Season 14 kicks off in style with the first of three competitions this season, The Chanelf Challenge Cup. This competitions format is similar to it’s previous staging being a swiss format over four rounds with teams gaining points for a win, loss or draw. The team who finishes top will win the Cup but also a whopping 150,000gp to add to their treasury. You can see more about this competition by following this link here. But it would be a very short post if all we talked about was this years Challenge Cup competition so here we are to discuss a little more about the history of the Cup and some previous competitions featuring it.
The HDWSBBL Challenge Cup was first introduced as the PitRat Cup and was only considered a minor cup for the 2507/08 season. The cup was created to allow the newer teams to the league to participate in a simple knock-out tournament to gain more experience and a chance to win some silverware, with the likes of The Loren Rangers and Ragnar’s Swift Velocity not participating. The tournament proved a huge success and brought teams from North and South battling it out for the title. The inaugural winners of the Cup were the Karak Smashers, who beat the Loren Tornadoes in a thrilling 2-1 win.
The next competition afterwards was the Zombway Cup 2508/09. The knock-out format was repeated as the competition before with a massive sixteen teams competing for it (this time without The Loren Rangers). This competition occurred during one of the longest seasons to date with the final eventually taking place in early June, with the scheduled time of early February! Ragnar’s Swift Velocity played the Lustrian Snake Queens in another close contest, in the end the Snake Queens claimed their first title on their debut season winning 2-1.
At the end of the Zombway Cup 2508/09 problems arose as teams complained the fact that the cup should be open to all teams not just the newer ones (reports claim The Rangers were the only ones complaining about it!). The commissioners then decided that since it was a big success and the fact that there wouldn’t be a lot of newer teams next season, the HDWSBBL Challenge Cup was changed to a major championship and all teams in the HDWSBBL could enter with no restrictions. The commissioners also decided to change the format to a shorter but more competitive competition, the Swiss format, of which is the system that is used today.
The new format and new rules allowed The Loren Rangers to finally enter the competition after two seasons of sitting on the sidelines. The Pepslay Challenge 2509/10 was an action packed affair with many rivalry’s being created and settled, Star Players being killed and one of the most bloodthirsty match days in HDWSBBL history, the day of the dead. In the end The Loren Rangers were victorious despite a nervy final round match against the Innsmouth Shadows. A full review of this particular competition can be found here.
Featuring once again for the 2510/11 season new sponsors Spite hosted the Spite Challenege 2510/11 in the same format as the previous edition. The Tail Slammers lifted the title after a very tight contest which saw six teams being mathematically possible to lift the title. You can see the article explaining this here. The Slammers shocked the competition with their 3-1 over the Brimstone Flayers along with Rangers failing to win their match and also a back to back title. The Teotigua Predators, who came second in the end despite winning their match just missed out. The Swiss system brings about situations like this and can make for some interesting final match weeks.
After that competition the Cup was rested for a while until the 2514/15 season in which the Cup was picked up by the sports giants Sly Sports. The competition went way back to it’s roots with the knock-out format it previous was. The Sly Sports Challenge Cup 2514/15 was part of a deal with the league to feature a three part competition phase. Firstly the Challenge Cup competition itself, the second being the first round losers would be entered into the first inaugural Vase Championship in another straight knock-out competition to determine a champion. The final part would be a Super Cup match between the Challenge Cup winner and the Vase Championship winner to determine the undisputed champion. Although the Challenge Cup and Vase Championship were competed for, there was never a Super Cup ever made or competed for. Arkham Black Towers were the eventual champions of the Challenge Cup after beating the Oxmoor Savages 2-1 (the third time in so many weeks they faced each other as well!), this also counted towards Arkham Black Towers completing the first ever Triple Crown by winning the Championship, Conference Championship and Challenge Cup, a feat which has not been repeated since.
Despite signing a deal to host the competitions for two seasons back to back, Sly Sports decided to drop their deal for some unknown reason (rumour mills are still discussing this even now). But after a hiatus of two years they finally agreed to re-sponsor the competition to honour their agreement previously. Going back to the Swiss format the competition took another direction in which it was played during the summer before the main league competition in the winter. This proved to be a somewhat popular as it provided another chance for teams to get some match time but also more importantly some sliverware. The Sly Sports Challenge Cup 2517 featured only a handful of teams this time around but that did not stop the action and drama that occurred. The Hashut Hairy Hammers lifted their first title after not loosing a single game during the competition, with the Deadly Spawn and Arcani’s All Sparks coming second and third respectfully after loosing a match.
Now back for good the Challenge Cup will feature at the start of a new season with the main sponsor being changed each year to avoid the complications previously with Sly Sports.
A nice trip down memory lane for a lot of fans who can remember these moments over the years. If there are any certain memories you can remember that occurred during any of the Challenge Cup competitions we would love to hear from you in the comments section. Good luck to all the teams in this seasons edition!