This Sunday (30th April 2017) will see the first Southern Qualifier of the new season. As many know, a change was made last season to make the Qualifiers a Round Robin series, thus taking away the eventuality of playing the same teams over the qualifiers – a problem that was had in the old format.
This years Qualifier has 23 entrants, with the Junior squad making it a fair number (no byes!!), unfortunately the Junior results will not count towards the final results.
There have been a few changes this year, with teams swapping a player here and there, while our top team from last years – Els Guerrers have improved even more with the addition of Steve Daykin.
Steve’s addition to Els Guerrers has seen Simon Greeves come back into the fold, playing alongside his dad and Dave Stubbs.
The addition of the Jamieson’s to the squad can only be seen as a positive. The trio – Lee, Angie & Ashley – have been at the top of the game for 20+ years and their experience and ability will help the Region to even more wins (if they qualify!) at the Inter Regionals. They are not playing as a 3 though, they have introduced Ben Treend to their team, another player of top level experience.
One team that have made a significant strength in class is last years The Underdogs. The team had to bring in Ian Burchell at the Inter Regionals last year as they were lacking that shooting power and experience but this year they have managed to pluck Frank Charlesworth away from the grasps of Oxshott. This quadruple could really cause some damage in the qualifiers and the Inter Regionals.
It is also great to Lee Redfern playing in a quality side. The Rugby loving pointer has teamed up with father and son, Glenn & Stuart Floyd.
So, where do we see the top 8 positions going this year? Well, it is hard to see beyond Els Guerrers making successive no.1 spots, although Southern Comfort & Purple Rain could have a say on that.
The mid order looks like being very open. There could be 5 or 6 teams battling for places 4th to 6th, while positions 7th & 8th, again is open to many teams.
After missing out last year, Just Kidds will be eager to make it, along with Cobb On, both teams have the capabilities of getting in the top 8 and will use last years performances as fuel to ignite their challenge.
Now that I’ve had a look at the runners, what do you think? Can Els Guerrers make it no.1 again? Will the Jamieson’s upset the apple cart? Can Graham Galton replace Harrison Ash and steer The Bumpkins to a top 3 finish? And will David Kilshaw keep up his impressive form and guide his team to the top 8?
Good Luck to everyone involved!