British Baseball Beat: London Mets remain the team to beat

The London Mets (8-0) preserved their unbeaten start to the National Baseball League season with two wins against the Southampton Mustangs (7-3) last Sunday.

Both teams had won six consecutive games going into the double-header, but it was the Mets that came out on top by scores of 10-0 and 1-0, the latter going into extra innings in a tightly-contested affair.

Although it is still early in the season, the match-up seemed to carry more significance than a standard regular-season twin set due to the teams involved.

Considering the Mets won both games on the road, and kept their opponents off the scoreboard in the process, they are quite literally the team to beat in the NBL right now.

British Baseball Federation NBL report

AAA-North report

AAA-South report

AA-North report

AA-South report

A-South report

NBL form

With the Mets snapping Southampton’s six-game winning streak, the next big match-up takes place this Sunday when the Mustangs take on the third-placed Herts Falcons.

Herts couldn’t take full advantage of the Mustangs’ losses last Sunday as they could only obtain a split against the Essex Arrows. The Falcons have lost three of their last four games after winning five of their first six; far from being a true loss of form but something that manager Lee Manning would want to see his team rectify soon. A home double-header against the Mustangs gives them a challenging, but exciting, opportunity to do that in style.

As for the form of the rest of the NBL, both the Harlow Nationals and Lakenheath Diamondbacks have won four of their last six games to make for solid starts to the campaign. The Nationals host the Blazers this weekend aiming for a sweep to push the defending two-time champs above .500 for the first time this season.

The Essex Arrows and South London Pirates have been consistent of late, both splitting their last three double-headers after being swept in their opening match-up. At the other end of the scale, the Bracknell Blazers have lost five of their last six and the Essex Redbacks, NBL newcomers don’t forget, have lost six in a row.  The Redbacks will look to break that sequence with a home double-header against local rivals the Essex Arrows. The teams split a double-header back on 21 April.

Trojans still ahead in the AAA-North

When it comes to teams in form, you don’t get much better than the Livepool Trojans in the AAA-North. After taking a loss in the first game of a double-header against Cartmel Valley Lions on 28 April, the reigning champs have won seven in a row including a double-header sweep over those Lions last Sunday.

Halton Jaguars are the next team to take on the Trojans. The Jaguars have won three in a row and, with Liverpool being a very strong bet to take the division, they already appear to be locked in a battle with the Lions for the second playoff spot.

Halton (5-3) currently sit one game ahead of Cartmel Valley (4-4) in the standings and with the Lions playing a double-header against the 0-9 Menwith Hill Patriots this Sunday, it is likely that they will need to win at least one of their games against the Trojans to stop themselves dropping to third before the teams enter a period of games against AA-North competition.

Teams on the rise in the North

The AA-North is starting to look like being a great battle this season between several clubs.

Bolton Robots of Doom were expected to be a leading contender having moved down from the AAA Level, but they had an underwhelming start to the season, going 1-4. Somebody must have rebooted the Robots at that point as they’ve won their last four games to move over .500 and into joint-third in the standings alongside the Harrogate Tigers (5-4).

The Tigers have actually slipped back as last Sunday they became the latest victim in the Manchester A’s winning streak. The A’s have won all six of their games since dropping their season-opening double-header against Hull Scorpions, moving up into second place.

Hull were not in action last Sunday but they still lead the way with a 7-1 record and will look to build on that with a home double-header against the Newton Aycliffe Spartans (1-5) this Sunday.

Royals reign in AAA-South

The Cambridge Royals currently top the AAA-South after a split against the Oxford Kings on Sunday improved their season record to 7-3.

Most of the rest of the division have played eight games, with the Kings, London Mets II and London Metros all holding 5-3 records and the Bristol Badgers at an even 4-4.

The two London teams are the only AAA-South sides in action this weekend. The Metros got the better of their club-mates last Saturday in winning both games of their double-header and they will join the Royals at the top of the division if they can repeat the trick this weekend. However, the Mets II ran the Metros close in both games last Saturday and they’ll be keen to gain revenge one week on and push themselves up to the top of the table.

Close competition in the A-South

The Richmond Dukes’ 20-8 victory over the Old Timers last Sunday means that all 12 Single-A teams now have at least one win on the board after three or four games.

The London Marauders have won three games in a row since dropping their season opener against the Guildford Mavericks II and they take on the Herts Raptors (2-2) this Sunday. The Raptors’ club-mates, the Eagles, have won their last two games to even their season record at 2-2 and next they will face the 3-1 Milton Keynes Coyotes.

High-flying Hove

Hove Tuesday have made a flying start to life in the AA-South. After losing the first game of their season-opening double-header against Herts Hawks on 21 April, Hove have won six a row to catapult themselves to the top of the table.

Hove’s form is even more impressive when set alongside their debut season in the BBF leagues last year. They had a perfect 9-0 Single-A regular season in 2012, meaning that they’ve gone 15-1 in BBF regular season games so far.

Hove lost out to the Leicester Blue Sox in the Single-A National Baseball Championship final last year, but they did win a quarter-final and semi-final along the way. Add it all together and they have won 17 of their first 19 BBF games: a very impressive record to say the least.

The AA-South division looks like another that will be keenly contested this year and Hove are sure to be one of those firmly in the mix.

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One Response to British Baseball Beat: London Mets remain the team to beat

  1. Michael Jones May 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Outrageously, although Hove have lost only two games that includes a two-game losing streak (!) in which they were both beaten finalists and, momentarily, bottom of the league!

    I reckon the games between Daws Hill, Hove and Guildford will decide AA South this year. I can’t see beyond the Mavericks making it three division titles in a row following their runners-up spot in Single-A NBCs in 2010.

    Mike

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