After Southwark’s double win weekend, attention turns to Solent v Charnwood in title race

With Southwark continuing their march towards a D1W title last weekend with a pair of wins, Solent now need to keep pace at the top. With 3 other games on tap, including another key clash at the bottom of the table for the battling Lancashire Spinners, there’s lots to cover for this weekend. We’ll also provide the score of the previous game that teams have played this season in D1W. With the primary tie breaker between two sides being their head to head record (including points difference) between each other over the 2 fixtures in a season, teams are not only looking to win but also secure any potential tiebreakers should two sides be equal on points come the end of the regular season.

Team Solent Kestrels (13-0) v Charnwood College Riders (12-3)

Last week, Southwark managed to survive the charge of Charnwood to keep their title ambitions on track. This weekend, Solent need to do the same. It remains to be seen how the Riders will be effected by such a close 4-point loss to the Pride, but the Kestrels will need to be at their best regardless. Still undefeated in D1W play, an 88-29 dismantling of Exeter last weekend will mean the Kestrels are in fine form heading into this one. Most importantly, they appear to have shaken off their National Cup Final defeat after 3 straight league wins.

How the Riders react after last weekend could be the key to this game. A victory against Southwark would have meant that winning the league was a possibility. A loss has realistically ended those prospects, but the post season can still be potential avenue for success for a team that will hope match Solent and Southwark on a one off basis. With just 4 games left on the Riders season, winning out may mean a shot at securing the 2nd seed in playoffs as well.

Previous meeting – Charnwood College Riders 65 v 78 Team Solent Kestrels

Anastasia Koniall has been important at both ends of the court for Solent this season - Mansoor Ahmed/Ahmed Photos

Essex Blades (7-7) v Bristol Storm (6-9)

The log jam in the middle of the D1W table shows no signs of breaking up as 6 of the division’s teams still sit within 2 points of each other. Essex Blades currently sit at the top of that bunch in 4th and would no doubt like to keep it that way with a win tomorrow. That will be easier said than done though, as these 2 teams met at the start of the month and Bristol took the W in that one.

Aside from losses to Southwark and Charnwood, the Storm have been in good form recently to win the 4 games mixed around those fixtures. Defeating Reading, Exeter and Lancashire has created some much needed separation between Bristol and the potential relegation places, and the win over Essex has shown that this side is capable of moving further up the table over the last 4 games of the season.

Previous meeting – Bristol Storm 59 v 53 Essex Blades

Bristol Academy Flyers (6-8) v Anglia Ruskin University (6-10)

An impressive 1-point win over Barking Abbey last weekend pushed the Flyers in to 6th place and with 4 of their last 5 games against teams below them in the table, the potential is there for Bristol to end the season on a roll. Only a home tilt with Charnwood should be seen as a tough match up, but this team gave Solent a tough ride just a few weeks ago and will fancy their chances in that game as well.

Anglia Ruskin are currently the odd team out, sat outside the playoff picture at the base of the teams tied on 12 points. A win against Bristol this weekend would surely remedy that, but after 3 straight losses form isn’t on their side. 3 of Ruskin’s last 4 games are on the road, not a good omen for a team that have gone 1-6 on their travels this season. They’re going to need to correct that trend if they’re going to make the post season.

Previous meeting – Anglia Ruskin University 67 v 53 Bristol Academy Flyers

Maialen Zilbeti could be a key player down the stretch for Bristol Flyers - B.East Photography

Lancashire Spinners (4-10) v Barking Abbey UEL (7-7)

3 wins in their last 5 have meant that the Spinners are still within touching distance of safety, but time isn’t on their side. Still 4 points adrift of the teams above them, Lancashire really need to get some wins from their upcoming 3 game home stand against Barking, Solent and Anglia Ruskin. After that, it’s away trips to Solent and Southwark and they are very difficult places to play. This game isn’t must win, but it’s close based on the Spinners’ remaining fixtures.

1 win in their last 4 means that Barking are in danger of losing some momentum as the season draws to a close. By no means guaranteed a playoff place with the number of teams around them on similar points, there needs to be an uptick in form as soon as possible. With all 4 of their upcoming fixtures against teams below them in the table, that improvement needs to come now before BA take on Solent and Essex to finish their campaign.

Previous meeting – Barking Abbey UEL 67 v 61 Lancashire Spinners