Majors Representatives Chris Carr and Dana Granville get their teeth into the big issues in Majors 1, 2 and 3 ahead of the 2016 season kicking off. There’s lots of change and plenty of reasons to keep your eye on the standings as the season progresses.
Division 3 is an interesting story. The GLSML has seen an emerging increase in quality across the board, perhaps most visible here. The recently promoted Base Jumpers and Base Invaders are both extremely strong teams, and are more likely promotion contenders than relegation scrappers. The Base Invaders will have a new home pitch to go with their new division, having just made the move south of the river to Wandsworth Common John Archer Way, to join the Tornadoes, Pirates and The Mob.
Speaking of The Mob, they narrowly avoided relegation in 2015, and, having finally rid themselves of the pesky Fuzzy Ducks, are hoping to finish in the top half of the table. Having lost a couple players to Canada and Australia, they are hoping that last year’s fluky streak of injuries has run its course and that all of their players will be healthy for 2016.
Meanwhile, Beyond Bermuda Guns (BBG), down from Div. 2 in for the first time since 2007, will be looking to stay in the Majors half of the league, as will the Chargers, who were technically relegated in 2015 but stayed up due to drop outs in higher divisions.
Raiders Blue, who finished narrowly out of a promotion spot in 2015 will be fighting for a promotion spot, as will the Richmond Swingers, who finished one place behind them in 2015. Oblivion, consistent mainstays in the division who finished middle of the table last year, rounds out the teams.
Prediction – Now that the Fuzzy Ducks have passed through, one would expect BBG to have the best shot of returning to Majors 2 given their pedigree. Saying that, it’s another impressive group of promotes coming up to throw spanners into the works. The best bet may be on the team with the deepest roster, London Raiders Blue.
Beyond Bermuda Guns 2/1
London Raiders Blue 5/2
Base Invaders 4/1
Base Jumpers 6/1
Richmond Swingers 10/1
The Mob 12/1
Majors 2 includes one of the most intriguing stories in GLSML history and one of the greatest rises in all of sporting history, the Fuzzy Ducks. Having started as the development team in 2012 they have won successive promotions from Minors 3 to Majors 2 in each of the last 4 seasons with a record of 52 and 4, they also finished 3rd in the Nationals last year. The question is, can anyone stop them taking Majors 2 this year and rising to the top division. One would say probably not, but there are some changes in the flock this year with some ducks flying permanently south in the winter.
Elsewhere in the league Comets Black have merged with Comer’s Homers to form Comets Orange, both are former Majors 1 teams and the combination could be a tough team to beat. Raiders Gold fresh from demotion have some injuries and new personnel so might take some time to gel, while the Oddsox should be looking to improve on their last 3 mid table finishes.
Ninos are back in div 2 having narrowly missing out on promotion for the last couple of years. Thundercats escaped relegation last year by favour of the merger of Comets and Comers. Meteors 1 will be looking to improve on mid table mediocrity and finally Dazzlers who narrowly missed out on promotion last year will be looking to bounce back.
Prediction – The race for second place is on as everyone knows the Flying V is unstoppable.
Fuzzy Ducks 6/4
Comets Orange 3/1
Raiders Gold 5/1
Finsbury Dazzlers 8/1
Meteors 1 12/1
Mezcalitos Ninos 16/1
One of the biggest stories in Div 1 is the promoted debutants on the scene, breaking away from the trend of teams “yo-yo’ing” between divisions. Meteors 2 leap-frogged their clubmates Meteors 1 last season to ascend to the top flight for the first time, and the Private I’s were promoted for the 3rd consecutive year to join their clubmates Mi6, opening a new chapter in the history of the Secret Agents’ derby. Both teams retain their strong rosters and will look to ask some questions of Div 1’s old guard.
Having won their first league championship since 2009, LNZ look ahead to defend the title so often associated with them over the course of the last decade. With a reinvigorated spirit and no signs of roster deterioration, this tight unit (who play together on weekends in the NSL as well) is in great stead to retain. However, they will not have to look hard for challengers…
Mi6 have been contenders in the last several years, but haven’t won the division in a few years, being pipped by LNZ last year (in a race that went down to the last game). Bolstered by some new blood and some returns from injuries, could this be their year to shed the bridesmaids/kingmakers label and claim their first championship?
Other contenders for the top spot are the Coyotes, whose third place finish last year was their best record since 2009, and perennial contenders (and 2014-champions) Mescalitos. While they face a season missing some key players, the Mescies still boast the best defence in the league and certainly know how to win. Their core remains strong, and titles are won with consistency week in, week out, so roster depth is the best way to make it happen.
Having said that, it would be criminal to overlook the Muppets, despite a difficult 2015 campaign where relegation was a real danger. On paper they are one of the best units player-for-player in the league. A strong start could provide all the momentum they need to claim their first title.
As one of the longest standing teams in the league, SPAM also seem to have a lot of the longest standing players. SPAM narrowly avoided relegation in 2015, and will be hoping to retain their Division 1 status in 2016.
Prediction – After LNZ’s re-emergence last year, surprising results in the middle of the pack, coupled with a strong class of incoming promoted sides, this will be a hard division to call in the Pick 6. But if in doubt, go for Mi6 to pip LNZ.
Secret Agents – Mi6 6/4
Mighty Muppets 16/1
Meteors 2 33/1
Secret Agents – Private I’s 33/1