We’ve hit the final four stage across the Division Two playoffs as teams from the NFC2 and SFC2 battle it out for places in the respective finals and promotion to Division One for 2018. Win, and they’re promoted, it’s that simple…
Wembley Stallions vs Portsmouth Dreadnoughts
Since entering the BAFA National Leagues in 2015, the Stallions have qualified for the post-season every year. However, unlike their rookie and sophomore seasons of competitive football, Wembley have FINALLY made it past the quarter final stage. Following an impressive 10-0 regular season, the Stallions made easy work of the flailing Hertfordshire Cheetahs 27-0 to set up the semi-final clash with the #4 ranked Portsmouth Dreadnoughts.
Portsmouth are a model of progression in Division Two. Just 3 years ago, they suffered the ignominy of an 0-10 season. A year later, they finished 2-8. In 2016, they’d doubled their win tally, finishing 4-6. One year later, and they’ve registered their first winning season, finishing 8-2 and in second place in the SFC2 South behind the Renegades. They’ve proven themselves to be a resilient outfit in 2017, causing an upset or two along the way, and beat out Cornish Sharks 19-3 in their first post-season game.
It’s 10-2 in favour of the unbeaten Wembley! Conference correspondent JJ is obliged (we think…) to back the Dreadnoughts, whilst fellow Division Two writer Stuart also backing the visitors to cause the upset.
Bristol Apache vs Berkshire Renegades
The #2 ranked Bristol Apache – also unbeaten so far this season – saw off Swindon Storm for the third time this season when the two sides faced off in the quarter final at the weekend. The 32-8 win was a similar affair to the second meeting between the two sides, with Bristol dominating once again. Ominously for their opponents, the Apache have given up more than a single score in only three of their eleven games this season.
However, if there’s one opponent in the SFC2 post-season capable of challenging the stout Bristol defense, it’s Berkshire Renegades. The SFC2 South winners averaged 43.2 points per game during the regular season and brushed aside the challenge of the East Kent Mavericks in the quarter final, beating the #6 seed in convincing fashion, 34-7. This could turn in to a shootout, and will be one for the neutrals to follow!
That said, #TeamDC lean heavily in favour of the hosts. JJ sticks with his conference, whilst Grant also plumps for the visitors. Much like the NFC2, our writers firmly believe we’ll be seeing two unbeaten sides contest the final.