NoE38

North American Markball League; A Fictional Sport & A Fictional History: 1969 Playoffs

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32 minutes ago, NoE38 said:

This time, it's still gonna be only two teams added per year, but there will be two quick rounds of expansion, bringing the league to 16 teams by 1973, and each conference will have two divisions of 4 teams each.

Cool. You gonna release the locations anytime soon?

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1 hour ago, NoE38 said:

This time, it's still gonna be only two teams added per year, but there will be two quick rounds of expansion, bringing the league to 16 teams by 1973, and each conference will have two divisions of 4 teams each.

Is there gonna be a council?

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1 hour ago, ItsSlothy said:

Cool. You gonna release the locations anytime soon?

 

1 hour ago, BellaSpurs said:

Is there gonna be a council?

Of course there will be an expansion council, and it'll be just like the last times, with the cities, fan support, and stadium info.

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1967 NAML Offseason

 

Merle Finalizes Expansion Timetables

After hearing of several different rumours of a potential expansion in the NAML, Peter Merle put an end to all speculation by announcing that the league would indeed be expanding to 16 teams. He announced that the league would have two separate years of expansion, welcoming two new teams each. Finally, he announced that the two years that the expansion would be happening were 1970 and 1972. When asked about potential cities that would receive a team, he said that he and other executives had "received interest from several cities, particularly in the Southeast", but he didn't name any specific cities. Merle also said that Canada "is due for another team soon".

 

NAML Holds First Ever Markball Draft

For the first time in the league's history, the NAML held a draft, at Washington DC's Hamilton Hotel. There were 7 rounds in total, meaning that 84 different players were drafted. These were the results of the first round of the draft:

 

1. Montreal: Todd Pearson (Baltimore - EML)

2. St. Louis: Donnelly Alarne (Ottawa - EML)

3. New York: Carl McCleary (Amateur - LA)

4. Los Angeles: Johnnie Darley (Miami - SEML)

5. Toronto: Mick Oninni (Providence - EML)

6. Boston: Hugh Bass (Baltimore - EML)

7. Michigan: Nick Spearing (Amateur - Detroit)

8. Minnesota: Henry Beaufort (Quebec - EML)

9. Milwaukee: Martin Yates (Baltimore - EML)

10. Philadelphia: Thomas Eckelman (Winnipeg - CML)

11. Chicago: Stephane Soucie (Quebec - EML)

12. Washington: William-Herb Scott (New Orleans - SEML)

 

The first ever NAML draft pick was Todd Pearson of the Baltimore Lobsters of the Eastern Mezaball League. Baltimore, led by Pearson was a dominant force in the EML, winning 20 of their 22 games and cruising to a second consecutive title. Analysts are eager to see if Pearson can translate his play to the big leagues, at the age of 24.

 

Canada, USA play 2-game international series

The biggest event of the offseason was when for the third time in the NAML's history and for the first time in 4 years, the best Canadian and American Markball players took part in a two-game international series. The games were played one week apart, with the first game taking place at Montreal's Stade Centre-Ville, and the second taking place at Manhattan Stadium, home of the New York Knights. 

 

The first game started off very well for the Americans, with Bud Mahoney, Philip Cook, and Chris Garafalo all scoring in the first quarter to give them a 13-4 lead. However Canada, led by Jeremy Markson, fought back in the second, Eventually taking a 22-19 lead. Despite this, a late goal by Cook had the two countries tied at 23 at halftime. The third quarter was tight, with not much scoring. Michigan's Hugh Westbrook would score the only goal to give the Americans a 4-goal lead after 3. The two teams traded points in the fourth, and that looked like that would be all the scoring, but with 6 minutes to go, Montreal's own Nicolas Bartosh scored to tie the game, much to the delight of the home fans. the game would end in a 29-29 tie, and American defender Larry Farrell of Michigan was named the game's MVP.

 

In the second game, the Americans had another quick start, and they capitalized on more of their chances. At one point, thanks to two goals each by the 'Keepers' Julian Jacobson and New York's Cook gave the Americans a 22-4 lead. A late goal by Bartosh would cut the lead to 15, but the Americans still led 24-9 after 1. The second quarter was pretty even, with Toronto's Ciril Vlasic getting on the board for Canada and Cook completing his hat-trick for the USA. At halftime, the score was 29-15. The third quarter was also low-scoring, with the American defense keeping the Canadians from doing anything. The Dragons' Schermini scored the quarter's only goal, increasing the American lead to 17 after 3. Canada came out strong in the final quarter. After a point by Markson, Bartosh and LA's Harry Marback scored to cut the deficit to two goals. However, the American's would prevail, as a goal by Howard Tremble sealed the deal, to give the Americans a 38-25 victory and an aggregate victory of 67-54. Cook was named the overall MVP after scoring 5 times in two games, giving New York a spark of hope that he could be the team's next star, leading them to the playoffs.

