The ENG YNPL Southern 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 Southern Conference
Starz NC lead the way in this league and are looking likely to go all the way and win the title. Keeping up with them is AP Saints NC who came unstuck against Poole NC in the previous game to end their winning streak and leave them one point behind Starz NC. Turnford NC in third have been near perfect and pushed Starz NC all the way before conceding the lead in the final quarter to record their only loss of the season so far.
Sutton Town NC occupy the final qualification spot for the Grand Finals with five wins out of six. They do have some tough games coming up and teams such as Poole, Herts Hornets, Herts Dynamos & Eagles NC will be hoping for them to slip up so they can pile the pressure on going into the final games of the season.
Clan NC, Magic NC & TTNC are battling to stay in the league and with Clan NC improving and Magic NC having enough quality to take on some of the best teams in the league it will sure be a tense battle to see who will be returning in the 2022/23 season.
What to expect 2022
Starz NC look likely to win the league and it will take a massive improvement in the teams around them to potentially stop their march winning their first ENG YNPL Southern Conference title. AP Saints NC will most probably be in contention to win the league up until the final round of games but have Starz NC & Turnford NC to contend with, which will decide if they either win the league or come 3rd or 4th. Sutton Town NC should claim the last qualification spot for the Grand Finals in April, but must remain focussed due to showing a vulnerability in games to not let the chasing pack of Poole NC, Eagles NC, Herts Hornets & Herts Dynamos to jump into their position come the end of the season. Magic NC should have enough quality in their side to avoid relegation also.
U13 Southern Conference
The rivalry and history from last season has carried itself forward this season and mixed with new teams it looks like this will be one of the stand out leagues this season. Eagles NC lead the way after four games and have shown huge improvement since winning the Grand Finals earlier in the year. Keeping up with them in second place is Ryland NC who like Eagles have shown a massive improvement in their performance levels and this was validated by their emphatic win over last season's league champions AP Saints NC.
AP Saints NC & Crosskeys NC sit in the final positions to qualify for the Grand Finals and both teams have shown what their capable of but also a fragile nature that could allow teams below them to jump into their current positions. AP Saints NC loss against Ryland NC was a huge backwards step and they must bounce back in the next round of fixtures against top 4 rivals 5 Ways NC & Magic NC.
Magic NC have shown the biggest improvement from last season not just technically but mentally. They have won against teams they lost to convincingly last season and their next set of games against AP Saints NC & Crosskeys NC will be pivotal in how their season pans out. The same can be said for their local rivals 5 Ways NC who take on Ryland NC & AP Saints NC in what is going to be a must win situation for them if they're serious about qualifying for the nationals.
Turnford NC & TTNC find themselves in positions they probably didn't expect at this stage of the season and must win at least four of final five games to give themselves the best chance of pushing for the top 4.
What to expect 2022
Eagles NC will be tough to defeat and we think they will go onto to win the title. It is literally a free for all for the next positions with there being so much quality in the league and the next round of fixtures will show who is a genuine contender for the top four places. Abbey Flyers Nomads will find it tough moving forward but will give their all due to being in such a tough competitive league.
U14 Southern Conference
Another superb league that has an abundance of quality which will see it go to the wire come the last round of fixtures. Last season's champions Poole NC lead the way but dropped their first ever points in the league after a draw with the massively improved Eagles NC who themselves will be hoping to now push for the championship win.
AP Saints NC sit in third and will need to be in fine form to hold that position come the end of the season. Behind them are last season's Grand Finals champions Turnford who have played two games less but will be without influential centre Olivia Pitt for large parts of the season which could disrupt their performance levels.
Matrix NC & CD Phoenix have had a indifferent start to the season but will be the main contenders to qualify for the nationals in May. Magic NC, TTNC & Sutton Town have played less games and will need to avoid as many slips ups as possible to push for the top positions. Herts Dynamos & Aces NC have games to catch up on and will be hoping to unsettle the teams above them to avoid relegation.
What to expect in 2022
The expectation is that Poole NC & Turnford NC will be challenging for the title come the end of the season but with Eagles NC showing a huge improvement we could potentially see an unexpected league title for the Berkshire based club. The 4th place position in the league will go to the wire and you generally wouldn't want to pick out of Matrix NC, CD Phoenix NC, TTNC & Sutton Town NC on who will claim that spot. We predict a battle between Magic NC, Herts Dynamos & Aces NC to see who gets relegated out of this league but with both the latter teams only playing two times so far we don't know too much about the teams and they could surprise us in the second half of the season.