This article first appeared on britishbaseball.org
The BBF has announced further details and first round draws for their new knock-out Cup competitions in 2015 – competitions they hope will add interest to the season and draw fans from different areas to watch games between teams that don’t normally play against each other.
The 2015 BBF Cup will be played as two separate competitions – one in the South for NBL and Triple-A South teams and one in the Midlands and the North for Triple-A and Double-A teams in those regions.
All Cup games will be played over nine innings.
BBF CUP: SOUTH
NBL and Triple-A teams from the South will compete in a knock-out competition held over three rounds followed by a final. Round 1 will be held on Sunday 26 April, and the draw has created the following match-ups:
Herts Falcons at London Metros (11.00 am)
Oxford Kings at London Mammoth (2.30 pm)
Bracknell Blazers at Herts Eagles (1.00 pm)
South London Pirates at Richmond Knights (12.00 pm)
Brighton Bulldogs at Essex Redbacks (12.00 pm)
Quarter-finals will be held on Sunday 21 June when the winners of the first-round matches will then be joined by the top three NBL teams from last season: the champions Essex Arrows plus the London Mets and Southampton Mustangs. Semi-finals will be held on Sunday 9 August, when the quarter-final winners will battle for a place in the BBF Southern Cup final. The final itself will be played on Sunday 20 September, though the venue is still to be decided.
BBF CUP: CENTRAL & NORTH
Meanwhile, a parallel knock-out Cup competition will be held in the Central and North regions, with each club submitting one team into the contest. The first two rounds of play will split into regional pools to minimise travel requirements before the competition hots up at the quarter-final stage with inter-pool play. Teams will be seeded based on league positions last season, with the first round effectively being a wild card match-up between the four lowest-ranked clubs from the North before the remaining teams join in the subsequent rounds. This first round will take place on Sunday 12 April with the following games:
Harrogate Tigers at Bolton Robots of Doom (12.00 pm)
Oldham North Stars at Manchester A’s (12.00 pm)
The winners of these two fixtures will then join Cartmel Valley, Liverpool Trojans, Hull Scorpions, Halton Jaguars, Newton Aycliffe Spartans and Sheffield Bladerunners in the second round scheduled for Sunday 3 May. In the Central pool, second round match-ups featuring Birmingham Bandits, Leicester Blue Sox, Long Eaton Storm, Milton Keynes Bucks, Northants Centurions and Stourbridge Titans will also be scheduled for Sunday 3 May. The reigning Triple-A Champions Cambridge Royals will get a bye in this round and enter at the quarter-final stage. The quarter-finals, to be played on Sunday 23 May, will be an open draw, but each fixture will incorporate a Central v North match-up. Two of the quarter-finals will be hosted by Central teams and two will be hosted by North teams. The winners of each quarter-final will progress to a finals weekend on 6-7 June.