UPDATE: I’ve updated this post to correct it (rather than leave it up and post a new one that might get overlooked). The CEB competition rules state two teams go through but I overlooked that there are two qualifying pools! So, only the first placed-team will advance.
Great Britain U18’s staged a sensational comeback against Israel in Sundyberg, Sweden, on Thursday to give themselves a great chance of qualifying for the U18 European Championships next year.
Will Lintern’s team conceded 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning to be in an early hole against an Israel team that had won its first two games of the tournament. However this just set the stage for the Young Lions to roar back later on. They trailed 6-4 heading into the top of the sixth inning (the games here only lasting 7 innings rather than the usual 9) before turning the game on its head.
Great Britain scored 2 two-out runs in the sixth inning to draw level and then took the lead in the top of the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by catcher Aidan Pearce that brought home Nathan Simmons. Jack Seppings had minimal margin for error in the bottom of the seventh inning but a 1-run lead was all he needed as he pitched around a hit-by-pitch to close the game out.
Where does that leave us?
Friday is the last day of the preliminary round before the qualifier final on Saturday.
Here are the standings heading into the final day.
Belgium and Israel will face each other at 13.00 UK time before Great Britain take to the field against Sweden at 17.30 UK time.
If Great Britain win their game they will be guaranteed a spot in the Qualifier final on Saturday. If Sweden win it then they alongside GB and the loser of the Belgium-Israel game will all be tied on 2-2 (the winner of that game will move to a 3-1 record and make the final). How that plays out depends on which of Belgium or Israel are left in the tie-breaker conundrum.
If Israel defeat Belgium
In this scenario the Great Britain and Sweden game will essentially become a semi-final. If GB win they go through with Israel, both on 3-1 records. If Sweden win then they would come out on top on the first tie-breaker rule, results between the teams tied, as they would hold a win against both of the teams they are tied with (whereas Belgium and Great Britain would both be 1-1).
If Belgium defeat Israel
It becomes more complicated in this scenario as Great Britain, Israel and Sweden would all be 1-1 in results against each other. That means it would go on to the second tie-breaker, CEB’s dreaded Teams Quality Balance (TQB) equation.
Teams Quality Balance (TQB) is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense minus the number of runs allowed divided by the number of innings played on defense. (RS/IPO)-(RA/IPD)=TQB.
The TQB is calculated with four decimal places. The fifth decimal place is used to round up or down
Currently, if my sums are correct (warning: that is not a given!), Israel have a decent lead (0.43095) ahead of GB (0.05) and then Sweden (-0.23333); however those figures could change substantially depending on the results of the final games. And it won’t just be a simple calculation either: a 1-run loss for GB would affect things differently depending on it being 0-1 or 5-6 etc.
So, what result do we want from the Belgium-Israel game?
From an odds point of view I guess Belgium winning is preferable because that would at least give Great Britain a second chance even if they lost against Sweden; however the clear-cut, winner-goes-through scenario that would follow an Israel victory in the opening game would be less of a brain-scrambler.
Of course, the best result would be for Great Britain to beat Sweden and make the earlier Belgium-Israel result irrelevant (other than in deciding who GB will face in the final). That would make everyone happy.
Other than Sweden.
But then they gave us Abba which ultimately led to the film Mamma Mia (and Mamma Mia 2), so they’d just have to accept that karma was on our side.