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Updated: November 25, 2013
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

New format Dutch big league-competition in 2014
AMSTERDAM (Neth.) - On Monday (November 25), it was reported that the Dutch big league-competition will have a new format next season.

The 42-game schedule will be split into two halves of 21 games each. The top-2 of the first half will become the first two teams to qualify for the Play-Offs, which follow the regular season after completion of the second half. The two best teams of the second half also will qualify for the Play-Offs. When one or both teams to finish in first and second place in the second half are the same as in the first half, the number 3 and number 4 also can qualify.

The four teams that clinched the Play-Offs start the postseason with the half of the points they earned during the regular season (two for a win, one for a tie, zero for a loss). The four teams then meet each other in 3-game series playing a total of nine games. The two best teams then qualify for the Holland Series to decide the championship. This Play-Off format (except the points) is in use since 2011.

The last time that the season was divided into two halves with a qualifying format was in 1987 and 1988. In 1987, the winner of the first and second half qualified for the Holland Series. Neptunus then won the first half and faced second half-winner Amsterdam Pirates in the first-ever Holland Series, which was won by Pirates. In 1988, the same format was used, but this time, it had a different outcome. Haarlem Nicols then was the winner of both the first and second half and was declared Dutch champion, meaning there was no Holland Series.

In 1986, the league was split after 30 games. The top-6 then played for the championship, while the bottom-4 were joined by the top-4 of the First Division to play for four spots in next years big league. This same format was in use in 1987 and 1988, but then the winners of both halves qualified for the final series.

After the 1988 season, the split-season formula was dropped again, but returned in 2001. Again, the top-6 formed a championship-pool, while the remaining teams had to secure their spot for next season in a relegation-pool. In this new format, the four best teams of the champion-pool qualified for the Play-Offs. This format also was used in 2002 and 2003.

In 2010, a new split-format was introduced in the then 8-team league. After a regular season of 42 games, the top-4 qualified for the Play-Offs, while the other four teams continued in a Play-Downs to decide eventual relegation. The Play-Off/Play-Down format was also used in 2011, 2012 and this season. From 1989 through 2010, the number 1 of the regular season or championship pool would meet the number 4, while the number 2 met number 3 in the Play-Offs en route to the Holland Series. In 2011, the new Play-Off format was introduced.

(November 25)

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