NBL D2&3 recap: Race hots up with mid-season break in sight

The NBL season is flying along, with teams working hard to improve their standing before December's mid-season break.

Here’s the latest story across tiers two and three as we move into the final month of 2023.

NBL Division Two  

The North division continues to intrigue, with a number of teams enjoying a strong November.

Manchester Magic (7-2) still head the table, but that may not be the case for too much longer.

Bristol Hurricanes (6-1) have added a trio of wins this month, with St Helens Saints (3-1) also losing just once so far.

It's been a month to forget for Worcester Wolves, who have slipped from 3-1 to 3-4, with Bristol Basketball United (3-3 to 3-5) suffering a similar fate.

Leicester Warriors (4-3) and Derbyshire Arrows (4-2) round out the top four.

Magic and the Hurricanes meet this weekend in what should be a top-quality affair, whilst St Helens still have to face both the Warriors and Arrows before 2023 comes to a close.

In the South, the two-way split remains as Milton Keynes and Team Solent Kestrels continue to clash.

The Breakers currently have their noses ahead at 8-1, but that loss is one more than the Kestrels (7-0) have experienced so far.

Sadly, MK point guard Andre Arissol suffered a season-ending rupture to his patella tendon during November, and the former D1 standout is sure to be a big miss as the title battle continues to heat up.

Three wins for Richmond Knights (6-3) have vaulted the Londoners into third, and NASSA (5-3) have added a two wins and two losses this month to round out the top four.

The Knights host Milton Keynes in the Breakers' final game of 2023 on December 16, and TSK have to navigate visits from NASSA and former D1M side Westminster Warriors (2-3) if they're to reach the mid-season break still unbeaten.

WNBL Division Two 

Pool 1 continues to belong to reigning champs Sheffield Hatters II (5-0), though the South Yorkshire side haven't played in the league for almost the entirety of November.

The Hatters have been in WNBL National Cup action however, safely booking their spot in the final four of that competition.

Worcester Wolves (4-1) have added a win to their total to stay in second place, with University of East Anglia (4-1) adding three wins as a team in form.

Sheffield vs UEA could be the tie of the coming month, and former National Cup winners Stockport Lapwings could cause a bump in the road for either the Hatters, Worcester Wolves or UEA, who all have to play the North West side before December ends.

Pool 2 has a new leader, with Cobham Cobras making the most of their games in hand to move to 7-0.

Former pace-setters Hemel Storm Women (5-2) are still up there, but three losses for Oaklands College Wolves II (4-4) have seen them slump down the standings.

Plymouth City Patriots (3-1) still have games in hand that could easily vault them into the title reckoning, London All Stars (5-2), and East London Phoenix (4-2) will both fancy their chances as well.

Cobham's unbeaten streak will be seriously tested before the calendar ticks overs to 2024, with visits to both Hemel and the All-Stars, plus a home game with Plymouth.

NBL Division Three 

In the North, Sheffield Elite Basketball Academy (5-0) have broken the three-way tie at the top, with Sheffield Sharks (5-2) and Charnwood Riders (4-2) both falling back.

Liverpool (8-0) continue to streak away in the North West, though Cheshire Wire (6-1) are trying to keep pace. Manchester Swarm (5-2) are also well placed should either side suffer a rough December.

Loughborough Riders II (4-0) remain the only unbeaten side in the Midlands conference, with Nottingham Trent Hoods (4-1) and Warwickshire Hawks (2-1) both sat on one loss each.

Essex Rebels II (6-0), Chelmsford Charge (5-0) and University of Hertfordshire Storm (4-0) are all yet to taste defeat in the East, with the trio of teams all staying perfect in November.

London Sharks (3-0) have made the most of their games in hand to move ahead of Islington Panthers (3-1) and East London Phoenix (3-1) in the capital, with NCC (3-2) and CoLA Southwark Pride (3-2) helping to create a five-team jam on six points.

In the South, Oxford Hoops (7-1) are tied on 14 points with Greenhouse Sports (7-2), though Barnet Bulldogs (5-1), Surrey Scorchers II (5-2) and Reading Rockets II (3-2) can all crash that party if they win their games in hand.

Kent Crusaders (6-1) and Crawley Storm (5-0) look to be on a collision course at the head of the South East conference, though Canterbury Academy Crusaders (4-0) also remain unbeaten.

Finally, Cardiff City (4-0), Bath Basketball (4-1) and Plymouth Raiders (2-0) are still setting the pace in the South West division, with all three teams adding modestly to their records in November.


Main image credit - Tara St Clair