Potentially the most competitive of all the conferences in the National Leagues, the SFC1 Central promises to be a back and forth affair all season long; South Wales Warriors, who opted for demotion to Division One, managed a couple of shocks in the Premier South in 2016. Oxford Saints dominated their way to a Division Two title last season, whilst Sussex Thunder are always good for a high-scoring game or two.
Such is the competitiveness of the SFC1 Central, all 5 teams get a mention for conference champions. Sussex Thunder edge the voting with 5, with South Wales Warriors and Oxford Saints both pick up 3 votes.
The SFC1 East is full of teams that won’t be overly familiar with each other. Only Kent Exiles and Colchester Gladiators played each other in the SFC1 in ’16, with starkly contrasting fortunes. The historically successful London Olympians will be hoping to get back to where they feel they belong, but there’ll be not one but two newly promoted sides hoping to prove they belong in the second tier.
Another competitive division, with 4 of the 5 teams getting a deserved mention. The Exiles top the table with 7, as it seemed last year they were a bit hard done by finishing second to the Bury Saints. Perhaps surprisingly, the 10-0 (in Division Two) London Hornets picked up just one vote, while the Cambridgeshire Cats’ post-season form has clearly rubbed off on 4 of us.