It’s all about the third tier this weekend, as the Premier and Division One finalists have a week off to prepare for the big one. After 18 gruelling weeks of the regular season, the Division Two playoffs are finally here! There’s no overall Division Two title game, keeping it strictly North and South champions.
Without further ado…
Shropshire Revolution vs Morecambe Bay Storm
The #1 ranked Revolution host the #8 ranked Storm, hoping to continue their fine season that saw them finish with a 10-0 record. Owners of the third ranked offense and defense across the entire third tier, the Revolution have been a revelation in 2017, posting four 50-burgers en route to demolishing their opponents in the NFC2 South, including an 82-0 hammering of Humber Warhawks in their final game of the season.
Morecambe Bay, meanwhile, have had a tremendous rookie campaign in the BAFA National Leagues. Most newbie teams would be happy with a win here or there, settling themselves in to competitive football. The Storm managed to put together a winning season (5-4-1), and gave a good account of themselves in a 26-44 loss to Leeds midway through the campaign.
We have ourselves a sweep! #TeamDC vote unanimously in favour of the undefeated Revolution over the visiting Morecambe Bay. One of only two sweeps in the entire Division Two quarter finals, the Revolution will likely be favoured to make it to the Northern final.
Leeds Bobcats vs Staffordshire Surge
The only other side in the NFC2 to post a perfect regular season, Leeds Bobcats, took it to a final day shootout to clinch the conference crown over the rival Senators. The #1 ranked offense across the entire Division Two, posting a phenomenal 50 points per game, the Bobcats comfortably disposed of their conference opponents barring a close 18-6 win over Carlisle earlier in the season and the 100-point shootout over Gateshead in the season finale.
Staffordshire also took it down to the regular season finale, but for them, qualifying for the post-season at all was on the line. Ranked fourth in the NFC2 South, the Surge had to beat Humber and hope the Lincolnshire Bombers fell to Chester, sneaking in to the post-season by virtue of a 1-point head to head advantage over the Bombers. At 6-4, and averaging just 21.6 points per game, can they keep up with the free-scoring Bobcats?
Oooh so close. After pulling off an undefeated season with the shootout win over Gateshead, #TeamDC vote heavily in favour of the Bobcats. We’re going to assume that Oheeul just wants an upset with his selection of Staffordshire, but after being predicted to lose against the Senators, Leeds will likely use Oheeul as bulletin board material once again. Will votes against his own conference in choosing the Bobcats.
Glasgow Tigers vs Aberdeen Roughnecks
Meeting number 6,532 between the Tigers and Roughnecks in 2017. The NFC2 North champions against the NFC2 runners-up. Despite falling to Aberdeen 6-2 in the season opener, the Tigers went on an eight game win streak to clinch the conference with a few games to spare, whilst Aberdeen caused premature balding in conference correspondent, Matthew Davies, with their topsy turvy season.
Owners of the worst offensive output of all conference champions, the Tigers simply ‘got the job done’ throughout the 9-game regular season, as they only surpassed 30 points in the regular season finale against rookie outfit Dumfries. Aberdeen, on the other hand, averaged just 15 points per game – the worst of any team entering the post-season across all three tiers.
One thing’s for certain, this won’t be one for fans of offensive football…
Another near-sweep in the third quarter final! Glasgow take the votes 11-1, but a word of warning…Matthew wasn’t exactly renowned for his prediction success rate in the regular season. With the Pirates U19 Head Coach voting in favour of Glasgow, it’s safe to assume that Aberdeen will take the win.
Gateshead Senators vs Chester Romans
Despite an attempted comeback after falling behind early on, the Senators were unable to turnover the Bobcats on the final day of the regular season, and felling to 9-1. Much like Leeds, the Senators took apart all other opponents in the conference, so much so that the two sides were almost inseparable in most statistical breakdowns (we know, we did the maths…). Behind a run game that ate the clock and put up the points, the Senators are a shining example of what you can do behind a solid offensive line and powerful run game.
Following an 8-2 regular season in 2016, the Romans took a small step backwards this season, finishing with a 7-3 record in second place behind the undefeated Revolution. Offensive output also dropped from 48.3ppg in 2016 to 35.1 this season, but the Romans were solid enough to finish as the #5 seed in the NFC2. Conceding on average just 12.2ppg, the Romans have enough about them to test the Senators…
The closest of the NFC2 quarter finals, as the Senators edge out the Romans 7 votes to 5. Will the Senators’ ground game continue to drive the team forward? Or will Chester somehow find a way to stop them? Interestingly, Will votes against his own conference again…