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Week 15 Preview – WEABL

Luke Simcock

Following Nottingham’s 92-49 victory over Sheffield on Monday night, there are four more WEABL games this week as we near the end of the regular season.

Nottingham Academy Wildcats (6-2) v Derby Trailblazers Academy (2-6)

Following their big win over Sheffield, Nottingham can all but secure the #2 seed in the Northern Conference with a win tomorrow against Derby.

After an 0-2 start to the year that included loses to Manchester and Charnwood, the Wildcats have now reeled off six straight wins in a streak that also saw the side hand Charnwood their first loss of the season.

Derby may have struggled for wins in their debut WEABL season, but narrow losses to Charnwood and Manchester, plus an eight point loss when these two sides met back in November, suggests the Trailblazers have more than enough quality to compete at this level going forward.

Still in possession of the 4th and final playoff spot, the Trailblazers could still make the post season if they can finish the season with a pair of wins and some slip ups from Manchester.

Manchester Mystics Academy (2-4) v The Sheffield College (5-3)

Having played the fewest number of games in the Northern Conference, Manchester are sure to be busy between now and the end of the regular season.

Tomorrow’s tie with Sheffield is followed by match ups with Charnwood and Myerscough twice and a strong finish could push the North West side into the five or six win range, well in the mix for the 3rd playoff spot.

Sheffield are the side currently in 3rd however, and they’re not going to give up their place without a fight. The South Yorkshire side came out on top 64-62 when these teams met last month, so expect another close encounter tomorrow.

City of London Academy (5-3) v John Madejski Academy (6-0)

Unbeaten leaders JMA head to CoLA tomorrow knowing their destiny is in their own hands if they’re to claim the Southern Conference title.

Still unbeaten on the year and with two games in hand over 2nd place Copleston, the Rockets are already well placed to take the regular season crown but will need to finish strong to avoid being reeled in, especially as JMA and Copleston still need to play for a 2nd time.

CoLA have their own playoff spot to focus on, with 4th place Barking just one win behind with a game in hand. The two London sides need to face off again before the end of the regular season, and CoLA would love to keep their momentum going until they do. Coach Gibbons’ side are 4-1 in their last five games.

Itchen College (1-6) v Copleston High School (6-2)

Copleston still retain an outside chance of winning the Southern Conference, but firstly they can lock up the #2 seed with a win against Itchen tomorrow.

Beating Itchen then defeating the Rockets by 35 or more to finish the season seems a tall order, but anything can happen and Coach Drane will no doubt have his side focusing on knocking off Itchen first and foremost.

The South coast side claimed their first victory of the season a week ago against Oaklands, but it’s unlikely that result will have provided enough of a lift for Itchen to truly challenge their opponents tomorrow. They have shown improvements in the last few weeks though and will no doubt be looking to continue that trend here.