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The Thames Valley Division is arguably one of the most competitive of the 2021 Divisions on Paper. The Division has four Division 1 teams, Hertfordshire Cheetahs, London Hornets, Oxford Saints and the Wembley Stallions and a solitary Division 2 team, The London Blitz B.

HERTFORDSHIRE CHEETAHS

Division 1

2019 record – 7-3

Last Game – 24-19 Loss v Solent Thrashers

The Cheetahs gained Promotion to Division 1 in 2018 and set about making an Immediate impact. Not only did they manage a winning record, but they went 7-3 and only missed out on the playoffs on Head-to-Head points differential with the Sussex Thunder. They are a strong team and will meet some familiar and some new opponents in 2021.

Ceiling: 8-0

Floor: 6-2

I am a fan of what the Cheetahs have been doing the last few years and was looking forward to watching their progress so its hard to say whether the year out will have an impact or not. There are a group of good teams in this division, and I think the biggest challenge will come from the London Hornets. I could see the Cheetahs going undefeated though.

LONDON BLITZ B

Division 2

2019 Record – 8-0

Last Game – 16-6 Loss v South Wales Warriors

The London Blitz B steamrolled through all their divisional opponents outside of the Bournemouth Bobcats on their way to the Playoffs. They were stopped one game short by eventual winners the South Wales Warriors in what turned into a very public contentious affair. The insult to the injury as it was that due to 3 teams being relegated there was an extra spot for promotion and depending on where you stand you may feel that spot should have went to the Blitz B, alas they remained in Division 2. They now get an opportunity to go up against some tough Division 1 opponents.

Ceiling: 2-6

Floor: 0-8

I actually think the Blitz B are incredibly hard to predict this year. Did some of their players earn their spot in the A team? Will they need to reload and go again? Or will they see this as the perfect opportunity to prove they should have been promoted? All of these questions remain unanswered. I think they will have their eyes on the Oxford Saints games and if they claim the first matchup, they may look to sneak one off the Stallions, but it would be a tough ask.

LONDON HORNETS

Division 1

2019 record – 8-2

Last Game – 31-0 Loss v Solent Thrashers

The Hornets went 8-2 in 2019 in what was a tough division, their record also included a win over the Cambridgeshire Cats. They built their impressive season on the back of a staunch defence however against some of the Tougher opponents, their Offence just couldn’t always put up the points. Even their win against the Cats was a 9-6 Victory. A win is a win but they will need to get the Offence Firing in what is one of the toughest divisions.

Ceiling: 8-0

Floor: 6-2

Much Like the Cheetahs I feel like the two matchups between the teams dictates how this season goes, and lucky us those games come back-to-back in weeks 4 and 5. They will have to keep an eye on the Stallions however as they beat them in close games on both occasions in 2019.

OXFORD SAINTS

Division 1

2019 record – 2-8

Last Game – 22-13 Win v Portsmouth Dreadnaughts

2019 was a tough year for the Saints. In their division they had Solent, Sussex and the Cheetahs in their Division. However, on top of that they also lost a game to the Renegades and the Dreadnaughts. Perhaps the year out has given them a chance to strengthen but I feel like 2021 could be another tough year.

Ceiling: 2-6

Floor: 0-8

The Saints will have to see the Blitz B as their best shot at a win, and as luck would have it, they meet each other week one. Unfortunately, the next two weeks have the teams I believe will be the Division front runners in the Cheetahs then the Hornets. You never know if they get off to a winning start confidence could grow and anything could happen.

WEMBLEY STALLIONS

Division 1

2019 record – 5-5

Last Game – 16-14 Win v Burry Saints

The Stallions are a perfect example of a record not always painting a true picture. They may have been 5-5 but they were extremely tough to beat. Only one of their losses was by more than a single score. Their defeats were by a combined 39 points so around 7.8 points was the average margin. That’s a really tough pill to swallow but also shows they cannot be written off in any game.

Ceiling: 5-3

Floor: 4-4

I think they could well be looking at the prospect of another 0.500 season. I feel like they will have too much for the Blitz B and the Saints but perhaps not quite enough for the Hornets or Cheetahs. I want to give benefit of the doubt and say they could split the series with both but I’m just not sure they will. I recon if anything, they could split with the Hornets.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul Breen on 25th June 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Another very intriguing piece by Chris.
    I will definitely be keeping an eye on how this division unfolds.

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