Week 19 Preview – Northern Conference

James Darcey

The EABL is down to it’s final few weeks, and there’s still a heated battle for the 3rd and 4th seeds in the Northern Conference. With a 3rd plays 5th contest taking place tomorrow in the West Midlands, where better to start with our weekly preview.

James Watt College (6-6) v Derby Trailblazers Academy (7-4)

In what is sure to be a key contest for deciding this year’s playoff seedings, Derby head to James Watt tomorrow with plenty on the line for both teams.

JWC know that they need to win this game if they’re to keep their playoff hopes alive as a Derby victory and Manchester beating Sheffield tomorrow would eliminate James Watt from playoff contention.

For the Trailblazers, they’re currently tied on 21 points with 4th place Manchester, though their destiny is still in their own hands. As Derby own the head to head tiebreaker with the Magic, simply matching Manchester’s results between now and the end of the season would secure the #3 spot.

Coach Shaw’s team also finish their campaign on the road against winless Newcastle, a nice fixture to bank on down the stretch.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – Derby Trailblazers Academy 87 – 82 James Watt Academy

Newcastle Eagles Academy (0-12) v Charnwood College (10-2)

In a dead rubber, neither side here can change their position between now and the end of the season. Charnwood are locked in as the North’s #2 seed, with Newcastle long since secured as the Conference’s bottom side.

That makes areas of interest a little harder to find in this one, though the Eagles would no doubt love to pick up at least one victory this year. Individual development is of course always a focus as well, with players like Blaize Sagna (22.8ppg, 22.4eff) and Greg Durand (13.2ppg, 72rpg) both looking to further already impressive campaigns.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – Charnwood College 132-46 Newcastle Eagles Academy

Manchester Magic Academy (7-4) v The Sheffield College (3-9)

Manchester continue their march towards 3rd spot tomorrow with a visit from Sheffield, but their remaining fixtures aren’t doing the Magic any favours down the stretch.

After entertaining Sheffield, the North West side still need to take on Conference leaders Myerscough, plus face a trip to 2nd place Charnwood. That could make keeping pace with 3rd place Derby difficult, and could even put the Magic under threat from 5th place James Watt.

That said, the best JWC can finish from here is 8 wins if they close the year by beating Derby and Sheffield. 1 more victory for Manchester (plus the head-to-head tie breaker over JWC) should be enough to get them Magic into the post season without having to worry about those final two fixtures.

Previous meeting in 2019/20 – The Sheffield College 42 – 59 Manchester Magic Academy

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