Thursday, 22 February 2018

West League Update - West 2 - 18th February 2018

There can't be many competitions across the world of sport as competitive as West 2.  Paisley losing away at Cumnock on Saturday means we now have a top 5 within 6 points of each other, whilst at the foot of the table, we have four teams competing for two relegation spots - that's 9 Clubs from 12 still actively involved in the hunt.

What a difference a couple of weeks makes.  At the start of February, Paisley were 8 points clear of second, but defeats to their two nearest rivals puts them on the same points as Lenzie and only one ahead of Cumnock.  Paisley have a game in hand on Lenzie, but Cumnock have a game in hand on Paisley.

A strong second half performance from Uddingston means they close to within five points of the leaders, whilst a 66-3 win for Strathendrick reduces their gap to 6 points, but they have three games in hand on the leaders.

Paisley have eight games remaining, kicking off with a doubleheader against fourth-placed Uddingston, and their run-in also includes home and away games against Strathendrick (Enrdick away as their last game).

Lenzie in second have the fewest number of games left of the title challengers, but of their seven games, six are against teams not involved in the title battle, with Cumnock away being their big game.

Cumnock have nine games remaining.  In addition to the Lenzie home game, their big games include Strathendrick and Uddingston away, which are two of their last three scheduled games.

Uddingstons eight games include the Paisley doubleheader, as well as Strathendrick and Cumnock at home (their last two games).

With only 11 games played, Strathendrick are technically only halfway through the season - their games include Paisley home & away, Cumnock at home and Uddingston away.  Their final three games are against Birkmyre home & away and Millbrae away, all of which are currently scheduled after the other Clubs games are finished, so if it comes down to points difference, Endrick will know their target.

With several games in hand, Strathendrick are probably slight favourites for the title, but they can't take anything for granted as they have several big games against fellow contenders.  Lenzie arguably have the easier of the run-ins, with only the one game against a title challenger and their final five games are against relegation contenders - if their fellow title chasers take enough points each other, Lenzie could sneak it.

It’s possibly far too early to make a prediction, but we're going to anyway.  With both a stronger points for and points against column, we fancy Endrick.  However, we do recognise this title is very much up for grabs and we could see several changes to the top spot before the end of the campaign.  In addition to the title race, there's also a second promotion slot up for grabs - goodness knows how that's going to end up, so we're not making a call on this one just yet.

If the contest at the top wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, then we'd better introduce you to the relegation battle.

It's been a difficult season for Birkmyre.  Their defeat to Waysiders on Saturday almost certainly means they'll be playing West 3 next season.  The result should also provide WD with a bit more confidence they'll remain in West 2 as they’re now 19 points ahead of Millbrae in 11th place.  However, WD have played more games than the rest, so they can't get too comfortable just yet.

Clydebank are currently 9th, on 24 points having played 14 games.  Loch Lomond are 1 point behind, but have a game in hand.  Millbrae are 10 behind Lomond, but have another game in hand on them.

Clydebanks remaining eights games include four against the title challengers, but they also have home games against WD & Millbrae, whilst their last game is scheduled against Loch Lomond.  Lomonds run-in is similar to Clydebank, where they have five games against title challengers.  They have Millbrae at home still to play and their final two games of the season are Birkmyre away and Clydebank at home.

Millbraes remaining 10 games include four against title challengers, as well as Clydebank and Lomond, before welcoming WD and Birkmyre.

Clydebank and Loch Lomond have the advantage over Millbrae as they already have the points in the bag, but if Millbrae get their players available on the crucial weekends, there's plenty of points available for them to pick up.

As we said, Birkmyre are almost certain to be playing West 3 next season, but the second relegation spot is just as difficult to predict as the Championship. We'll go for Millbrae being the team who make the drop, purely on last weekends result where, when the chips were down, Loch Lomond got the win down at Millbrae.  Keep a close eye on things though, as this could go down to the wire.

March and April will see plenty of highly competitive rugby played in West 2, so if you’re not playing, make sure you get out there and support the rugby that's being played in your local communities.

1 comment:

  1. Great write up. Really enjoying this blog. Keep up the good work!