It’s still all to play for in the bottom tier, as teams battle it out for a sacred post-season spot and the chance to continue the run in to Division One. It’s prediction time!
Clyde Valley Blackhawks vs Glasgow Tigers
The Blackhawks and Tigers meet for the seventy fifty time this year and no doubt will be sick of the sight of each other, but they’ll both need to get to work if they have playoff aspirations. Glasgow are firmly in the driving seat at 4-1 and CVB who started strong, are lagging back at 2-3 and have lost twice to Glasgow so far and with only another two hundred and eleven meetings between the teams scheduled for the rest of the year, every one counts!
In this one I think it’ll be more of the same; Glasgow had to exhume some old boys to make up the numbers last time our, including lineman Craig Begg who has had more retirements than Status Quo managed, but I think they’ll have enough in the tank to do it again and the Blackhawks are likely to be seeing the sort of mid-season slump in attendance and effort that accompanies the kind of season they’re having.
Of course, knowing my luck, the Blackhawks will spray the ball about everywhere like the Jim Kelly K-Gun Bills and roast Glasgow by 85 unanswered points, but I’m going for Glasgow in another relatively close and low scoring affair!
Dumfries Hunters vs Aberdeen Roughnecks
The Hunters (1-3) got a win in their last time out against CVB and will be looking for more of the same when they host the Roughnecks (3-2) for the ninety eighth time this summer. Rumour has it that Aberdeen HC Scott Campbell has spent so much time in Dumfries in 2017 that he’s been made an honorary citizen.
Aberdeen will be hoping for a Glasgow slip-up and a win of their own to get back to level pegging, and have beaten Dumfries by two and three scores in the matches so far, so should be confident coming in, and they get my vote ahead of this one, on that basis, so I expect to check DC on Sunday and find that the Hunters have 650 yards on the ground in the first half and are a million points ahead! Aberdeen by a couple of scores!
Gateshead Senators vs Walney Terriers
Rinse and repeat in regard to the Gateshead Senators, there isn’t really much I can add to what’s already been said about them. Relegation has seen the club absolutely dominate at Division Two level averaging 55.1 points per game on offence and allowing just 6 points per game the other way. Like I say every single week it seems, they have the #1 Offense in Britball. Last time out they mustered a mere 72 points against the Knottingley Raiders, Gavin Barr yet again starring with four rushing touchdowns. The simple fact is Gateshead are too good for Division 2 football, and I’m sure they are relishing more of a challenge. Leeds Bobcats await at the end of the season in a winner takes the division matchup.
Walney, meanwhile, are fresh off a 79-0 clobbering of Northumberland three weeks ago, where their rushing attack dominated, and their passing game wasn’t too shabby either. The only real blemish on the day for the Terriers was two turnovers, one to the NFC 2 Central Correspondent, but I guess they had the last laugh. Three wins already on the season with Carlisle and Northumberland to come on the schedule, Walney just might manage their first ever .500 season. But back to this weekend’s fixture, I think it’ll be a case of how much they can contain the Senators powerful offence, as they try to keep the result within four or five scores.
The result five weeks go saw the Terriers run Gateshead close in a 27-12 defeat, but since that game the Senators have averaged 70 points an outing. Maybe no burger this week, but Gateshead will dine at the winners table this Sunday.
Morecambe Bay Storm vs Northumberland Lightning
Another game that should be routine, the 4-2 Morecambe Bay Storm have only lost to the two division powerhouses this year, beating Northumberland, Walney, Knottingley and Carlisle. They should safely pick up a winning season in 2017, going 6-4 in their rookie year would be some achievement. Last time out they beat Knottingley 46-22 in the end, with the offence amassing 468 total yards, 245 in the air and 243 on the ground according to their website, not sure the maths (or math if we are being American) adds up there. QB Chris Mayne found the endzone three times through the air to Dion Feather (5 catches for 155 yards, TD) and Slotback Mark Baldwin (10 catches for 70 yards, 2 TD’s), Baldwin adding another TD on a jet sweep. Defensively, they managed five interceptions.
Northumberland are admittedly struggling at 0-5, and for them it’ll be a case of keeping the score down. Last time out they suffered a demoralising defeat 79-0 to a team that joined the league at the same time as them. The sides took on each other in an associate scrimmage three years ago and have both struggled in league play, up until this season. It’s simply a case of getting through the season now for Northumberland and regrouping in the offseason. They do have two fixtures to come against Carlisle, both teams winless so those will be the games they will pinpoint for a victory this term, as will Carlisle.
Morecambe Bay entered the league with a thumping 46-6 win over Northumberland, unfortunately for the Lightning, I expect this scoreline to be bigger.
