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2019 NSL D1 Update

Pioneers start where they left off as the 2019 NSL season begins

The first weekend of National Softball League play in 2019 took place at the Diamond Series 1 Tournament at Farnham Park on 18-19 May, and there was a familiar team sitting at the top of the NSL 1 standings when play finished on Sunday evening.

Pioneers, the reigning National Champions, NSL winners and European Slowpitch Cup gold medallists, finished the weekend with a 6-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of Legends by a score of 7-6 in the last game of the day on Saturday.

There were some less familiar names at the top of the NSL 2 standings after the weekend, however, with Blitz Bombers and Tempest (formerly Drizzle) both on 5-2 records and separated only by a wafer-thin head-to-head result in which the Bombers beat Tempest by a score of 11-10.

As usual, there are 12 teams competing in both NSL 1 and NSL 2, and eight of them will qualify for National Championships at the end of the season after two more weekends of play.

Results on the first weekend suggest there could be a lot of volatility in the standings over the summer, with parity the order of the day and a lot of teams bunched tightly behind the leaders in both competitions.

In addition, teams have yet to play all of their opposition, and match-ups yet to come could also trigger movement in the league tables.


For Pioneers, it was partly business at usual at Diamond 1, as they were comfortable winners over LNZ, Blue Steel, Mavericks and the Travelling Dodgers, one of the teams expected to challenge for the NSL 1 title this season.

But Pioneers had to struggle to beat the Knights by 10-9 and the Greensox 9-7, and were upended 7-6 by Legends — and Pioneers have yet to play long-standing rivals Chromies and H2O, so more challenges lie ahead.

Nor have Pioneers managed to open anything like a gap on the chasing pack.  The Knights, Travelling Dodgers and H2O all sit just a game behind the current champions with a 5-2 record, and just behind that group are Chromies and Legends on 4-3.

Meanwhile, those teams will be looking over their shoulder at four more teams on 3-4: the Greensox and the newly-promoted Mavericks from Manchester plus Blue Steel and the KKs.  Altogether, nine teams chasing the Pioneers are separated by just two games in the standings.

Only the Bristol Tigers, at 1-6, and traditional relegation battlers LNZ, on 0-7, look genuinely out of the title race after the first weekend of play.

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