We are now into the second half of the National Baseball League (NBL) season and the teams are jostling to qualify for the postseason automatically or via the Playoffs. All eight NBL teams are still very much in with a chance to make it to the postseason and this Saturday, 3 July, they all head down to Croydon for the NBL Independence Day Weekend.
This is the second of the NBL Special Events introduced by the British Baseball Federation (BBF) this year and it provides an excellent opportunity to see all of the teams from the country’s top league on the same day and at the same venue. This is also a chance to see a large number of the players who were included in the Great Britain National Team preliminary 40-men roster announced this week as the team prepares for the European Championships in Stuttgart, Germany (23 July to 1 August 2010).
Jonathan Cramman for the London Mets is one of the many NBL players
who were called up as part of the preliminary
40-men roster of the Great Britain National Team (photo by www.event-photos.co.uk)
LONDON METS (17-2) vs RICHMOND FLAMES (11-6)
First pitch 3:00pm (Main Diamond)
A serious injury to short stop Robbie Unsell meant that Richmond could not complete their game against Bracknell last Sunday. They will be hoping that the swelling on his eye would reduce sufficiently and that he will be given the all clear to return for the Flames in this key game. This is a must-win game for them if they are to stay in the battle for the top two places which would give them automatic qualification to the National Baseball Championship.
BRACKNELL BLAZERS (17-2) vs CROYDON PIRATES (5-12)
First pitch 12:00pm (Main Diamond)
Despite being the visitors in this game, the Croydon Pirates will have a significant advantage as they are playing on home soil and can count on their fans’ support. Bracknell know that automatic NBC qualification is not secured yet and they would not want to slip up especially as they are expected to be hit the most out of all the NBL teams during the European Championships with as many as six Blazers included in the preliminary 40-men GB roster and likely to miss key NBL games at the end of the month.
(photo by www.event-photos.co.uk)
SOUTHAMPTON MUSTANGS (9-11) vs MILDENHALL BULLDOGS (3-12)
First pitch 3:00pm (Diamond 2)
After taking the league by surprise and leading in the NBL Standings in the early weeks of the season, the Mildenhall Bulldogs are suffering from the absence of a large number of their players who are away on military duty. However, they expect their key players to make their return gradually in the coming weeks and they can still reach the playoffs if they can pick up wins against their direct opponents starting with the game against Southampton on Saturday. The Mustangs have been the surprise team in this year’s NBL. A win on Saturday will bring their win-loss percentage back up to .500 and a step closer to securing a Playoff spot.
ESSEX ARROWS (3-14) vs HERTS FALCONS (4-11)
First pitch 12:00pm (Diamond 2)
The Essex Arrows come into the game with momentum on their side. They have won 3 of their last 6 games while the Herts Falcons have not won a game since 5 June 2010. In their last meeting the two teams served up a thriller which the Falcons won 12-11. The game had everything you could ask for, including 4 home runs. The fans who will be coming to this event will be hoping for more of the same. Both teams still have a chance to reach the playoffs but a loss would be a major setback for either team.
For a map and directions to the venue visit the official Croydon Pirates website
Car park spaces will be available on the field behind the Main Diamond. Food and drink will be on sale throughout the day.