With the Conferences wrapped up and the Christmas break completed, teams are back at it, burning off those Quality Street and finding their form again.
Games from the Conferences remain, if those teams now join the same division. Games against teams where one has been relegated are now voided. [eg. Although Weymouth Bandits beat Classics, as Classics went down, those points and +/- are removed from the overall division standings].
Starting at the top, Salisbury Suns and Bournemouth Bears remain undefeated with 12pts. Salisbury have the greater +/- so effectively top the table, and they face off early on Jan23rd for overall rights. The Oaks in 3rd have just one loss, to the Razors, who sit just behind them in 4th. Equal on points are the new B4L Titans, in 5th, with 2wins-2losses. Evolution, Storm and Tigers all sit on 6pts, with the Bandits propping up the table.
Bears and Suns will slug it out for the top spot, with their head-to-head being crucial. However, Oaks will be ready to pounce if one slips up, and could bring themselves into contention with a win at either team. Razors are there or there about, but in head-to-head with Bears won't be able to compete as they share a squad. Can the Titans mount a challenge from further back? They will need Bears to slip up at least twice, whilst remaining unbeaten this side of the break, to be mathematically possible.
Bears over Suns - because the title should remain in Dorset, not Wiltshire!
In Div2 the 5 teams are joined by Classics, Spartans and Bandits2. Blazers have gone from strength to strength and building momentum. They now sit 2nd behind the Storm boys. Seahawks sit above Legends, but the older gents have a game in hand. Then the Suns, who have 2 games in hand.
Classics looked good, and came up literally 2 baskets short of remaining in Div1 as they split results with the Bandits. Spartans played some good basketball, and had close games with Tigers and Evo, but injuries and a forfeit saw them head down. Bandits2, made up of younger and newer Weymouth players, struggled in a strong conference with Oaks, Storm and Razors.
The 3 new teams will upset the apple cart for sure. My prediction is Classics will play their well rehearsed basketball and get it done, but the young legs in the Storm U18's will give them a proper run! Classics 1st, Storm 2nd.
Spartans vs Blazers will be a battle of the bigs, as Ollie and Sam face off, but I reckon the Spartans guards will have the edge over the Blazers. Spartans 3rd, Blazers 4th.