Bristol derby is key fixture in D1W this weekend

With title hopefuls Southwark off duty again this weekend, Solent have the opportunity to forge ahead in the title race with 2 games this weekend. Add in the playoff battle from 4th down to 8th and part 2 of the Battle of Bristol and it’s going to be a great week of D1W action. 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.

Bristol Storm (6-10) v Bristol Academy Flyers (7-8)

Where to start with this one? The Storm have been licking their wounds since a 62-32 loss to the Flyers back in November and with playoff position on the line, the hosts get another crack at their cross town rivals with just 5 games left to go of the regular season. With the loss of former captain Maialen Zilbeti to the Flyers in January, there is going to be a game full of storylines throughout.

The Flyers used that derby win back in November to go on a 4 game winning streak that took the side from the lower reaches of the table and into the mix for a playoff spot. With remaining fixtures against Exeter and Lancashire plus this game with the Storm, there is a strong possibility that the Flyers can finish the season on the back of a nice winning streak.

Previous meeting – Bristol Academy Flyers 62 v 36 Bristol Storm

The cross town rivalry in Bristol is set to tip off once again this weekend - B.East Photography

Reading Rockets (6-10) v Team Solent Kestrels (14-0)

Reading’s most recent outing saw them return to losing form as they dropped a game to the Spinners. Due to a postponed game with Southwark last weekend, the Rockets have had plenty of time to prepare for this tough match up with table topping Solent. There’s little to suggest Reading will find success in this one, especially when you consider they lost the 1stgame between these sides by 15 back in late November. The Rockets are 1-6 since that game as well.

Solent just need to keep doing what they’re doing. A 1-point OT win last time out against Charnwood was huge for the title chasing Kestrels, but it was a victory in a game they had to win and that’s what matters. Everything still points towards their game with Southwark next Saturday but Solent need to stay on track until then by winning this weekend.

Previous meeting – Team Solent Kestrels 75 v 60 Reading Rockets

Lancashire Spinners (4-11) v Team Solent Kestrels (14-0)

A Lancashire win in this one would have pretty big implications at both ends of the table. The Spinners are beginning to drift away from the teams above them and a win would be key in closing that gap once again. At the top, dropped points for Solent would put a serious dent in their title chances. Lancashire’s attention is more likely to be on their relegation clash with Anglia Ruskin next week, but getting something from this game would be a bonus.

Surprisingly, these teams still haven’t met this season and will play twice in the next few weeks as the season draws to a close. It’s unlikely that the Spinners will be able to spring a surprise on the Kestrels but you never know. Always beware of a team playing for their survival.

Previous meeting – 1st game this season

Anglia Ruskin University (6-11) v Barking Abbey UEL (8-7)

With the way that D1W is structured, Anglia Ruskin are right in the thick of a relegation scrap and a battle for a post season place at the same time. Sitting 4 points off the potential relegation of 10th, they’re tied on points with Bristol Storm in 8th and Reading in 7th for a spot in the playoffs as well. A home match up with Barking is a tough fixture for ARU as they lost the 1st game by 21 but they’ll still be giving it their all.

Deadlocked with Essex in the battle for 4th place, Barking and the Blades have both managed to create a bit of separation to the teams behind them. With those 2 sides set to meet on the 18th March, that game could decide home court advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs. That’s assuming neither side slips up before then though and Barking still have to host Solent.

Previous meeting – Barking Abbey UEL 74 v 53 Anglia Ruskin University

Exeter Eagles (0-16) v Essex Blades (8-7)

With 4 games left on the season, Exeter still have the misfortune of hitting the road and playing away for 3 of those fixtures before the regular season ends. As a final stand at their own venue, the Eagles will look to go out with a bang but the hosts lost by nearly 50 when the sides met in Essex in November. Look for a closer encounter here though as Exeter try to finish strong.

Essex utilised a high scoring 1st quarter in the last encounter between these sides and will no doubt look to do the same again this weekend. Up 29-12 after 10 minutes, that kind of scoring pace will be too much for Exeter if the Blades can repeat it this time round. With Charnwood coming to town next week, Essex would love to put this one to bed early and rest their starters as much as possible.

Previous meeting – Essex Blades 92 v 44 Exeter Eagles