The window for teams to make their move in D1W is getting smaller. This weekend sees a fork in the road for a number of teams that will either take them on to success, or settle for something less. Throughout our preview, we’ll 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.
If Charnwood are going to make a legitimate push for the D1W title, this is a game they must win. Equally, a loss would be almost terminal to their chances of regular season silverware. With such fine margins, it will be interesting to see how a young roster will react. With key contributors like Anna Popovic, Harriet Swindells and Jessica Eadsforth-Yates all under 19 years of age, they will need to be at their best to defeat a side that has already beaten them once this season.
For Southwark, this game represents the biggest fixture of their stretch run outside of the rematch with Solent. After handling the Riders with a near 20-point advantage when the sides last met in November, Coach Jackson will no doubt be confident his roster can rise to the occasion and keep the Pride’s title challenge on track.
Previous meeting – Southwark Pride 78 v 59 Charnwood College Riders
Anna Popovic will be doing all she can to help Charnwood overcome Southwark this weekend - Joe Pinchin
It is probably a safe assumption that both active streaks in this fixture are set to continue after Exeter hosts Solent this weekend. With Exeter winless and Solent yet to taste D1W defeat, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that this game will more than likely go the way of the Kestrels. Still, the fixture is far from meaningless. With Exeter continuing to work on their young line-up and Solent still needing to take care of business, there is plenty at stake for a team with little to play for and a championship contender that could take their eye off the ball.
Previous meeting – Team Solent Kestrels 81 v 43 Exeter Eagles
This fixture has come at a good spot for the Storm for a number of reasons. Winning 3 out of their last 4 has pushed the Bristol side up the standings and the confidence and momentum of that can’t be underestimated. With Southwark’s attention understandably on their encounter with Charnwood on Saturday, plus the high probability that Solent will pick up yet another win against Exeter, the pressure will be on the Pride to continue producing. With Carmen Salvador growing into her role with the Storm now her debut is out of the way, she also represents an unknown quantity for the London side to deal with. Add in travel, the game being in Bristol and Southwark’s trip up to the Midlands 24 hours earlier, this game could be more competitive than the record of these two sides suggests.
Previous meeting – Southwark Pride 75 v 51 Bristol Storm
A win or two for the Flyers could see them move up the table as high as 5th, a far cry from their current spot just 1 place above the potential relegation zone. With a more enjoyable group of fixtures on the horizon in the coming weeks, the potential for Bristol and their new signings to really make a run into the playoff places is there. That task starts this week against a Barking side they only narrowly lost out to back in November.
BA embark on a 3 game road trip to round out the month but trips to the Flyers, Spinners and Anglia Ruskin are all more than winnable for a side sat 4th in the league. With Taneka Rubin continuing her fine form of late with 24 points last time out against Lancashire, Naomi McKenzie has also been a willing contributor for Barking. If that duo can continue to click, Abbey could well finish the season with plenty of momentum to carry into the playoffs.
Previous meeting – Barking Abbey UEL 57 v 54 Bristol Academy Flyers
Naomi McKenzie has formed a formidable partnership with Taneka Rubin for Barking this season - Barking Abbey
Despite 2 solid efforts last weekend, Lancashire Spinners still came up short in both their games of a pivotal double header weekend. Still, they shouldn’t allow that to deter them from giving 100% this time round in a more than winnable fixture. With Reading’s recent games only providing a single win over bottom side Exeter in their last 9, Lancashire need to make sure they get on top of the struggling Rockets early in the hope their form falters once again. This game wasn’t close when the two sides met in early October, but a lot has changed for both sides since that point. With the Spinners scrapping for their lives, playing at home, and Reading still looking unconvincing, this could be pegged as a potential upset.
Previous meeting – Reading Rockets 64 v 46 Lancashire Spinners
In a fixture that wouldn’t be out of place on the BUCS calendar, Anglia Ruskin entertain fellow university side Essex Blades on Saturday as both teams continue to jostle for playoff position. With Anglia Ruskin sitting right on the edge of the bubble in 8th, they would prefer as much breathing room as possible to the Flyers in 9th. That’s if they choose to look backwards though. With 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th all sat on 12 points, it’s just as possible that Ruskin could swap with Essex and move into 4th as drop out of the post season picture. Things really are getting tight in mid-table right now.
Previous meeting – Essex Blades 60 v 33 Anglia Ruskin University