NBL structure update based on withdrawal of Team Northumbria

As you may have been aware, Team Northumbria recently announced their intention to withdraw from the NBL with immediate effect. As such, we have been working hard in recent days to confirm a solution for NBL Division One and counter any knock on effects that would then occur across other divisions.

We have spent the past 10 days speaking to a number of clubs and analysing the best course of action. This meant contacting the sides that finished near the top of NBL Division Two, with some teams from further down the standings also expressing an interest to join Division One as well. 

As you can imagine, there is a natural need for each side involved in a potential solution to consider if they could meet the standards required from a higher division and financially commit to competing at that level. 

After significant discussion, we are pleased to announce that Essex Leopards will be joining NBL Division One for the 2018/19 season. For context, please be aware that Liverpool were approached about joining NBL Division One after their 3rd place finish in 2017/18, but they felt the opportunity wasn’t right for their club at this time.

With Essex moving to NBL Division One, we then had to assess a replacement for the Leopards in NBL Division Two. This required the same considerations, discussions and procedures mentioned above. We are happy to announce that East London All-Stars will be joining Division Two Men for the new season.

The following fixture adjustments will now take place for 2018/19:

  • Essex will take on the fixtures currently in place for Team Northumbria in Division One and likewise, East London will assume Essex’s fixtures in Division Two.
  • The fixtures of East London All Stars in Division 3 South will be removed from this season’s schedule.
  • Due to the difference in location between Essex and Team Northumbria, some changes have been made to the pools for the National Trophy. These changes will be communicated with the NBL Division One teams as soon as possible.
  • Due to the similar location of Essex and East London, the Patrons Cup pools will remain the same with a straight swap between the two teams. 
  • The National Cup fixtures for both Essex and East London will remain unchanged.
  • The winner of National Cup round 1 fixtures G2 (Team Birmingham Elite and Birmingham Mets II) and G8 (London Thunder Lewisham and London BC Medelynas) will play each other in the National Cup round 2 fixture G29. The winner of G29 will advance straight to the quarter-finals of the National Cup, receiving a bye in round 3 due to Team Northumbria’s withdrawal.
  • The winner of National Shield round 1 fixture K15 (Bristol Hurricanes and Huish Taunton Tigers) will face Team Birmingham Elite in round 2.