Lm9m8kP.png

 

Young Star leaves Big Apple, signs with Falcons

The New York Knights lost a huge part of their future in December when 20-year old fullback Robert Backerlick signed with the Falcons instead of the team that originally scouted him. This angered owner Ron Small, who said that it was a "selfish move" and that he made the move with "no respect whatsoever to all of the Knights supporters and the entire organization". Backerlick played 33 games with the Knights over two seasons, and was voted the Knights best first-year player in 1966. His move to Philly is a huge addition, as the Falcons haven't had a potential star defender in a while.

 

Paulies Tweak logo, change home and away jerseys

Just before the 1968 season started, the Montreal Eveques made a surprising announcement, unveiling a tweaked version of their logo and jerseys. The new logo has the same shape as the original, but with an updated M-Cross monogram, and white and red switching places on the logo. The words on the bottom of the logo are also gone now, being replaced by the striping pattern. The updated jerseys are the exact same as before, but with the new logo and monogram replacing the old ones, and the red and white switching places on the home.

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As you can tell, this was a pretty busy offseason, so the new season might not be up for a while. I'll try to post it as soon as everything is finished.

 

Also, for the expansion, I'll hold the expansion council next offseason, so get prepared for that.

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1968 NAML Season

 

Week 1 Scores:

Michigan 54-28 Los Angeles

Chicago 51-42 Milwaukee

Minnesota 48-26 Montreal

St. Louis 36-40 Washington

Boston 34-37 Philadelphia

Toronto 25-20 New York

 

Western Division:

  • All Non-Bandits fans were hoping that 1967 wasn't an off year and that the Bandits were entering a period of decline. Unfortunately for them, it looked like the previous year was just an off year as the Bandits roared back into the playoffs, winning their first 9 games, and 15 of their first 16. Led by Hugh Westbrook up front and Larry Farrell at the back, the Bandits looked unstoppable, and even though they slowed down toward the end of the year, They'll be very hard to beat, especially at home.
  • In second place for the second straight year were the Milwaukee Dragons. Even though Frank Schermini and Hugh Pettas had below-average years statistically, the team's depth players were the secret weapon for them, helping them clinch home-field advantage in week 20. Milwaukee finished with 50 points, and are hoping to get their first ever playoff victory this year. 
  • In third were the Crusaders, who despite getting 9 points less than 1967 with two more games played, were still one of the most explosive teams in the league, with their aging offensive duo of Bud Mahoney and Andy Bonsaigh. Chicago finished at 14-10, but were a league-best 9-3 on the road.
  • The odd team out of the Western playoff picture this year were the Walleye. Despite good performances from young players such as centre Brent Montgomery and wing-back Albin Morioka, couldn't outperform the three playoff teams. Minnesota finished 6 points clear of the final spot, with a 12-12 record.
  • Once again if fifth were the LA Guardians, who have unfortunately been decent, but can't win divisional games for the life of them. Even though they finished 7-17, they won only 2 of their 12 games against Western teams, and both of those wins came against the 'Keepers. Coach Bob Nunez stated during the year that once his team can beat the big 4 of their division, they'll be a perennial playoff team.
  • For the 5th time in 6 year, St. Louis was at the bottom of the West. No player stood out for them once again, and once they were down by 2 goals during a game, you could basically count them out. All 4 of their wins were by a goal or less, and that was because they couldn't keep a steady lead. The 'Keepers finished 4-19-1.

