Travelling Dodgers break through to snatch NSL1 title

Mon 29 Jul 2019

The domination of the National Softball League’s top division by the Pioneers and Chromies has finally been broken! 

The Travelling Dodgers put together an unbeaten 8-0 run on the final weekend of play in NSL1 this season, a standalone tournament on 27-28 July at Farnham Park, to win the 2019 NSL title by one game over Chromies and 2.5 games over the defending champion Pioneers.

The tournament also decided the eight NSL1 teams that have qualified for the Premier Nationals, scheduled for 31 August-1 September at Farnham Park, and the team that will be relegated to NSL2 for the 2020 season.

The reason these games were played as a standalone tournament rather than at Diamond Series 3 the previous weekend was that Diamond 3 clashed with the European Slowpitch Championship.


Outcomes

The team that finished last in the table and will be demoted to NSL2 for next season is London New Zealand (LNZ), who have been flirting with relegation for a couple of years and finally achieved, winning only two games all season while losing 20.

LNZ’s fate was clear by Sunday morning, but it took until the final round of games on Sunday afternoon, in which the Travelling Dodgers beat Legends and the Pioneers lost to H2O, before it was entirely clear who the league winner would be.

Chromies almost matched the Travelling Dodgers over the weekend with a record of 7-1, but that one loss, in a tight 6-4 game with Pioneers on Saturday, condemned Chromies to second place.

Most of the Travelling Dodgers’ wins over the weekend were relatively comfortable, including a 12-5 defeat of Pioneers and a 15-8 victory over H2O.  The one threat to their unbeaten record on the weekend came from the KKs, a team much further down the table, but the Dodgers squeaked through that game by a score of 9-8.


Premier Nationals Qualifiers

The eight teams that will compete at the 2019 Premier Nationals, with a National Championship and a place in next year’s European Super Cup at stake, are shown below in the order in which they finished in the league table:

Travelling Dodgers
Chromies
Pioneers
Knights
H2O
Greensox
Blue Steel
Legends

There wasn’t much suspense this year around the bottom of this group, since Nationals places were sorted with three rounds of games left on Sunday and in the end, there was a three-game gap between eighth and ninth place.

The three teams, along with LNZ, that failed to qualify for the Premier Nationals were:

KKs
Tigers
Mavericks

For the KKs, in just their second season in NSL1, a ninth-place finish represented a move upward after they just avoided relegation last year by finishing in 11th place.

The Mavericks, in their first season in NSL1 for some time, will have been happy to retain a place for next season.

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