Words by Joe Gray
At noon on Sunday, the first pitches of the 2009 National Baseball League (NBL) are set to be thrown. Four of the five teams will be in action, with the BRACKNELL BLAZERS starting their campaign next week.
The newly promoted HERTS FALCONS will make their top-tier debut in a double-header away against the CROYDON PIRATES. With the PIRATES going from a 26-0 regular-season record in 2007 to a 5-19 record in 2008, the FALCONS should have no reason to fear their visit to Roundshaw, and, instead, can be optimistic about their chances of picking up at least one opening-day victory. Still, it should not be forgotten that in CROYDON’s last competitive game of the 2008 NBL season, the team handed the LONDON METS their only defeat of the year.
In the other double-header, the METS travel south of the River Thames to take on the RICHMOND FLAMES. The FLAMES have won just one of 12 regular-season games played against the METS since the LONDON team was formed in 2007 (that solitary victory was back in April 2007). In addition, the FLAMES lost out in the national final to the METS in 2008. Both teams are expected to qualify comfortably for the National Baseball Championship (NBC) at the end of August, but the rivalry will be fuelled by pride as well as the potential for an easier first-round game in the NBC for the league winner.
|Dates and Times are subject to change! In case of doubt check with the responsible national federation!|
|Sunday, April 19 2009|
|12:00||Croydon Pirates||Herts Falcons||Roundshaw Playi...|
|14:00||Richmond Flames||London Mets||Connare Field R...|
In other news …
This month, baseball and softball in Britain entered a new 4-year development cycle (2009-2013), and positive news has already been announced, in the form of part-funding from the Government to develop four new dedicated facilities. Work will start with identifying sites in different regions, seeking expert advice, and drawing up specifications. Completion of the facilities is expected towards the end of the new development cycle.
I will bring Mister Baseball readers more news as it becomes available on this landmark project.