Eastern Division:

  • Jim Gardenar was once again the Warriors' best player, leading the team to their second consecutive first-place finish in the east. Gardenar scored a career-high 62 goals and helped set up many others, leading Washington to an 18-6-0 record, their most wins in franchise history.
  • In second was a bit of a surprise, as the Toronto Nationals earned home-field advantage in the first round by finishing with a 14-10-0 record. James Jogi returned to his old form, and was the team's leader. Rookie Nelson Traoré was also a bright spot at flank, and became just the third African-American player to play in the NAML.
  • Finishing third was an even bigger surprise, the New York Knights. This was just New York's fourth ever appearance in the playoffs, and first since 1965. Philip Cook was huge after a breakout performance in the Can-Am series, and took home the Chester Harland award for his play. Despite being a forward, he was the team's playmaker, and assisted on more than he scored. The Knights finished 12-11-1.
  • The surprises didn't stop there, as the Montreal Eveques came in fourth, after winning the wooden spoon the year before. Most of this was thanks to an absolutely crazy year up front by Nicolas Bartosh, who scored 75 goals and an average 3.23 goals per game, both NAML records. Jacques Bayeux had a good season on defense as well, but it wasn't enough to clinch a playoff spot, as they finished 10-13-1.
  • Another huge surprise were the Philadelphia Falcons, who finished 5th in their division after having the best regular-season record just two years prior. Jeremy Markson had a very disappointing year, as did the rest of the team, as they didn't even crack double-digit wins, finishing 9-15.
  • In last were the Boston Wolfhounds, who people expected to drop off after what critics considered two lucky years where they finished 3rd. An aging core didn't do Boston any favours, as they just won 6 games all year, finishing 6-18.

eVtkSsV.png

The 1968 NAML Awards were given to:

Chester Harland Award (League MVP): Philip Cook, F, NY

Len Garey Memorial Trophy (Top Goalkicker)Nicolas Bartosh, MTL (75 goals)

Benjamin Legrand Award (Best Goalkeeper): Ambrose Gares, WAS

 

Rivalry Cup Winners:

Colonial Trophy: Washington (Beat Philadelphia 2-1 in season series)

St. Laurent Cup: Toronto (Beat Montreal 2-1 in season series)

I-94 Series: Milwaukee (Beat Chicago 2-1 in season series)

 

 

Notable Events:

  • The league expanded their schedule from 22 to 24 games, so that Teams could play more divisional games, and not just 2 games against every team.
  • In a game between Michigan and Minnesota, played at Windy Park, Fog rolled in from the Detroit River, not allowing the players to get a clear view of the field, this led to some controversy on goals and points. Michigan ended up winning the game, 35-33.
  • Nicolas Bartosh broke the single-season scoring record, potting 75 goals in just 23 games. Bartosh also became one of the oldest players to lead the league in scoring, at the age of 31.
  • Chicago was fined $70,000 by the league after fielding an ineligible player in weeks 23 and 24. Midfielder William Sanders was under contract with Boston's reserve team at the time of the games. As a result, coach Herman Carey was let go by the team before the playoffs.

********************************************************************************************************************************************************************

I'll simulate the playoffs hopefully this weekend, and have the post up by next week.

 

C&C is always appreciated!

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Montreal’s updates look real good! Much cleaner and simpler. Maybe one day it’ll just be the M cross with this as an alternate.

So much for Michigan not being number one. Starting to remind me of the Patriots. Everyone hates them too

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1968 NAML Playoffs

First Round

 

(W2) Milwaukee Dragons vs (W3) Chicago Crusaders

After losing all their previous playoff games, including a thrashing by Minnesota in Milwaukee the previous year, the Dragons were confident that they would finally get a victory against the Crusaders at Arnold Shannon Stadium. Milwaukee got up to a good start 6 minutes in, when Frank Schermini beat goalie Tom Clark high, giving the fans something to cheer about.  3 minutes later, Martin Fox doubled the Dragons' leadd, deflecting in a free kick. Chicago responded with a few rushes, but could only manage two points against Ty Davidson. Milwaukee ended the quarter with a point from Schermini, giving them a 9-2 lead after 21 minutes. Milwaukee continued their play at the start of the second, increasing the score to 14-2 5 minutes in. However, right after this, Chicago brought the ball downfield and Andy Bonsaigh scored, giving the Crusaders their first goal of the game. Soon after, Walter Blackmon cut the lead to 4 off a nice volley. That would be as close as Chicago could get though, as Hugh Pettas and the defense tightened up. Milwaukee came at the Chicago d-core, scoring three points in quick succession, and Schermini scored again to make it 21-10. After another Milwaukee point, Blackmon made it a two-goal game again, but Fox and Paul Nichance scored in the last 3 minutes to make it a tough hill for the Crusaders to climb back up again. Schermini scored two points in the final minute, giving Milwaukee a 32-14 lead at the half. To start the third, the Dragons did what they had done in the first, score early to make it 36-14. After a Dragons point, Bud Mahoney was given a penalty, which he buried. Hoping to spark the rest of the team, it didn't work, As Schermini scored for the Dragons to make it a 23-point deficit again. The rest of the quarter would be uneventful, with both teams scoring two minors to make it 43-20 for Milwaukee after 63 minutes of play. To start the fourth, Alexandre Kadunnuthy scored for Milwaukee, much to the delight of the fans. Chicago, knowing that they had to give it more than 110% in they wanted to win, went on full press mode, and managed to chip away at the lead effectively. Mahoney score a goal and point, then Bonsaigh did the same. Finally, Willie Nellis deflected a cross in to give Chicago 14 total points in ten minutes. However, it was still a tough hill to climb, as they were still down by 13. This proved to be too much for Chicago, as the Dragons scored 2 late goals to claim their first playoff victory in franchise history, as they moved on to face the juggernaut Bandits.

