NBL Division Two preview - Week 11 (7/8 December 2019)

With just two game weeks remaining after this weekend before the mid-season break, a number of teams have the opportunity to put some real momentum together to close 2019. Nine fixtures make up the week 11 schedule, with Northern Conference leaders Team Newcastle and Southern top dogs Essex, Medelynas and Ipswich all in action.

Game of the Week

Essex Rebels (5-2) v BC Medelynas London (5-3)

Two of the sides in the three way tie for the top of the Southern Conference meet tomorrow in what is sure to be a highly anticipated affair.

After starting the season 5-0, Essex have faltered over the last two weeks. They still have more than enough quality to correct their course however, and a match up with a talented Medelynas side is sure to focus the Rebels on the task at hand.

Medelynas suffered a surprise defeat at home to London Westside last week, dipping out to a buzzer beater that sent them to 5-3 on the year. Ausridas Petraitis is enjoying a solid season, with 21 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. It'll take some more magic from the Lithuanian if Medelynas are gong to win a tough road game tomorrow though.

Elsewhere in D2M

Ipswich (5-2) will be looking forward to continuing their strong run of form tomorrow as they head to London to face the Greenhouse Pioneers (3-2). Coach Drane's side may sit in a tie with Essex and Medelynas for now, but the Suffolk team have the luxury of already defeating both rivals so far this season.

Another team looking to make a case at the top of the Southern Conference are East London All Stars (4-1). After starting their season a little later then dropping their opening fixture to Sussex, the London side have now reeled off four straight wins and will look to make it five in a row as they head to Greenwich Titans (3-4) tomorrow.

Rounding out the Conference's top 5, London Westside (4-2) have also enjoyed a reasonable start to the season. A win over bottom side Cardiff Met Archers (1-5) tomorrow would push Westside into the mix with 10 points, that could be enough for a top 4 spot if results go their way.

The South's only other game of the weekend is an all South-coast affair on Sunday as Team Solent Kestrels II (2-6) host Sussex Bears (1-6). Fresh off his 51 point outburst last week, Solent's reigning D2M Player of the Week Ashley Williams would no doubt like to keep that sort of form going for as long as possible. 

That leaves four games in the Northern Conference, headlined by leaders Team Newcastle University (8-0) as they welcome Bristol Academy Flyers (4-4). A monster of a trip up the country, Bristol will be hoping it isn't for nothing though Newcastle have been in unstoppable form of late.

Bristol Hurricanes (0-7) will have another chance to break into the win column as they hit the road to take on Derbyshire Spartans (2-6). The Midlands' side have lost four in row, suggesting that there's certainly a chance for Bristol if they can play at their best.

Sunday's schedule is highlighted by Charnwood College Riders (6-2) going up against Myerscough College (6-2) in the North West. Two teams that know each other well, a loss for either side could be a major blow to catching leaders Newcastle. The Knights look unlikely to drop three games between now and the end of the season.

The weekend wraps with Team Birmingham Elite's (4-4) trip to Derbyshire Arrows (4-4) in a contest between two sides in the hunt for playoff seeding. The Arrows have a match winner in Joseph Baugh, though he'll no doubt match up well with Birmingham's exciting young prospect Ian Rodriguez.

Full fixtures and stats

Saturday 7 December 2019

3:00pm - London Greenhouse Pioneers v Ipswich - LIVE STATS
3:00pm Greenwich Titans v East London All Stars - LIVE STATS
6:15pm - London Westside v Cardiff Met Archers - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Derbyshire Spartans v Bristol Hurricanes - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Team Newcastle v Bristol Academy Flyers - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Essex Rebels v London BC Medelynas - LIVE STATS

Sunday 8 December 2019

3:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels II v Sussex Bears - LIVE STATS
4:00pm - Myerscough College v Charnwood College - LIVE STATS
4:15pm - Derbyshire Arrows v Team Birmingham Elite - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - Nick Winter