Home British baseball British Baseball Beat: 2011 Opening Day is nearly here

British Baseball Beat: 2011 Opening Day is nearly here

by Matt Smith

BBBAt last!  The 2011 British Baseball season is nearly upon us. 

The curtain came down on the 2010 season at the National Baseball Championships on 5 September last year.  Ever since, teams have been waiting for another season to arrive, either to continue improving after promising years, making amends for near misses or to get that winning feeling once again.

Last weekend saw the climax of the Herts Spring League played out in glorious weather.  A pessimist would think that the sunshine was mocking the baseball community, setting us up for a rain-fest over the opening weekend proper. 

Thankfully the current weather forecast suggests that most areas should be fine, if not sun-drenched, to get their seasons underway as planned.

Here’s a quick guide to the top games to look forward to this Sunday. 

National Baseball League

The Richmond Flames enter the season as the reigning National Baseball League champions after their stunning victory at last year’s National Baseball Championship.  The Flames have started their 2011 season well by winning the Herts Spring League on Sunday with a 6-5 victory over the Southern Nationals.  They will get their 2011 regular season underway with a double-header on the road against the Essex Arrows, who have had some bad luck with injuries in recent weeks.

The newcomer Nationals start with a trip to Finsbury Park to take on the London Mets, while the other new team, Lakenheath Diamondbacks, begin their season with a double-header against Mildenhall Bulldogs.  There will be plenty of bragging rights on the line in that all-United States Army Air Force clash.

Croydon Pirates host the Bracknell Blazers and Herts Falcons welcome Southampton Mustangs to Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.


Liverpool Trojans had a great 2010 but fell agonizingly short of their goal by losing the AAA Final against Oxford Kings.  They will try to make amends this year and begin their season by hosting the Halton Jaguars at Bootle Stadium.  Meanwhile the Oxford Kings start the defence of their title against AAA South newcomers the Richmond Knights. 

The Knights had a season for the ages in 2010, winning 20 straight regular season games after dropping their season opener and going on to win the AA title.  They will want to get off to a good start to prove they belong in the higher league, although after last year they probably will not be too worried if they lose the opening game.


There has been a host of changes in the AA South, with five new teams compared to the 2010 lineup ensuring that this will be a very interesting opening weekend in that league.  However, the standout battle in AA comes in the Midlands where two familiar foes have been thrown together from the off.  The Leicester Blue Sox and Birmingham Maple Leafs continue their rivalry with a double-header at the former’s Western Park.

It’s been agreed that the AA-North will start their season on 1 May to allow some extra time to iron out a few scheduling issues.


Guildford Mavericks II host Tonbridge, while the Cambridge Royals return to the British league with a road trip against Herts Raptors. Braintree Rays travel to Enfield to face the Old Timers and London Marauders are off to Southampton to take on the Mustangs II.

Good luck to all the teams.

BBF’s new website

You can see the full schedule of games, and plenty more besides, on the BBF’s fantastic new website.   The old site worked fine, but was undoubtedly in need of a makeover and instead of splashing some paint on the walls and fixing a few odds and ends, they’ve moved into a brand new house.  In fact, three distinctive new houses for the BBF, the British Softball Federation and the overarching BaseballSoftballUK. 

A lot of hard work has gone into getting these sites planned, designed and launched. First impressions are that they look great and include all the functionality that will make them excellent resources for players, coaches, fans and newcomers looking to get involved in baseball and softball.  Congratulations to the BSUK’s Jason Greenberg and everyone else involved in the project.

British baseball on Twitter

The Essex Redbacks’ Michael Jones recently brought up a good idea on agreeing some common Twitter hashtags to help link British baseball news.  #bbfscore was a suggestion for results and in-game updates, possibly including the league level as well (#bbfnblscore, #bbfaaascore etc).  If you have any other ideas, please pass them on via the Comments section below.  Stats relating to the NBL will be posted by Joe Gray on the @NBLstatsfeed feed.

I’ve created a British Baseball list on Twitter that you can follow.  There are 23 Twitter accounts linked to it so far, including club Twitter feeds and individuals involved in the sport.  If you know of any others that are not included, or if you want to be added to the list, please pass on the details via the Comments function.

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Matthew Crawshaw April 15, 2011 - 7:45 am




@mkbucksbaseball (not mkbucks as per your list!)

Hopefully more will join.

#bbfscore is a great idea!

Michael Jones April 15, 2011 - 12:04 pm

Hi guys







I think I have others – will check my list. (http://twitter.com/#!/list/DazzMcGuinness/british-baseball)


Luke Foley April 16, 2011 - 3:10 pm

Weather report is still looking good for tomorrow!

Can’t wait for the season to start… September – April is to long with no baseball!

Matt Smith April 17, 2011 - 10:18 pm

Thanks for the updates, guys.


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