Final Score: Milwaukee 55, Chicago 34

 

(E2) Toronto Nationals vs (E3) New York Knights

In Toronto, people weren't sure what to expect between two teams that were making their first playoff appearance in 3 years. However, as the game started, it was apparent the Nats were the better team. James Jogi and Nelson Traoré each scored in the first minute, giving the Stallions a quick 8-0 lead. After adding a point, the Knights got their first few rushes with the ball, and managed to get a goal and point, making it a one-goal game just like that. The rest of the first was uneventful, with the only other score being a Toronto Point by Albert Asher. Toronto led 10-5 after 1. New York looked like they'd started the second on the right track by getting a point, but on the very next possession, Toronto got the ball upfield, and scored to make it 14-6. 2 minutes later, Philip Cook scored for New York, and it looked like things were once again on the right track for the Knights. However, the Nats weren't messing around, scoring a point and goal in 3 minutes to make it 19-10. The teams would exchange points twice over the next 3 minutes, then Toronto had the ball for the final minutes and got several shots away, but couldn't score. Eventually the ball game to Jogi, who missed his kick, but the ball went right to forward Matthew Nolan, who buried it with 9 seconds left, giving Toronto a major boost heading into halftime, as they lead 25-12. The third quarter started with the same sequence of events as the second, with the Knights scoring a point early, but Toronto getting a goal soon after. After the Toronto goal, Cook led his team on a great rush from their own end, with the rush finished off by Oscar Guarda. Toronto dominated possession for the rest of the quarter, and got a goal from Traoré and a point out of it, as they increased their lead to 34-17 heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, Asher scored 16 seconds in, But the Knights responded right away, as Cook scored to negate Toronto's major. After the teams traded points, Jogi kicked a laser, but it missed just wide. With 5 minutes to go, Cook scored a crucial goal, but the Knights couldn't muster anything more, as they lost yet again in the playoffs, and the Nats advanced to face first-place Washington in the Semifinals.

Final Score: Toronto 41, New York 26

Js3OrId.png

 

Semifinals

 

