2020 Japan Cup Preview
- News & Articles
It’s been a frustrating time for club cricketers in Japan. After the Japan Cup finals were abandoned last October we have had to wait even longer, the coronavirus wiping out the first three months of the 2020 season. Finally, we were able to see first cricket of the year, the Japan Cup season opener taking place in Sano on July 4th between Tsukuba and Tokyo Falcons.
Despite a few teams choosing to sit out this season, 42 teams will take part across the seven regions.
This year the Japan Cup Finals is scheduled to take place in Sano over two days on the weekend of October 10th and 11th due to there being no long weekend in October this year.
For the first time the JCA are publishing Japan Cup team rankings. Teams can measure their success against every other team in Japan. Teams will move up and down on the rankings table based on their performances. The rankings will be updated at the end of each season.
WEST KANTO has been won by the University XI for the last three years but this year the students will face some strong opposition. Tokyo Rhinos will be looking to get revenge after finishing top of the table but losing the West Kanto final last year. Look for Wyverns to bounce back after a disappointing end to 2019 and last year’s semi finalists Beans also appear to be getting stronger. Akishima Aviators are the youngest team in the league but have plenty of talent while Adore will also be looking for improvement. And what can we expect from the two new teams Serendib and Kawasaki Strikers? This could be the most even region in Japan.
There has been plenty happening in KANSAI during the off season. A new cricket ground is under construction in Kaizuka which is set to be the home of cricket in the region. The ground isn’t ready for use yet but there is plenty of excitement around it. Defending champions Shiga Kyoto won’t be competing now so Kobe Hawks will be strong favourites to win the region. Expect Osaka Raiders to improve on last year’s results and Keihan Blaze are also capable of competing against the best. Kansai Tigers are sure to improve but the three new teams in the region are unknown quantities. Osaka Lions and Royal Osaka Tigers appear for the first time, as do Kaizuka Aegirs who will fly the flag for the new City of Cricket in Kansai.
Men In Blue have a monopoly on the EAST KANTO trophy, having won the last four years, but could this be the year that another team finally breaks the cycle? Tsukuba were a close second last year and look the team most likely to beat the defending champions. The newly named Tokyo Rangers are a club on the rise while the Tokyo Falcons continue to grow stronger. Rising Stars will surely improve on last years efforts and the Chiba Sharks have been inconsistent but are capable of beating anyone on their day. East Kanto could be a tight race this year!
NORTH KANTO champions and 2018 national champions Ceylon XI have decided to sit out this season, leaving the region wide open for a new champion to emerge. Could this be the year that the young Sano team return to the top? No fewer than six new teams have joined the region this year so it is almost impossible to predict what to expect. The Roaring Tigers have a strong squad and will probably feature in the semi finals. Tokyo Titans have moved back to the North and are a club on the rise. Rumours are that Sultans of Japan will have plenty of fire power. MIB Challengers and Jaggar Falcons have signed some handy players and will be competitive. Pakistan Stars make a return after a two year absence and could also challenge.
This year SOUTH KANTO’s eight teams will be divided into two divisions with all matches to take place at the Yokohama Country & Athletic Club. Winners for the last four years, Alpha Quashers Yokohama are yet again the team to beat. If anyone can challenge them it’s the Tigers, who had a much improved season last year. Indian Engineers have always been a strong T20 team and will take some beating while the Tokyo Wombats are a proud club that can never be underestimated. Looking to Division 2, YC&AC will be hoping to finish top and win promotion. However, Keio Knights have recruited well and could threaten for the division title. British Embassy and Aoyama Gakuin were both winless last year. At least one of those teams will pick themselves off the bottom of the table and challenge for glory.
The TOKAI region has gone through some structural changes in the off-season and this year four teams will take part. Ebina will be the front runners, having competed well in South Kanto last year in their debut season. There has been a lot of talk about the new club Kawasaki Knight Riders so expect them to perform well. Aichi Warriors and AQ Kings are both new this year but the word is they have plenty of talent in their squads. It could be a close battle at Fuji this year.
Lastly, there is some excitement around the TOHOKU region with news that plans are being made for the construction of a new ground in Shichigahama. In the mean time, matches will be played at a temporary ground nearby. Sendai CC and Sendai Lions XI are the only teams in the region at the moment and both are evenly matched. It is hoped that a “City of Cricket” can be established in Shichigahama and a thriving cricket comunity can grow there in the future.