WNBL1 preview: 18/19 March 2023 - live streams, stats and more

It's a huge weekend in D1W, with key fixtures at both ends of the table.

That includes the top-two clash between Thames Valley and Solent, which could well define where the regular-season title will be heading.

Relegation-threatened duo Worcester and Bristol lock horns, with both teams tied on eight points for the final potential relegation spot as things stand.

As if that wasn't enough, there's also a repeat of the 2020/21 playoff final as CoLA host Ipswich, which is always one of the most anticipated rivalries in the women's game.

Those contests are part of seven fixtures over the next few days, with three games on Saturday and four on Sunday as just three weekends remain in the 2022/23 regular season.

We take a look at all the weekend's action below, with links to live stats and live streams at the bottom of the page.

Thames Valley Cavaliers (16-3) vs Team Solent Kestrels (16-2)

All eyes will be on Uxbridge this Sunday as the top two go head-to-head in what could be a title decider.

Thames Valley have played one more game than their South Coast rivals, and a loss at that, meaning the hosts will be desperate to knock off Solent and draw both teams level on three defeats with just a few games to go.

The Kestrels are strong favourites to seal the head-to-head tiebreaker between the sides regardless of the result this weekend, after securing a 72-39 victory at Solent Sports Complex on the opening day of the season.

That means TVC are going to need to best Solent's points-total to win their first-ever D1W regular season title, so where could either side slip up during the run in?

Both teams still have to take a trip to fourth-placed National Cup finalists Reading Rockets and the Berkshire side are 6-1 on their own court this season. That will be a tough match up, regardless.

It's also worth noting that this weekend is a double-header for both title challengers. Solent are away to Loughborough tomorrow, and Thames Valley travel to London Lions II. Neither team can afford to take their eye of those contests with Sunday in mind, and who knows how injury, fatigue and momentum will then play into Sunday's clash.

If both teams win on Saturday and Solent win on Sunday, the Kestrels will seal their first league title since 2016/17. Those are the fine margins TVC are working with, but they'll know they can keep their challenge going a little longer if they can secure a double-win weekend.


Elsewhere this weekend

Thames Valley's trip to London Lions II (7-12) starts the weekend, with the Lions still holding onto an outside chance of making the playoffs if they can win their remaining three games and Brent or Ipswich slip up.

Bristol Academy Flyers (4-15) host relegation rivals Worcester Wolves (4-16) in a clash that could decide the fate of the second potential relegation spot.

The Flyers currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker by three points, and with a game extra still to play, hold the upper hand for survival. Worcester's remaining game after this weekend is also against top of the table Solent, so a loss here may well see the Wolves close the season on their current point total.

Solent's trip to sixth place Loughborough Riders (10-10) is Saturday's only other game, with the Riders pushing for as high a playoff seed as possible with two games remaining.

Sunday contains four ties, including the big one between Solent and TVC.

The day begins with bottom side Cardiff Met Archers II (1-20) hosting Brent Bulls (9-8), who still have the highest number of games to play (5) before their season is completed. That means the Bulls could enter the playoffs with some serious momentum if they can string positive results together in the coming weeks.

It's fourth plays fifth as Reading Rockets (12-6) entertain Anglia Ruskin University (11-7). Ruskin beat the Rockets by 12 earlier this season, so a win by 13 point or more would take Reading very close to a guaranteed top four finish.

Ipswich (9-10) head to CoLA Southwark Pride (15-5) as the only other game on the weekend.

The Suffolk side won their home leg 86-67 back in December, so CoLA will no doubt be itching for some revenge against a side they know very well across the WNBL, Jnr. NBL and WEABL.

This weekend's fixtures:

Saturday 18 March

3pm - London Lions II vs Thames Valley Cavaliers - LIVE STATS

3pm - Bristol Academy Flyers vs Worcester Wolves - LIVE STATS

6pm - Loughborough Riders vs Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

Sunday 19 March

1pm - Cardiff Met Archers II vs Brent Bulls - LIVE STATS

1:15pm - Reading Rockets vs Anglia Ruskin University - LIVE STATS/LIVE STREAM

2:15pm - CoLA Southwark Pride vs Ipswich - LIVE STATS

4pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers vs Team Solent Kestrels - LIVE STATS


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Main image credit - Flo Alalade