(W1) Michigan Bandits vs (W2) Milwaukee Dragons

Windy Park was buzzing as the Bandits looked to advance to their 5th Urquhart Cup in 6 years and 6th in the last 10. Despite the Bandits faithful roaring loudly, the Dragons, fresh off of their first playoff win, Didn't seem fazed at all, as they got a goal from Martin Fox scored 1 minute in, and Milwaukee added two points to take a 6-0 lead just 5 minutes into the contest. The Bandits got a couple of rushes, but only managed to get points past Ty Davidson. After Schermini scored to make it 10-2 for Milwaukee, Hugh Westbrook got his name on the scoresheet, becoming the first Bandits player to beat Davidson in the game. The Bandits added a couple of points, but Fox struck again for Milwaukee, increasing the lead to 6. With 4 minutes to go, Westbrook kicked a point, and that would be all the scoring in the quarter. Milwaukee led after one by a surprising score of 14-9. The second quarter started slow, with the only score in the first 10 minutes being the two teams exchanging points. There was another period of slow play, then eventually Daniel Thorn beat Davidson to make it a one-goal game. Less than three minutes later, Thorn kicked a point to tie the game. The game was tight once again until the final 90 seconds, when Westbrook broke past two defenders dished the ball off to Larry Farrell, who scored his first career postseason goal to give Michigan a 19-15 lead with 68 seconds left in the half. To start the third, the Dragons almost scored the fastest goal in NAML history, when only 5 seconds in, Schermini attempted a very long shot, but he missed wide, giving Milwaukee a point. 3 minutes later, Thorn scored his second to increase Michigan's lead to 7. However, the Dragons kept pressing, getting a goal and point to make it a 2-point game. However, the Bandits came back and did the exact same thing, making it 28-21. Morton Lanus scored for Milwaukee, making it less than a 1-goal deficit again, but Michigan responded with a point. However, the Dragons came back again, and with 67 seconds left in the quarter, Schermini scored to tie the game at 29. As the players came back for the jump-ball Commentator Gord Royce uttered what would become one of the most famous lines in Markball history after the game. "I have no doubt in my mind that if either the Dragons or Bandits score in the next minute, they will be victorious" True to Royce's words, the Bandits won the jump-ball, and carried the ball downfield. Despite tight defense by Milwaukee, Larry Farrell was able to find Thorn, who stutter-stepped a defender before rushing in at a tight angle and wiring a shot past Davidson, giving Michigan a 33-29 lead with 7 seconds to go in the quarter. Milwaukee scored the first point of the fourth, but after Thorn's goal, it seemed like destiny that the Bandits would win. Westbrook scored for Michigan, but the 7-point lead was quickly negated to 3 after a Milwaukee goal. Despite this, Michigan continued dominating, as Westbrook scored two more to make it 45-34. The final two scores were the two teams exchanging points. As the final whistle sounded, Windy Park erupted in celebration, as the Bandits were indeed headed back to their 5th Urquhart Cup in 6 years.

Final Score: Michigan 46, Milwaukee 35

 

(E1) Washington Warriors vs (E2) Toronto Nationals

President's Park was roaring as the Warriors took the field, as Washington was hoping to make it to their second straight Urquhart Cup final. However, just like the first semifinal, it was the away team that has the good start, as just 50 seconds in, James Jogi kicked a curling shot past Ambrose Gares. After the goal, Toronto continued with the ball, and three minutes later, Albert Asher scored to make it 8-0 before Washington could get the ball in Toronto's end. After a 5-minute period of slow play, Toronto scored again, this time Tim Keys deflected a cross home, giving the Nats a 12-0 lead not even halfway through the first. After the third goal, Washington finally started getting chances, and with 8 minutes left to play, Jim Gardenar kicked a beautiful shot that Abraham Jackson had no chance of stopping. With under two minutes to play, Gardenar wired another shot, but Jackson Got a fingertip on it that just deflected it over the bar, making it 12-5 for Toronto after 1. The second started slowly, but eventually, Blair Lucas scored to make it a three-point game. The game was tight again after that, but eventually Toronto restored their 7-point lead with another goal from Asher. Washington scored a quick point after, But that would be all they could get in the half, as Toronto ended the second quarter with another goal from Keys, taking a 20-10 lead into halftime. In the third, in was the Warriors with the quick start, getting another goal from Gardenar and two points in the first 5 minutes of the quarter, cutting the lead to a goal. However, Toronto quickly increased the lead to 8 with a goal by Keys. 7 minutes later, Washington got another goal, but Toronto quickly responded again, this time with a point. In the final minutes, the Warriors had two great chance to take the lead, But Gardenar missed just wide and a Lucas shot was deflected by Jackson for a point. After 3, it was still anyone's game, with Toronto leading 25-22. Just 1:47 into the fourth quarter, Toronto quickly scored to make it a 7-point game. Washington pressed and pressed, but Jackson stood tall. At the 6-minute mark, Jogi appeared to put the dagger in the Warriors' backs, scoring his third to make it 33-23. Washington still wasn't giving up, and 6 minutes later, Gardenar deflected in a free kick to make it a 7-point game again. However, that would be all the Warriors could do, as Toronto scored two late points to make it 36-27. As the final whistle sounded, Toronto celebrated as they moved on to their 3rd Urquhart Cup in 5 years, with both prior times also being against Michigan.

Final Score: Washington 27, Toronto 36

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Bracket:

mmL5uZT.png

 

Urquhart Cup Preview:

This year's Urquhart Cup will be played at Philadelphia's Philadelphia Markball Park. Merle announced that next year's game will be played at Canada's Field in Toronto.

