Week Sixteen saw the top two tiers all wrapped up, and we know all but one of the D2 teams who’ll be extending their seasons… but how did we get here? And which outfits finished their regular seasons on a pleasing high? Or a disappointing low?
- Associate outfit, the Hereford Stampede, impressed this weekend, as they advanced to 2-1 with a win over league side, the Torbay Trojans.
- The Yorkshire Rams finished their season on a high as they pulled off a final minute comeback to get the better of the visiting Tigers.
- And a shoutout to the Hastings Conquerors, who’ve weathered the storm this season and were finally rewarded with their first points of the season, notching up their first touchdown, along with a second-half safety. Of course, we should also mention the Jurassic Coast Raptors, who racked up their most impressive scoreline of the season.
Saints prayers are answered as they save their Division One status
After a tough season where they’d struggled to put up sufficient points in a hotly contested SFC 1 Central, the Saints went into their final fixture with many already writing them off as Division Two-bound… However, apparently no one told the Saints as they put in their second-best offensive performance of the season when they needed it the most, turning over a Dreadnoughts side that had bested them 17-36 when the two teams met earlier in the season.
The victory, combined with the Renegades coming up well short against Sussex across the conference, ensure the Saints will see middle-tier football once again next season, with a chance to recruit and come back to more closely contest the Central region next season!
Phoenix rise from the Flames!
Falling seventeen points behind early it looked like we’d be crowning a new Premiership North champion for the first time in a good few seasons… However, the Phoenix showed their mettle and maturity as they didn’t let heads drop, and instead bit back with 21 unanswered points, which combined with a called off Titans touchdown allowed Tamworth to secure a fourth-straight Premiership North title!
Though the Phoenix may have had their toughest season since they emerged as their premier outfit in the North, they’ve found ways to patch the various holes in their roster left by a number international departures, and perhaps more importantly for the programme as a whole are beginning to see the rewards of their youth development – their Under 17s went undefeated in a tough Midlands region this summer and will go into the finals as one of the top seeds – encouraging signs for the Phoenix’s Phuture, even if they continue to see standout ballers lured away by Europe.
The perfect Four…and more?
Sunday saw three teams cap off their campaigns, joining the Blitz Bs with undefeated regular records, with a potential for a further four Division Two outfits joining them in the Perfect Club.
While the London Warriors’ perfect campaign seemed predestined from the preseason, the Solent Thrashers had to overcome some stiff challenges, particularly from the upstart Hertfordshire Cheetahs who held them close in both meetings.
Finally, the Sandwell Steelers looked like they’d breeze their way to a Perfect 10 in 2019, having torn apart all opposition that stood in their way through their first nine fixtures. However, the Steelers were made to sweat in their final fixture, risking losing out on their #1 seeding as the Lancashire Wolverines bit back in the second half and made a real game of it, fighting for their own shot at postseason action!
And the final Crowns go to…
And we saw the final titles of 2019 locked up as the Northumberland Vikings secured their NFC 1 North title defence with a win over the Roughnecks, and the Tamworth Phoenix made an impressive comeback to continue their stranglehold on the Premiership North.
But which teams got the worst of it in Week Sixteen?