BAFA National Leagues Predictions – Premier: Week Five

It’s a full house in the Premier North with all six sides in action, including the season openers for Tamworth, Lancashire and Merseyside. Meanwhile in the Premier South, Bury Saints look to bounce back from defeat to London Warriors as they play host to the Blitz.

Premier North - Oheeul Choudhury

Tamworth Phoenix vs Lancashire Wolverines

Finally, the Wolverines and Phoenix come out to play the first games of their respective seasons. If last year is any indication of things to come, losing 53-14 and 48-6, the ‘Nix have little to nothing to worry about. However with nothing to lose the Wolverines should come out to ball and as we all know, upsets happen.

Tamworth, as usual, look to dominate the division. With offensive weapons such as Adam Hope, Elliot Walters and Deji Alli to name a few, the ‘Nix will look to send a message in their opening game. With the gauntlet set by Sandwell, 71 points against Coventry, they could come close to contesting that score. Not to mention the aggressive defense, who in the last meeting between the two sides had 6 turnovers. I expect #ProjectHavoc will run riot and cause all sorts of problems for the Wolverines offense.

Meanwhile, the Wolverines camp has remained silent. Ranked dead last on our Power Rankings to date, early indications are it’s a straight shoot out between Lancashire and Sheffield to avoid the drop to Division One. They have little to lose, so can come out and go for broke. Almost the entire #BritballNation expects them to lose this game, so why not just have fun and play ball?


Tamworth Phoenix 2015 LThis game is easy to predict. ‘Nix will come out and do ‘Nix things, bleed in some rookies and move onto the next game. ‘Nix to win by a country mile.

 

 


Merseyside Nighthawks vs Sheffield Giants

This will be the second most interesting game of the weekend. Both teams have the talent, the Giants offense have something to prove having only put up 6 points in two games, and the Nighthawks have had time to prepare. So far, the Giants have been missing offensive weapons in each of their opening games. If they can get them on the field together, we’re hoping they can live up to some of the pre-season hype.

The Nighthawks look to improve on last seasons impressive top flight debut. The team is extremely physical and can cause problems both on the ground and through the air. Even after losing veteran back Laurent Tshimanga the likes of Daishawn Honohan, Adam Bennet and Ste McCann will be able to carry the load, with WR Stefan Gonzalez providing air support. We are yet to see if the Nighthawks have improved over the off season, but as I mentioned in the preseason, the buzz around the camp is very real. No doubt the Nighthawks will come out the favourites in this game, whether that affects them positively or negatively will come down to the coaching staff.


Merseyside Nighthawks New LThis game is a nightmare to predict. Either team could win. On paper the nighthawks look the better team and I’m all about that paper.

 

 


East Kilbride Pirates vs Edinburgh Wolves

Ah, the game that ruined my prediction record. The crown of Scotland hangs in the balance as the unlikely ending to the last clash of the Scots left the rest of the nation wondering who the big boys beyond the wall really are. The Wolves will be looking to finish what they started, and EKP to put the new kids in their place. This is going to be a must see game.

The Wolves are in the best of places. Jubilant after their first top tier win, and looking as though they have been in the big leagues for a while, the Wolves have already shown they can score, and do so quickly. Edinburgh have shown they can go toe-to-toe with East Kilbride, so it all comes down to whether they can take this confidence and sustain it for 4 quarters.

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The Pirates have gone from a shaky start to show why they are the perennial Scottish power house. After a result which few outside of Edinburgh would have predicted, the Pirates will need to muster all their years of experience to hold off the increasingly confident Wolves. The Pirates’ own confidence will be growing too, however. Despite the disappointment of the tie, East Kilbride will be happy with the comeback when it looked all over against the Wolves, and registered their first win of the season in defeating the Giants 23-6.


Edinburgh Wolves LThis will be another unmissable clash. The winner not only taking the points but also taking the bragging rights for Scotland. Everyone loves an underdog story, as does this writer. Wolves to win.

 

 


Premier South - Rose Wilford

Bury Saints vs London Blitz

The Blitz come into this game off the back of a strong win against the Aztecs. Offensivley Blitz QB Joe Thompson had a strong game with some great passing TDs, with WR Jasper Van-Dooren on the receiving end of at least two scores and defensively, my predicted ‘one to watch’ DB Dotun Ademiju managed one of the teams picks as well as forcing a fumble. Overall the team had a solid performance and will be looking to secure their 2-0 status on Sunday.

Coach Burford shared,

‘We had a good win last week, but made plenty of opening day mistakes that need to be fixed. It was good to see guys step up and make plays, but we can’t dwell on that. We’re going to work this week and get prepared for the next game.’

The Blitz will be able to test themselves against a team that has already played the Warriors and this should give them a better understanding of where they will be in terms of whether they will be able to beat them.

Fair play to the Saints for managing to score 21 points on the Warriors in their first game in the Premiership. Although the outcome of the game wouldn’t have been what the Saints were looking for to be able to put more points on the Warriors than any other team since 2014 is a big achievement. Saints Defensive Coordinator, Neil Van Holland, shared with DC,

‘We always knew that the Warriors first up in the Prem was going to be a big test but conceding 57 points was disappointing especially because we matched them through so much of the game. We made mistakes that we need to correct and the great side that they are the punished us.

The Blitz will be an equally stern test but defensively we have prepared well for them and I am confident we will upset their rhythm and caused problems in true Saints Defense fashion.’

The Saints will be chasing their first Prem win this weekend and the team’s TD scorers QB Fred Boyle (his first time facing off against the side he won a National Title with), RB Cory Jenkins and WR Joe Hill will no doubt be looking to add more touchdowns to their stats board.


London Blitz LThis Saints team seem like a side that won’t give up without a fight so this game should make for a good match up. I’m going to have to side with the London team on this one though. Blitz to win.

 

 


 

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Rob Amor

Rob somehow fits Britball around a hectic life of work, newborns, and rare, blissful, moments of quiet in which to nap. Rob stepped down from the Birmingham Bulls committee at the end of 2016 and walked away after 10 years at the club. He leads DC’s Adult league coverage and dabbles in a bit of BUCS. Follow him on Twitter – @RobAmorDC