Well, what an interesting half a season it’s been.
Coming in to the season here at DC towers we expected a two horse race between Plymouth and Cuda with a potential OBU X factor coming in from out of conference.
How wrong we were! Let’s look at each team so far:
The Glads have been the welcome surprise of the conference, their physical style of play and revamped, Bristolian-tinged coaching staff has put the conference title within their grasp with a perfect record pre-xmas. The big match up on Superbowl Sunday against the Blitz could decide the conference and should be an absolute classic. If they win that I don’t see Coach Wilford‘s boys being stopped.
The Bristol contingent of the conference started the year with a thumping at the hands of Plymouth but have since bounced back to second place in the table. They need some other fixtures to go their way but they are right up there in contention and could be an outside shot. Coach Cooper needs to win out to have a chance of more games this season but also keep the points conceded to a minimum. Their match-up in Week Twelve against the Gladiators could well hold the key to the Conference Crown and possible promotion.
The Bobcats have been on the rise the last few seasons but needed to get a scalp of one of the top three to take another step forward this season. Lo and behold they go and mess up my predictions by knocking off the Blitz and having their biggest win to date! Two losses probably might well mean they’re out of the postseason race unless a lot of cards start falling their way, but we hope this plucky underdog continues to grow under Coach Anderson.
The Blitz came into the year as favourites for the conference after last year’s Conference Crown win, and the addition of Britball Old Boy, Coach Stephen Jones to the staff. Although starting well against Cuda in Week One, the subsequent games have been somewhat scrappy affairs and the loss of QB Fen Trudgian early against OBU has hurt them badly. Hard running from Ed ‘Eagle’ Green has kept the Blitz going so far but they are going to need all phases of the game to take down the Glads. A loss here could see them lose their short at postseason along with the Conference Crown.
We all wanted the Panthers to shake up this conference, with their rep for physical football it looked like they would fit right in… but the hype was short-lived. Three losses is likely to take them out of any postseason and they are probably playing for pride now. I would imagine they win out from here but need to prove they can run with the big boys in the conference next year.
Aber most likely avoid the wooden spoon with their win over Bath Spa before Christmas, but that may be the pinnacle of the season right there. It has been a hard fall from Div One and a patchwork coaching staff has had to do the best they can. Let’s hope they play out the rest of the season and continue the rebuild for next year.
Bath Spa Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were coming into the year with a new coaching staff and a new “little school that could” attitude. However lack of numbers have really hampered this teams ability to thrive. They currently sit bottom of the table and haven’t won a competitive fixture for a few years now. With the loss of their iron man quarterback to a season ending injury, people having to play both ways and game day squads struggling to top 20? It’s more than likely the Bulldogs focus just needs to be on surviving the next four games (their injury-postponed fixture vs Glads has been rescheduled for 12 February) the with some morale and momentum intact, and focus hard on recruitment for next season.
As it is, it’s looking like a three horse race for the Crown. Cuda have great momentum, while the Blitz seem to be limping without their offensive play-maker. Glads are undefeated, but their remaining fixtures against Plymouth and Bristol are the ones that really count…
Week Nine: Gloucestershire Gladiators @ Plymouth Blitz
Week Twelve: Gloucestershire Gladiators @ Bristol Barracuda