BAFA National Leagues Predictions – Premier: Week Nine

We turn our attention to the Premier now… can Edinburgh keep the pressure on East Kilbride for the number two seed out of the North? Will the Blitz keep up their streak in the South?

Premier North - Oheeul Choudhury

Edinburgh Wolves vs Sheffield Giants

The last time these two team met, the Wolves put on a show scoring comfortably and coming away with a clean sheet. Nothing much has changed between now and then. Sheffield have shown great promise in the games in between however they are still sitting at the bottom of the table with a 0-4 record.

After getting a thoroughly beaten down by the ‘Nix, the Giants will be looking to change their fortunes as they journey up north for the Week Two rematch. So far this season, the Wolves are putting in their best perforamnces at home, but the Giants will look to end that streak. With talent such as Felix Titherley and Sam Fossey on D the Giants will look to plug the holes which caused them to lose last time around.

Losing this game will put a lot of pressure on the Giants to win in Week Eleven against the Wolverines.

Edinburgh meanwhile, are coming off an exciting victory against the Nighthawks. After coming out on top in a thriller of a game, the Wolves will be looking to use that momentum to see them through into their long break. Although the coaching staff will be happy with the win, the game was a little too close for comfort for the Wolves. After some defensive errors in the third quarter the Wolves almost allowed the Nighthawks to steal the win. The Wolves have been in this scenario quite a few times this season and will need to stop these small mental errors if they want to succeed in the top tier.


Edinburgh Wolves LThe Wolves have shown time and time again that they are a force. The Giants will have their work cut out for them if they want to break the Wolves’ streak at home. Wolves to win.

 

 


Lancashire Wolverines vs Merseyside Nighthawks

With both teams coming of a loss, the Nighthawks take on the flailing Wolverines looking to drag themselves over 0.500. Meanwhile in the Wolverines camp, coaches will be looking to try anything to give themselves an edge and finally rack up a win this season.

The last time these teams met, the Nighthawks comfortably beat the Wolverines 35-21. With the wolverines at the bottom of the table the nighthawks will be looking for continue what they started in Week Six. With players such as Alex Eager and Harry Routledge looking to put in more stellar performances, the Nighthawks will be confident with this weeks fixture.

Defensively, Merseyside will look to correct the mistakes which lead the Lancashire getting back in to the game last time out, and put in a dominant performance ahead of their bye week.

Things are not looking good for the Wolverines. Having yet to register a win, the teams morale will be at an all time low. They have shown on occasion they have the potential to go toe-to-toe with some of the middle of the pack teams, scoring against both the Wolves and Nighthawks. However that potential is yet to materialise into something worthwhile.


Merseyside Nighthawks New LWith a 0-4 record, and having conceded the most points in the conference it is hard to see any way the Wolverines will be able to upset the Nighthawks. However that’s the beautiful thing about football, on any given Sunday any team can win. I don’t see this weekend being that particular Sunday. Nighthawks to win.

 


Premier South - Rose Wilford

London Blitz vs Bristol Aztecs

This weekend sees the second match up of these two teams this season and after the Blitz won the last game I think this one will be a bit of a closer game.

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After attending the Aztecs Warriors game on the weekend the score definitely didn’t reflect the game and the Aztecs managed to defensively hold off the Warriors constantly throughout the game. They need to be bringing their A game and performing better than they did on Sunday in the hopes that they can match up with the Blitz this weekend. Head Coach Chris Powles has said the team won’t be making any big changes in the run up to this weekend as they feel they are competing with their opponents, they just need to play a full game and avoid costly mistakes late in the game.

For this weekend players to watch for the Aztecs will be WR Sam Hemmingsley who is having another good year as well as LB Ryan Morton, who had an interception on Sunday against the Warriors and OL Will Bunce who is playing solid football in his second year. Coach Powles noted that the Blitz have shown to be early favourites this year, they’re motivated and he knows that this weekend with the Blitz being at home it will be a tough game. He said ‘We have the toughest schedule in all of Britball, playing Warriors and Blitz twice each in our first 5 games, but we think we have held our own so far.’ He added that the defense had a good day Sunday and if the team can build the momentum they should be able to compete, they will be looking to not start as slow as the last game but are embracing the opportunity to play the best.

The Blitz are hosting this weekend so will be keen to use their home crowd to their full advantage, I asked the team if they thought the home field advantage would help them; their response was that it’ll be great to return back to Finsbury Park and that the team will be comfortable playing in a familiar environment.

The crowd gave the team a real lift in their last home game against the Warriors and the team hope that they bring the same energy this weekend. Sitting at 4-0 the Blitz will no doubt be feeling pretty unstoppable and look set to be the Britbowl Champions if they can beat the Warriors again later in the season. For now, they have their sights set on going 5-0 on Sunday. When asked who they felt would stand out for them they said the team as a whole is what got them to 4-0 and a good team effort will be needed to beat a strong Bristol side. I asked the team if they predict the score to be similar to last time as the previous score was 36-23 to the Blitz and they responded ‘Bristol are a tough side and we won’t be taking them for granted. It will certainly be a competitive game, so we have to stay focused on both sides of the ball if we want to advance to 5-0.’ With just over half the season left for the Blitz the players are excited for the second half of the season with the team sitting exactly where they wanted to be at this point. The team said they know that all the hours they’ve spent preparing are paying off so far but realise that each game is a new challenge and they’ve can’t look beyond the next game.


London Blitz LThey know that they need to keep doing all the things that have got them to this point and keep building on them. I think this game will be close, but I’m backing the Blitz to win, just.

 

 


Farnham Knights vs London Warriors

After a tough shutout to the Saints on the weekend the Knights will be feeling pretty beaten up ahead of their game this weekend. It’s been reported that the Knights didn’t have ideal numbers in their game just gone and so will need to rally the troops on Sunday. With what will likely be their toughest game of the season against the Warriors the Knights really need to step up if they can hope to stop the Warriors getting a shutout. Having already scored against the Warriors in their last game this season the Knights have something to show considering they were only beaten by a 20 point score margin.

The Warriors on the other hand have continued to dominate throughout their season except for their one loss against the Blitz. After their game on Sunday, which was closer than I think the Warriors would have liked, they will be trying to dominate the field against the only team that is yet to get a win this season in the Prem South.


London Warriors LThe Warriors are now half way through their season and if they can continue the rest of their season like the first half they will no doubt still be strong contenders for the Britbowl trophy. The Warriors will win this one.

 


 

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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