Ed: Will’s MIA this week, but he put forward his winners the week before like the perfect teacher’s pet he has become…
Staffordshire Surge vs Shropshire Revolution
Will’s backing the Revolution to come away with the win on the road against the Surge to maintain their perfect streak. This was, however, a prediction made before Staffordshire put one over on Chester to climb in to second place in the NFC2 South. Do the Surge have enough in the tank to cause a second upset (in Will’s eyes, at least) in succession?
Lincolnshire Bombers vs Halton Spartons
Plumping for the home side, Will sees the Bombers putting one over on Halton. With the Spartons’ only win coming against the struggling Railroaders, it’s perhaps any easy choice for Will to go for the 3-3 Bombers, who are coming in to the game on the back of their own trouncing of Crewe.
Jurassic Coast Raptors vs Cornish Sharks
Having played the Trojans in their last game, the Raptors will be a frustrated. The game was fairly close throughout, with the Raptors stopping the Trojans from scoring within two quarters. The Raptors spiced up the game with a passing TD to claim the lead in the second quarter. The Raptors’ camp know that if they iron out mistakes on D and put more pressure on O, they may be able to slow down other struggling teams. This is their first of two consecutive fixtures against the experienced Sharks and so they know they’ll need to have their wits about them in order to make any kind of impact.
The Sharks are going into their final four games to make a big statement that they’re still the hard-hitting Cornwall team everyone knows and still have a playoff spot up for grabs . After quite a heavy beating against Apache, the Cornwall camp will be hoping that they can use this game to fix what went wrong. The Sharks were unable to keep composure during their Apache game, allowing the Bristol squad to score on punt returns, strip sacks and with safeties. While the Cornish side did manage to get points on the board, this was thanks to their defence. Credit where credit is due, their defence stood strong again, allowing only one offensive touchdown from Bristol, which very few teams can boast. Unfortunately, without the other parts of the squad working as they should, of course they will struggle to find success.
Cornwall lost to a strong Apache squad who rightfully took advantage of mistakes, but I can’t see the same result happening this weekend. I’m expecting Cornish D and O to be back on top form. Cornwall to win.
Portsmouth Dreadnoughts vs Bournemouth Bobcats
In week one the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and Bournemouth Bobcats two teams faced off leading to an opening day win for the Dreadnoughts. Now in week 12 and coming off of a 50 burger win over the Hastings Conquerers in week 11 the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts have a combined 63-51 points scored to allowed in the last two games. Polar opposite results, one big loss followed by a big win.
With a week off the Bournemouth Bobcats are still in the running for a high position in the conference before the end of the season. However, the team has had some sporadic scoring this season, 6, 55, 8, 48, and 8 respectively over their five games played this season. the last time these two teams met the game was won by only 8 points, can the Bobcats pull it out of the bag this weekend and hold off the Dreadnoughts then the teams will only be one game apart in the conference.
With the inconsistencies in their scoring and the Dreadnoughts defence only taking one big hit in the season so far I think this game will go to the Dreadnoughts.
Hastings Conquerors vs Berkshire Renegades
After a nasty 58-6 lost to Portsmouth in week 11 the Hastings Conquerers are currently the only team yet to win a game, although, that isn’t an excuse not to continue trying. This weekend’s game is a rematch of the teams week 6 game that was called at the half. With a bit more experience under their belts, they face off against a strong team but football can be an unpredictable game.
A strong win over the Pumas in week 11 puts the Berkshire Renegades in second place in the conference half-way through their season. Now on a four-game winning streak, the team will hope to make it five this weekend against the Conquerers. If the Renegades win, they stay in second, if they lose and the Dreadnoughts win then they swap places with the Dreadnoughts and sit third in the conference.
Berkshire to win this weekend, with their performance over the last few games and with their points scored on a rising trend this will likely be a win for them.
East Essex Sabres vs East Kent Mavericks.
So here we go…
Firstly an apology to the conference. I seem to have developed some sort of Essex related dyslexia which renders me unable to differentiate between Spartans and Sabres. I have the rest of the season to atone.
Both these teams come into the week in stark contrast. The 2016 playoff Mavs are on pace to return to the post season with the much anticipated rematch with the Stallions yet to come. Coach Lindleys boys do seem to be the only hope for conference drama.
The Sabres are the new boys and offensive woes have been their undoing only finding the endzone twice. The gap between the teams is summed up by the fact that the Sabres have conceded almost the same points the Mavs have scored.
We like a plucky underdog story but the Mavs have topped up the stable and strength in depth helps. Mavs keep rolling and tune up for the Stallions.