Three NSL teams looking for European gold

Tue 24 Jul 2018

The largest ever European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup will begin on Monday 30 July in Riccione, Italy, and three of Britain’s top NSL teams will be challenging for the gold medal.

A record 16 teams have entered the tournament this year, from nine different countries, and this includes two teams from Italy, which is both entering teams and hosting the tournament for the first time in a small seaside resort just south of Rimini.

Super Cup rules are that countries can enter two teams in the competition, but Britain gets three entries this year because H2O are the defending Super Cup champions, while Pioneers and Chromies have been national champions since the Super Cup was last held in Austria in 2016.

Temperatures will be in the low 30s during the tournament, with no sign of rain in the forecast, and with all teams playing two games a day throughout most of the competition, which ends on Saturday 4 August, stamina may count as much as skill.

Yes, our teams play four and five games a day in weekend tournaments at home, but not for six straight days in temperatures over 30 degrees!

There will be daily reports from the tournament on the BSF website, written by former GB Slowpitch player Ben Taylor.


Entries

The following teams will contest the 2018 European Slowpitch Super Cup:

  • Bandits and Witches (Austria)
  • Afterburners and Mortsel Skywalkers (Belgium)
  • Academiks Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Sparks Mlade Buky and Wayne’s Pardubice (Czech Republic)
  • Brevannes (France)
  • UCE Travellers and Mannheim Tornadoes (Germany)
  • Chromies, H2O and Pioneers (Great Britain)
  • Dodder Dynamoes and TNT (Ireland)
  • Delfini Riccione and Valmarecchia (Italy)

The 16 teams will start the tournament in two pools of eight, with the top four teams in each pool going forward to Championship playoffs.

H2O and Pioneers have been drawn together in Pool B, while Chromies will be the only British team in Pool A.  You can see the pools here and keep up with the schedule and all the results here


History

The European Slowpitch Cup, which began in 2007 with five teams playing in Limeil, near Paris, changed from an annual Cup to a biennial “Super Cup”, with more than one entry allowed per country, in 2012.

It is the one European slowpitch competition in which Britain has not been almost totally dominant.  GB may have lost only one European Slowpitch Championship in 11 tries, and recently won the first-ever European Men’s Slowpitch Championship, but teams from other countries have won the Slowpitch Cup or Super Cup on three occasions: Dodder Dynamoes from Ireland in 2009, Lisicke from Slovenia in 2012 and UCE Travellers from Germany in 2014.

When H2O won the tournament in 2016, defeating Chromies in the final, it was the first time that the Cup had come back to Britain since 2011.

Chromies have won the competition three times on the eight occasions it’s been held, more than anyone else.  Other British winners have been the now-defunct Baker Tomkins in 2008 and H2O in 2016.


Schedule

Pioneers and Chromies will both have the pleasure of opening the tournament, as they will both play at 9.00 am local time on Monday 30 July on the tournament’s two fields.

Pioneers will take on the Mortsel Skywalkers from Belgium while Chromies will play Bandits and Witches from Austria.

Later, Pioneers will play the Mannheim Tornadoes from Germany at 3.00 pm, while Chromies will take on the Italian team Valmarecchia at 4.30 pm.

H2O, who are only travelling to Italy on Monday morning, will have back-to-back games against Akademiks Sofia from Bulgaria at 4.30 pm and TNT from Ireland at 6.00 pm.

The organisers and the ESF may be a little optimistic in thinking that they can get games played in 90-minute time slots, but with two eight-team pools and 56 games to be played over the first three-and-a-half days, they don’t have much choice!

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