Toronto @ Michigan, at Philadelphia, PA

Previous Playoff Game: 1965 Urquhart Cup

Result: Michigan 51-28 Toronto

This is the third time in 5 years these two teams have squared off in Markball's championship, and both times, Michigan has had Toronto's number., winning by 23 and 25 points, as well as a combined score of 102-54. Toronto wasn't predicted to be in the playoffs this year, but their run has been great, especially only holding one of the league's best offenses to 27 points. Michigan is clearly the favourite, but don't count Toronto out.

Prediction: Toronto will finally get another Cup win, beating Michigan 46-30.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

The Bandits have gone back to being everybody's most hated team, and it's looking like they have a good chance of winning their eighth Urquhart Cup already. We'll see what happens.

 

C&C is always appreciated!

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I was hoping the Knights would win at least one playoff series, but it didn't happen. Oh well. Here's hoping Toronto can pull off the upset, seeing as the Bandits have had their turn in terms of dominance. Also, are real life leagues like the NFL, MLB, etc in the Markball universe, or are they replaced with fictional versions? Can't wait for the expansion council!

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7 hours ago, BengalSteve said:

are real life leagues like the NFL, MLB, etc in the Markball universe, or are they replaced with fictional versions? Can't wait for the expansion council!

The Markball world has its own fictional leagues, but they're all very similar to the real-life ones. Markball is the 2nd-3rd most popular sport in this universe, but football is definitely number 1.

 

As for the expansion council, I'm in the process of selecting the cities, and I plan to have the council post up soon after the Urquhart Cup post.

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I'm hoping the Stallions kick the Patri-er-Bandits into the dirt.

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1968 Urquhart Cup

Date: September 28, 1968

Location: Philadelphia Markball Park, Philadelphia, PA

Weather: 75°F (24°C)

Attendance: 29,237

 

Philadelphia Markball Park was rocking on the warm September night of the NAML's championship game. Suprisingly, the Stadium was mostly filled up with the favourite Bandits faithful by game-time, with only a few thousand Nats fans in attendance. For the first time in the game's history, a marching band played the national anthem, and also performed during halftime.

 

Right off the opening bounce, both teams were hungry to win. The Bandits were victorious to start, and led a rush downfield in the first minute that resulted in a point by Hugh Westbrook exactly 60 seconds into the contest. However, Toronto led a quick counterattack back upfield, but they too only managed a minor score, by Albert Asher. Michigan controlled the ball for the next two minutes and got two good chances, but goalkeeper Abraham Jackson deflected both of them away for points. 5 minutes later, the first major moment in the game occured when Michigan goalkeeper Rudy Nicolas forgot the rules and caught a shot directed at him, resulting in a penalty for Toronto, which Nelson Traoré converted. After this, the game's pace quickened and the Bandits scored their first goal of the game from Westbrook on the next rush. 2 minutes later, Asher scored, giving Toronto the lead back. Soon after, they increased the lead to 3, getting another point, this time from James Jogi. The last part of the quarter saw the play slow down, until Dominic Abrams fooled Jackson with a long curling shot, giving Michigan the lead back. The score held up after 1, and it looked like it would be an exciting game, as the two teams combined for 5 lead changes in the quarter.

After 1: Michigan 11, Toronto 10

 

However, the slow pace the first quarter ended with held up in the second. The ball was mostly played at midfield for most of the quarter, until Toronto finally got a break through the Michigan defense, and eventually, bench forward Chris Kernan gave Toronto their third lead of the game, beating Nicolas between his legs. The Bandits tried to respond right away, and they almost did, but Westbrook's shot hit the side of his foot and missed wide for a point. There would be another period of slow play, then it was the Nats turn to have some offensive pressure. They managed to get several shots away, but Nicolas stood tall. There would be a goal-line scramble at one point, and eventually defender Larry Farrell made a smart play to get out of trouble by kicking the ball off of an attacking player and past the pointline for a minor score, giving the Bandits a chance to clear without pressure. The final 9 minutes saw some shots, but no more high-scoring opportunities. As referee Dennis Hanson blew the halftime whistle, the Nats looked in a good place, keeping the league's best offense to only 12 first-half points.

