The first weekend of National Softball League play in 2022 – hopefully the start of the first full NSL season since 2019 – took place on 21-22 May at Farnham Park, with Legends, and Spittin’ Camels emerging as early league leaders in NSL1 and NSL2 while Blitz Havoc and Milton Keynes share the lead in NSL3.

The NSL will be played over three weekends in 2022, with further play to follow in June and July.  In NSL1 and NSL2, 12 teams are fighting for the top eight places that will get them to the NSL Nationals in September.

In NSL3, which is being played as a league for the first time, the first two weekends of play in May and June will be followed by a National Championship weekend on 9-10 July, with all eight teams taking part.

In all three competitions, league games were played on Saturday and up to the middle of the afternoon on Sunday.  All teams then went into a playoff round to determine tournament winners for the weekend, with Cup, Trophy and Plate winners crowned in NSL1 and NSL2, and Cup and Plate winners in NSL 3.  However, these playoff games do not count in the league standings or towards Nationals qualification.

At the end of the season, there will be two-up, two-down promotion and relegation among all three leagues.

With NSL weekends being run this year by BaseballSoftballUK on behalf of the BSF, it means that fees paid by NSL teams are now going back into softball, with any surplus after costs being invested primarily in maintenance and upgrades at Farnham Park.

Other events

The weekend featured two other major events in addition to NSL play, both held on Saturday evening.

First, trophies were presented by WBSC Europe Softball Commission President Gabriel Waage and BSF President Ieuan Gale to three inductees into the Softball Europe Hall of Fame: players Brett Gibbens and Stephanie Jardine and umpire Chris Moon. 

This was followed by the first game in the new BSUK/BSF Women’s Fastpitch All Stars League, won by the Eagles over the Ravens by a score of 8-4, and there were plenty of spectators at both events.

Separate stories on the European Hall of Fame presentations and the All Stars game will be posted on the BSF website shortly.


The first weekend of NSL play threw up a number of surprises in NSL1, where Legends, who finished 10th in the standings last year and failed to make the Nationals, wound up topping the table with six wins and a draw.

Last year’s National Champions, the Travelling Dodgers, are right behind them in second place but the 2019 National Champion Knights, who also failed to make the Nationals last year, bounced back to finish fourth in the standings.

Perennial winners Pioneers and Chromies could only finish fifth and seventh respectively, both with 4-3 records, suggesting that the balance of power is definitely shifting in the NSL’s top league.

The teams that currently occupy the bottom four places are KKs, Blue Steel, Mavericks and Bombers, and they will need to claw their way up the table in June and July if they want to be playing in September.  But that could be difficult: all four teams finished the weekend with a 1-6 record and there is already a gap between them and the Greensox in eighth place.

NSL1 standings after the May weekend are:

In the playoff rounds on Sunday afternoon, The Travelling Dodgers beat Legends 16-12 in the Cup final, the Greensox beat the Tigers 15-5 in the Trophy final and Blue Steel had a 17-2 romp over the Bombers in the Plate final.


The Spittin’ Camels, who finished second in the NSL2 league standings in 2021 and second in the NSL2 Nationals, are making a strong bid for the top spot this year.

The Camels finished the weekend with a 7-0 record in league play and a run difference of +47 and are already two games up on the second-place Naturals.  Only one team – The Mob – pushed them hard in a game that finished 14-12; otherwise, the Camels cruised through the main part of the weekend.

Tempest, who won the NSL2 Nationals last year, could only finish fourth in the weekend’s league games, and LNZ, who were challengers last year, finished the weekend in eighth place.

The teams occupying places 9-12, who will have their work cut out in June and July to qualify for the NSL2 Nationals, are SPAM, the Fuzzy Ducks, the Bees and Ninos Privados.

NSL2 standings after the May weekend are:

In the playoff rounds on Sunday afternoon, however, the Camels lost some momentum, beaten 21-8 by Tempest in the NSL2 Cup semi-final.  Tempest went on to take the Cup with a 14-5 final win over Terriers, while LNZ beat the Honey Badgers 15-6 in the Trophy final and the Fuzzy Ducks overcame SPAM by 18-5 in the Plate final.


This year, NSL3 has finally graduated from a single National Championship tournament to fully-fledged league play, and the first weekend suggested that this will be a very competitive division.

Blitz Havoc and the Milton Keynes NSL Team share the league lead with four wins, a loss and two draws each, followed closely by Bracknell with a 4-3 record and the Meerkats on 3-2-2.

But only three games separate the two teams sharing first place from eighth-place Shafting, which means there will be everything to play for when the NSL convenes again on 4-5 June.

League standings at the end of that weekend will determine seedings for the NSL3 Nationals in July.

NSL3 standings after the May weekend are:

As in NSL1 and NSL2, when it came to the playoff rounds in NSL3, the league leaders failed to cement their authority.

Meerkats defeated Milton Keynes by 25-20 in a high-scoring Cup final while Storm, who are seventh in the league table, took down Maidenhead by 17-6 in the Plate final.

Coming up next

The National Softball League will have its second weekend of play on 4-5 June at Farnham Park and will once again share the stage with other events.

The BSF will stage a major awards ceremony on Saturday evening, presenting trophies to a number of Annual Award winners and Hall of Fame inductees, and then the Women’s Fastpitch All Stars will stage the second game of their league season.