LEAGUE REVIEW
NORTHERN
CONFERENCE
2021

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The ENG YNPL Northern Conference 2021/22 season got underway in September and with a host of new teams involved, scores to settle from the season before and the competition levels rising, it's sure to be another great season for this national netball league. Below is a review of how the season has panned out so far and what to expect going into 2022.

U12 Northern Conference

Kingsway Power, Oldham NC & Leeds Athletic all find themselves equal on points after winning all their games so far.  Kingsway Power & Oldham NC you could argue haven't really best tested yet but Leeds Athletic came through a tough challenge at the start of the season against Saddleworth NC where they came from behind to record a impressive victory. The question going into the final five games will be whether Leeds Athletic can challenge their rivals Kingsway Power or Oldham NC to win the title.

 

Saddleworth NC look impressive and occupy 4th place currently and they will be frustrated slightly after their defeat on the opening game of the season against Leeds Athletic. Hoping for a slip up will be Wyre NC & Grangetown NC who have recorded some good wins, but failed to beat the top 4 teams so far this season. Wyre NC realistically will have to beat Saddleworth NC to give themselves the best chance of a top four space with a potential showdown with Grangetown NC in the final game of the season which will potentially determine both teams fate in this season's league.

 

Ellesmere Port, Chester NC & Kingsway Power find themselves in the bottom halve of the table but all showed improvement in the previous round to suggest they have the ability to record wins in the final five games of the season. Chester NC in particular in their previous games pushed Leeds Athletic the whole way in a game that could of gone either way. The scoreline suggested this team is under achieving and should not be underestimated going into the final games in 2022.

What to expect in 2022

We expect a fierce battle for the title between Kingsway Power & Oldham NC, but the bigger question will be whether Leeds Athletic can compete with the top 2 currently. Saddleworth NC are not out of the race for the title yet and will have to be on top form in the next round of games to see if they can can overcome either Oldham NC or Kingsway Power. A result in one of those games will potentially end the race for the top 4 for Wyre NC & Grangetown NC, but defeats will open up a great finale to the league. Chester NC should have a successful 2022 and we predict they will climb the table with Kingsway Power NC U11 & Ellesmere NC battling it out to grab wins to avoid relegation.

U13 Northern Conference

This league had improved from last season with new teams joining. Kingsway Power, Oldham NC & Oaksway NC had all come into this league with the intention of proving they will be the No.1 team in the country this season. This obviously has piled on the pressure on teams from last season and Saddleworth NC who won last season's league find themselves in a position after four games which not only puts in serious doubt their title aspirations but also throws into doubt their ability to qualify for the Grand Finals this season.

At the top of the table Kingsway Power & Oldham NC find themselves eyeing each other up in what will be a true test of nerve and skill when these two teams compete against each other on the final game of the season. You can argue Kingsway Power have had a easier four games than Oldham who came through a tough test against Oaksway NC to show their class in the previous round of fixtures. Chester NC sit behind theses two teams and even though they played well in their first three games they didn't really test Kingsway Power in their 4th game of the season which will give teams confidence who are behind them in the league that they can catch up. Oaksway NC occupy 4th place in the table and worked hard in the previous round to overcome a resilient Saddleworth NC team and also put in a respectable performance against Oldham NC, but failed to avoid defeat.

Wyre NC have a huge round of games coming up which will potentially decide their fate within the league. They play Oaksway & Chester NC B and two wins in these games will change the whole dynamics of the league going into the final three games of the season. Macclesfield who came 3rd overall last season at a national level are playing catch up and find themselves in a similar position to Saddleworth where there is a real danger they won't even qualify for the Grand Finals. 

Ellesmere Port, Grangetown NC & Chester NC B sit in the bottom three. Grangetown NC have shown massive improvement from last season and will be confident they can get the wins to avoid relegation. Ellesmere Port haven't reached the levels they were playing at last season but still have one win under belt and if they start to improve their performances they can potentially out muscle the bottom two and stay in the league next season.

What to expect 2022

We expect another Oldham NC Vs Kingsway Power battle to decide this league. They both still have to come through some tough ties but should both have maximum wins going into their final game of the season. Oaksway NC look to be the next best and should finish in 3rd, but have shown a vulnerability to their performances that could make that prediction fall flat on it's face come the end of the season. Chester NC, Wyre NC, Saddleworth & Macclesfield NC will battle out for the 4th place position to see who goes to the Grand Finals in April 2022, it will be close and you wouldn't want to bet on who grabs that final Grand Finals position. The battle to avoid relegation will be between Grangetown NC & Ellesmere Port who play each other on March 12th.

U14 Northern Conference

The top 4 in this league look likely already to secure these positions to qualify for the Grand Finals in 2022. The intriguing part will be who wins the league due to the teams all being relatively of the same standard. Kingsway Power, Chester NC & Ellesmere Port all have maximum wins with Kingsway Power & Chester NC performances being the more impressive out of the three. Ellesmere Port survived a scare against Wyre NC in their previous fixture to just about scrape the win, a game they won convincingly last season.

 

Grangetown NC look the most improved from last season and could be the surprise package in this season's league. They were missing key players against Kingsway Power in their opening game of the season which they lost but have bounced back tremendously to go into the second in the table. Wyre NC look the most likely to qualify for the Grand Finals outside the top four but have alot of work to do and need to rely on alot of luck also. They were incredible against last season's champions Ellesmere Port in their previous game and need to emulate that performance to give themselves the best chances of making the Grand Finals again this season.

 

South Ribble, Chevrons NC, Kingston NC and DNA NC find themselves in the bottom four. All are of a similar standard and it will be interesting to see which team can avoid the drop. 

What to expect in 2022

We're expecting a four horse race between the top 4 sides and with crucial games coming up the picture will be alot more clearer. Grangetown with one defeat already entertain Ellesmere Port in their next game and this will be a pivotal moment for the North East side. If they find the win they will have a real genuine chance at winning the league, especially with Ellesmere Port playing Kingsway Power at the end of the season. Wyre NC will need at least four wins from the next five games to give themselves the best chance of creeping into the top 4 and DNA NC & Kingston NC will need to find some wins to avoid relegation.

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