At the Half: Michigan 12, Toronto 15

 

Michigan knew they had to improve heading into the third, and they did just that, getting a goal from Daniel Thorn to retake the lead in the first 2 minutes. On top of that, the defense was stellar, not allowing Toronto to have an attacking rush until 12 minutes into the quarter. With 8 minutes left to play, the game broke open as a Westbrook shot just went over the line, giving the Bandits the game's first two-score lead. On the very next rush, Thorn scored a point, and 90 seconds later, Abrams potted his second of the match. All of a sudden, the score was 25-15 for the Bandits. Toronto desperately tried to get anything through the backline, but they couldn't. Looking for literally anything to kickstart his team, Jogi attempted a very long kick from 50m out. It gave Nicolas some trouble, but he was able to save it. With under two minutes to go, FB Farrell kicked a rare point, giving Michigan an 11-point lead. Toronto looked to finally get a good rush at the end of the quarter, but they ran out of time before they could get a shot off. After 3, it was the Bandits' lead to lose. Toronto was still in it however, they would just need to give over 110% effort if they wanted the Cup. 

After 3: Michigan 26, Toronto 15

 

The fourth quarter was a deadlock to start. As now the Stallions defense what tightening up as well. Eventually, 8 and a half minutes in, Westbrook kicked a point, and that seemed to take all the wind out of Toronto's sails. Their defense was still going strong, but the Bandits defense was too good for them. The Nats weren't out yet though, and it showed as Jackson made a huge string of three great saves to prevent another goal, much to the delight of the Toronto fans behind him. Unfortunately for the offense, they STILL couldn't get anything going, and Thorn made it a four-goal deficit with 9 minutes to play. After this, Toronto finally started getting chances, but nothing was of high-risk until the 4-minute mark, when Jogi finally got his name on the scoresheet by beautifully deflecting a free kick past Nicolas. The Nats weren't giving up, and they would continue pressing, but unfortunately, they only managed 3 more shots on Nicolas for the rest of the game, and he stopped all of them. Hanson blew the final whistle, and for the 5th time in 6 years, the Bandits ran onto the field with joy. Usually they bunched up with the forwards in the opposing team's end, but this year, after the amazing defensive performance, they went to Nicolas and celebrated there. 

Final Score: Michigan 31, Toronto 19

 

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The MVP award was given to Larry Farrell, who was the mastermind on the field behind the Bandits' great defense. "Coming in, people were saying this was gonna be easy for us. To be honest, it might not have shown by the score, but that was one of the hardest game's I've ever played. Toronto is a good team and they aren't to be taken lightly" he said after the game.

 

The hot topic for the annual commissioner's post-game conference this year was expansion. Merle stated that "We have received bids from several cities, and will announce the two new cities that will gain NAML franchises in the offseason." as well as "Our timeline is right on schedule. Both teams will play starting in 1970."

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Y'all know what that means, the expansion council is BACK! I'll hopefully have the post with the cities up tomorrow, and have the voting up for around 10 days.

 

C&C is always appreciated!

 

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Why didn’t Toronto come out of the lockeroom till the 4th quarter?? God dammit Michigan

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It's about that time to start the 4th NAML Expansion Council. The rules are the same as the two previous times, and are down below.

 **************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

People who have previously participated are allowed to use the same characters as before, or people related to them.

 

Name/Age: Your character's full name and age.

Bio: A short description of what your character does for a living, their origins, where they live currently, their life experience with Markball, etc. There are no limits for what your character can be, except for NAML executives.

Top Three Cities: Pick your top three cities you would like to see host an NAML team. There are no boundaries as to what specific areas the cities you choose have to be in.

NAML Alignment Ideas: How the league should be aligned once the two teams have been selected.

 **************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Atlanta, GA

Population: 494,000

Stadium: Atlanta Stadium of America (30,179)

Stadium Rating: 38%

Fan Interest: 96%

Markball in Atlanta has been on a huge rise over the past 5 years, with Attendance at Atlanta's SEML games skyrocketing to a league-high. Even though the Stadium is in less-than-ideal condition, it will be just fine for the team to play on until a replacement is made.

 

Charlotte, NC

Population: 234,000

Stadium: Queen Charlotte Stadium (23,833)

Stadium Rating: 26%

Fan Interest: 79%

Charlotte's relationship with Markball has taken quite a hit after not receiving a team in the early 60's, but the support for a team is on the rise now that the NAML has named them a candidate. Just like Atlanta, Queen Charlotte Stadium will be playable until a replacement is made.

 

Cincinnati, OH

Population: 463,000

Stadium: Independence Stadium (38,180)

Stadium Rating: 72%

Fan Interest: 69%

The most surprising of the candidate cities, Cincinnati's CML team has unfortunately been perennially in the basement, but attendance has still been great. The leader of the bid, John Young is hoping that the city will fall in love with the sport, and make it the most popular in the city.

