of it.
184 Enoggera Rd
Newmarket, QLD 4051
(07) 3856 0966
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