April 18, 2014 (ISN) – Hosts Netherlands will take on two-time champions the United States on the opening day of action at this year’s Women’s Softball World Championship, it has been announced today.
Reigning champions Japan will face Asian rivals China in their first outing, while 2012 World Champinships bronze medallists Australia, face Chinese Taipei first up, according to the match schedule announced by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
All 16 teams will be in action on the first day of the Championships in Haarlem on August 15 with former champions New Zealand taking on Russia, Italy versus Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico facing former runners-up Canada, Czech Republic playing Cuba and Great Britain taking on Africa’s sole representative Botswana.
In all there are due to be 56 round-robin matches from August 15 to 21 with teams in Section A and Section B playing each other once.
Section A contains Japan, Canada, China, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Russia and Cuba, while Section B is made up of the US, Australia, Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Britain, Botswana and Dominican Republic.
Once the round-robin stages are complete, the playoffs are scheduled to begin on August 22, which will decide the line-up for the page playoffs and consolation playoffs on August 23.
The final day on August 24 will see two consolation championship games take place along with the main page championship bronze medal game, before the overall gold medal game brings the tournament to a close.
All matches will take place at two venues in the Nol Houtkamp Sportpark in Haarlem.
This will be the 14th edition of the tournament and the first time it will be staged in Europe.
WBSC and International Softball Federation secretary general Beng Choo Low visited Haarlem recently to check on the city’s progress for hosting the Championships which organisers claim are enjoying record ticket sales.
“The expected influx of visitors to Haarlem for the Women’s Softball World Championship and the global spread of participating nations provide further arguments that women’s sports – and a popular women’s sport like softball – are increasingly growing into viable, valuable and stand-alone products with which to showcase a city and a nation as an international sports centre and tourist destination,” said Beng.