BAFA NL ’19 | Power Rankings: Division One Week Eight

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In the meantime, let’s check out how the Patriots of the #BritballNation see things stacking up in the top tier after the weekend’s action:

Cut:

The Shropshire Revolution couldn’t get things going against the Caesars in Week Eight and it costs the Revs their spot in the rankings – and more crucially their #2 spot in the NFC1South. They have a week off to regroup, before a trip to the unpredictable Wolverines in Week Ten.

 

Honourable Mentions:

The Bury Saints remain on the cusp of a rankings spot. Narrow losses have left them behind the frontrunners in the East, but there’s still time to make amends as they play host to an undefeated Cats side this Sunday – if they can flip the one-score loss they suffered in Week Six the Saints should she a sharp rise into the rankings!

Also, how bout dem Yorkshire Rams? Following a rough start to 2019 their last two outings have seen them hold promotion hopefuls, the Vikings, to a one-score margin of victory, and then edge out feisty Scots, the Roughnecks, in a defensive duel last weekend! Their four losses have left them well behind the curve, but it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility for the Rams to make a late playoff push were they to win out from here.

 

10. Aberdeen Roughnecks (2-3-0) | Down One

Truth be told, I think the Roughnecks should consider themselves let off lightly in being able to hold onto a top ten spot at all following their misfire against the Rms in Week Eight!

Strong performances elsewhere, including, to their credit, in their other defeats to the Pirates and Vikings, have kept them just barely clinging onto the #10 spot, but I have my doubts how long a team with a losing record can realistically expect to remain in the top ten?

Aberdeen will look to return to .500 when they travel to the Tigers in Week Nine, but it’s not like the Tigers have lacked teeth of their own this season and this north of the wall clash could well end up being one of the most hotly contested clashes we see this Sunday!

9. Nottingham Caesars (4-2-0) | New Entry

 

Welcome to the rankings, Nottingham Ceasars!

A pair of nice wins in the past fortnight have seen Notts climb into the limelight, making their 2019 debut in the rankings as they rise into the #2 spot in the NFC 1 South.

All that said, their time in the Top Ten might be a brief one if they can’t continue their strong run of form into this weekend’s clash with the Wolverines! Lancashire got the better of the Caesars a month ago, the Wolverines taking control of the second half of the first meeting between these two outfits, and should they do so again? The fight for the #2 spot in the NFC 1 South could get really messy!

 

8. London Hornets (4-1-0) | No Change

The Hornets might be hurting this week as a late score looked to have locked up the top spot in the SFC 1 East for them on Sunday, only for the Cats to claw back with two touchdowns in the closing minutes of the two previously undefeated outfits’ clash!

It’s the London side’s first loss of the year, but by a narrow enough margin that their loss doesn’t seem them lose their ranking.

They’ll have a good opportunity to build back up their momentum this Sunday as they travel to a Colchester side that have struggled so far in 2019.

 

7. Sussex Thunder (2-2-0) | No Change

Sussex stay put in seventh as they remain just narrowly ahead of the pack in the SFC 1 Central.

They Cheetahs loss at the weekend will have buoyed their hopes of reclaiming a playoff post, and when they return to the field in Week Ten, a trip to a bruised looking Berkshire should allow them to build some great momentum heading into the second half of their season.

 

6. Northumberland Vikings (5-0-0) | No Change

No change for Northumberland as they head towards their toughest test of the season so far – a clash with a pillaging Pirates outfit that were playing Premiership football last season!

The Vikings have bounced between unexpectedly close games, and steamrolling wins so far this season, so it’s tough to truly know what to expect of them as they play hosts to the Pirates on Sunday – though it’s notable that this’ll be the first regular season game in quite some time where the Vikings appear to be heading into it as underdogs!

 

5.  Hertfordshire Cheetahs (4-1-0) | Down One

Herts come up short for the first time this season as Solent shut down the Cheetahs fast-paced offence for the first time this year.

Still, the narrow scoreline only sees them take a small slip in the rankings, with the opportunity to get back on track in their second clash of the season with old rivals, the Dreadnoughts.

Perhaps more concerning for the Cheetahs than their first loss of the year, is how quickly star back Adam Adeniji will be back on the field after an early injury against the Thrashers.  The dynamic runner has been key to the Cheetahs positioning themselves in a postseason berth, and his return will certainly boost their chances of holding onto it!

 

4. East Kilbride Pirates (4-0-0) | Down One

East Kilbride made short work of the visiting Senators at the weekend, ensuring they make their top of the table clash with the Vikings a meeting between two undefeated teams!

The Pirates superb development programme has really begun paying dividends this summer, as a bunch of U17 and U19 graduates begin making their contributions to the adult roster.

Look for them to lean on a mix of both veteran experience and youthful flare in this weekend’s live streamed crucial clash1

 

3. Cambridgeshire Cats (6-0-0) | Up Two

The Cats might finally be getting the credit they deserve as they rise back up into a top three spot following yet another hard-fought-for, come-from-behind, win over a key rival in the SFC 1 East!

Two closing-seconds scores kept the Cambridgeshire outfits perfect streak alive, and the East is looking every bit as feisty as we were hoping for this season!

They travel to the Saints this Sunday, with a win looking likely to all but lock up postseason football for the SFC 1 East frontrunners!

 

 

2. Solent Thrashers (4-0-0) | No Change

Solent stay strong as they shut down the Hertfordshire offence, while finding their own way through a tough Cheetahs D to put up enough points for the win.

The modest scoreline wasn’t enough for them to snatch the top spot from the Steelers, but it does ensure they remain the team to beat in the Southern half of Division One, even if the Cats’ unbeaten streak now extends to six versus the Thrashers’ four.

Having had a fairly leisurely start to their campaign with four weeks on and four weeks off, things begin to pick up from here with only two byes between here and the end of their regular campaign – it’s going to be tough for the Thrashers to repeat last year’s feat of being the first team to lock up postseason football, but you can bet they’ll give it a good shot. Sunday brings Solent the opportunity to make amends for their sole regular-season loss from last season as they host a struggling Renegades side.

 

1. Sandwell Steelers (6-0-0) | No Change

Sandwell made short work of the Wolverines and their move to 6-0 earns them a brace of byes ahead of their final four fixtures.

With as many weeks off, as on, in their remaining season, does it give other programmes another opportunity to knock the Steelers off their pedestal?

Maybe, but I’m not sure I see it happening as no other D1 side but Sandwell can boast anything even close to their average scoreline of 51-4 through six games!

We’ll see Sandwell next in Week Eleven as they travelled to a Caesars outfit who are eagerly hunting some postseason action in 2019.

 


 

This year we’ll also be tracking the rise and fall of each team in the rankings throughout the season with this handy graphic:

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1