The British baseball season was back with a bang last Sunday.Â We saw two double-header sweeps in the National Baseball League, a 35-34 contest in the A (South) League, the debut of the new Northern Conference, winning starts by two new teams in the Midlands League and many other entertaining games around the country.
The action is set to continue in the same exciting vein tomorrow with thirty-four games scheduled to take place, subject to the weather forecast improving.Â Â
Check the official British Baseball Federation website for updates on any games that have been rescheduled.
National Baseball League – BBF Info
The first Sunday of the 2009 NBL produced four results that, while not being a shock, would certainly count as being surprising.Â The Richmond Flames won both games of a double-header against the London Mets (champions in 2007 and 2008) and the NBL newcomers Herts Falcons introduced themselves to their new league rivals by beating the Croydon Pirates twice.
The Falcons can bask in their opening day glory for an extra week as they don’t play on Sunday.Â Instead, it falls to the Flames to try and remain unbeaten as they welcome the Bracknell Blazers to Connare Field.Â Meanwhile at Finsbury Park, the Mets and the Pirates will both be desperate to rebound from chastening opening day losses.
As with all the NBL regular season games, the meetings will involve two seven-inning games.Â Currently the games in both contests are scheduled to begin at 12.00 and 14.30.
British AAA (South) – BBF Info
All ten teams are scheduled to be in action this weekend.Â The Bournemouth Sharks, Essex Arrows and Herts Eagles began their 2009 campaigns with double victories last Sunday and all will be aiming to remain unbeaten at the end of this Sunday.Â The Sharks have a double-header against the Burgess Hill Redhats (1-1), the Arrows face the London Metros (0-2) and the Eagles host the Bristol Badgers (1-1) at Grovehill Playing Fields.
In the other two double-headers, the Oxford Kings (0-2) travel to Southampton to take on the Mustangs (1-1) and the Richmond Knights (0-2) face the Sidewinders (1-1) at Enfield Playing Fields.
British AA (South) – BBF Info
The six teams in the AA (South) league came together in three nine-inning games last Sunday.Â Kent Mariners defeated the Brentford Stags 12-10, the Thames Valley Bisons won 12-10 over the Herts Hawks and Croydon Pirates III were awarded a 9-0 forfeit win over the Windsor Bears.
The schedule pits the 1-0 teams against the 0-1 teams tomorrow, offering the tantalizing prospect of a six-game league tie by the end of play.Â The Herts Hawks travel to Roundshaw Playing Fields to face the Pirates III, the Stags meet the Bisons and hopefully the Bears will be able to play their game against the Mariners.Â All games start at 14.00.
British A (South) – BBF Info
The Bracknell Blazers 2, Guildford Mavericks and Herts Raptors all got an early win on the board last week, defeating the Southampton Mustangs II, Richmond Dragons and the London Marauders respectively.Â An astonishing 132 runs were scored in the three games, including a 35-34 game between the Raptors and the Marauders.Â No, it wasn’t a weekend for pitching purists in the A league.
The Old Timers’ game against the Braintree Rays was postponed as a mark of respect to Peter Crook, who sadly passed away recently.
The Rays will get their season underway at home against the Archers on Sunday.Â The Mavericks try to make it two wins in two in a home game against the Mustangs II and the Marauders will be hoping to recover from that 35-34 loss with a win on the road against the Dragons.
Northern Conference – BBF Info
The new Northern Conference sprang into life on opening day with four two-game sweeps.Â The Harrogate Tigers, Liverpool Trojans, Halton Jaguars and Menwith Hill Patriots were all celebrating, while the Manchester A’s, Oldham North Stars, Bolton Robots of Doom and the Sheffield Bladerunners all had to write the day off as a learning experience.
Manchester Torrent and the Humber Pilots sat out the first weekend, so they will begin their 2009 campaigns tomorrow with double-headers against the Tigers (at Harrogate) and the Robots of Doom (at Humber).Â
In the other games, the Jaguars host the Bladerunners, the North Stars visit the A’s and there’s a re-match from the 2008 NBL North as the Patriots travel to Bootle Stadium to face the Trojans.
Midlands League – BBF Info
The introduction of two teams based at United States Airforce camps promised to raise the standard of the Midlands League in 2009.Â The opening day results suggest this will be the case.Â
The Mildenhall Bulldogs won twice against the MK Bucks and the Alconbury Braves did the same against the Leicester Blue Sox.Â The latter put up an excellent fight in the second game of their double-header, narrowly losing 11-10, and it’s certainly hoped by all that even if the Bulldogs and Braves prove tough to beat, the other Midlands teams will only improve by playing against them.
The Bulldogs have a rest this Sunday.Â The same can’t be said for the Bucks, who move from the Bulldogs in week one to the Braves in week two.Â They play a double-header at RAF Feltwell.Â Birmingham Maple Leafs, the reigning Midlands champs, begin their 2009 season with a home double-header against the Blue Sox.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
It should be a great day of baseball throughout the leagues.Â Let’s just hope the weather forecasters are wrong about the rain.Â It wouldn’t be the first time.