 

Dallas, TX

Population: 811,000

Stadium: C. Winthrop Young Stadium (30,245)

Stadium Rating: 52%

Fan Interest: 64%

Even though fan support isn't as high as some of the other cities, the markball fans in Dallas are some of the most loyal in not just the CML, but in the entire country. The fans are known for introducing new people to the sport, and if they get a team, there's no doubt that they'll continue doing so, increasing the game's popularity.

 

Houston, TX

Population: 1,174,000

Stadium: Lellan Otis Stadium (88,206)

Stadium Rating: 50%

Fan Interest: 84%

The general interest in markball in Houston has been on the rise since the start of the decade, and is seeing no signs of stopping. Bid leader Allen Acourt stated that it should "be a no-brainer" for the league to give one of the nation's biggest cities a team to help increase the sport's popularity.

 

Miami, FL

Population: 326,000

Stadium: Miami-Dade County Stadium (19,274)

Stadium Rating: 84%

Fan Interest: 86%

After getting a SEML team in 1963, Miami's markball demographic has been increasing amazingly, and the city's large Hispanic population has been a huge help with that, as they have appeared to embrace Markball throughout their lives.

 

New Orleans, LA

Population: 600,000

Stadium: Addai Caddo Park (14,512)

Stadium Rating: 91%

Fan Interest: 89%

Another surprising candidate, New Orleans has quietly been a very passionate Markball city. The Cajuns of the SEML are the most recent league title winners, and when they won, they city was in a frenzy. There's no doubt that this would continue in the NAML.

 

San Francisco, CA

Population: 721,000

Stadium: Bay Area Stadium (48,873)

Stadium Rating: 74%

Fan Interest: 89%

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland BOTH sent bids to the league office, but San Francisco's bid was more impressive to Merle and the league executives. Bid Leader John Khier said that San Francisco is "the perfect bid" because of the Bay Area's combined population of over 3 million.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************

So there are the cities you can choose from. Remember to pick your top three, not just one.

 

I'll have voting up until the 24th at Noon ET.

 

With that being said, Expansion Council is now OPEN!

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Aengus Lynch returns to the expansion council as he keeps up public appearances after helping construct Boston Shore Stadium. 

1. New Orleans - Passion-filled town who knows how to host a party, he thinks they'll be a shoe in to host plenty of Urquhart Cups if selected
2. San Francisco - Aengus personally feels that LA needs a team next to them so there can be some cut down on travel costs.
3. Miami - Fun in the Sun, It'd expose Proffessional Markball to an entirely new demographic and potentially open itself up to a new talent pool if you can get kids to fall in love ith the game.

Slot New Orleans into the East and San Fran into the West.

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Matthew Laurence, 40

Owner of a successful business in Houston, Tx

Top Three Cities:

Houston, Tx (Houston fan interest is high in the state of Texas)

Dallas, Tx (Good geography rival to Houston)

San Fransisco, Ca (Would be a good geography rival to Los Angeles)

NAML Realignment Idea: I would keep it as it is for now until you can get a two conference with two division in each conference. or try a three division format since my teams are in the south and west.

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ReName: Miles O'Brien, age 64

Bio: Owner of Rushmore Potatoes and several breweries across the midwest. 2nd generation immigrant from Ireland and has been a massive fan of the Chicago crusaders since 1946. He attempted (and failed) to start a markball league in Ireland. Miles just moved from Chicago to Boca Raton, FL.

 

Teams: 

1. Miami, FL. Miles wants to be able to see Markball in his new home, and he also knows that Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the US . Although the stadium is a bit too small for his liking, it does have plenty of room for expansion and renovations. Miami is already a common vacation destination among markball players, and the fan base for the SEML is rapidly growing.

2. Houston, TX. Biggest market, largest stadium, foothold in Texas, it's a no brainer. 

3. San Francisco, CA. San Francisco too has a large market to draw from and it would fix the travel problems for the Los Angeles Guardians, perhaps increasing quality of play in LA. 

 

Allignment:

Eastern Conference North: New York, Montreal, Toronto, & Boston.

Eastern Conference South: Philadelphia, Washington, & Miami.

Western Conference North: Chicago, Milwaukee, Minnesota, & Michigan.

Western Conference South: St. Louis, Los Angeles, & Houston.

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