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

This year’s Power Rankings for each of the three tiers of the BAFA National Leagues Adult game are being decided EXCLUSIVELY by our Patreon members, so if you want your say on who’s top dog in each tier?

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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 were sliced apart by the Steelers on Sunday, and though the Revs managed to hold Sandwell off from racking up yet another Fifty Burger win, it’s still a big ask to suffer a smackdown like that and remain in the rankings.

Honourable Mentions:

We’re at the point where there’s only a handful of questions remaining with regard the middle tier postseason, and currently there’s only two teams not in playoff berths that could be when the dust settles at the end of the regular season.

That said, a tip of the cap to the Wembley Stallions who may have never made it as high as rankings spot this summer, but have consistently pushed the top dogs in the East hard – four single score losses for the Stallions spell the difference between finishing midtable, and potentially Wembley walking away with a crown.

 

10. Lancashire Wolverines (6-3-0) | Re-Entry

Welcome back Wolverines!

Shropshire getting skewered by the Steelers in Week Fifteen sees the Wolverines return to the top ten as they prepare for their final fixture of the season, similarly against the crowned NFC 1 South champions.

Lancashire’s route to this point in their season has been far from a simple one, and their last two outings saw them edge past both the Romans and Revolution by only a single score in each game. Though a win on Sunday would secure them playoff football, Lancashire have already been mauled by Sandwell once this season in a 6-59 loss, and so their better chances might come from the NFC1South’s other remaining fixture – if the Caesars can send Shropshire home with a loss it’d lock Lancashire into the postseason by virtue of their h2h over Notts.

 

9. London Hornets (8-2-0) | Down Two

The Hornets may have gone into their final fixture of the season knowing postseason action was already secured, but London’s loss to the Saints was not entirely without consequence.

Not only does the defeat see the Hornets slide two spots down the rankings (notably below two teams that we know WON’T see playoff football), but it also swats flat any hopes of potentially swiping the East crown away from the Cats.

Sure, Cambridgeshire aren’t exactly expected to lose versus Colchester in this weekend’s season finale, but the Hornets were at least previously in with a shot at taking a crown and the comfort of home-field advantage that comes with it.

 

8. Bury Saints (6-3-0) | Up One

The Saints surprised with a confident win over the Hornets in Week Fifteen, and while it’s very possible the Hornets weren’t playing to full potentially having already locked up an extension to their season, it’ll still be taken as a positive step for the Saints, a playoff team scalp they can treasure as they continue to heal the wounds caused by last season’s tumultuous year in the top tier.

They close out their summer against a Wembley Stallions side who’ve also been proud contributors to make the SFC 1 East the most hotly contested conference in Britball this summer.

 

7.  Hertfordshire Cheetahs (7-2-0) | Up One

The Hornets taking a tumble allows Herts to hop up into seventh.

They return from a pair of byes to take on what’s likely a must-win fixture against the as-yet undefeated Solent Thrashers – a victory the only way the Cheetahs can know for sure they’ll be seeing postseason football.

Should Herts come up short? They’ll be reliant on a Renegades upset against the Thunder, placing their postseason fate in the hands of another outfit.

 

6. Sussex Thunder (6-3-0) | N0 Change

If you’re going to pick a time to start putting up Burgers on offence, there’s few better times than the ramp-up to potential playoff action!

Sussex dominated the Saints last weekend, and will look to ride that momentum right over the Berkshire Renegades on Sunday.

Still, the Renegades certainly made Sussex sweat last time around – drawing first blood and holding into it for much of the game, and put a scare on the Cheetahs just a couple weeks ago too.

Sussex will know they can’t come into this game overconfident, as a win is their only shot at extending their season… and even then, they’ll be following the score updates to see how the Cheetahs and Thrashers clash goes.

 

5. Cambridgeshire Cats (8-1-0) | No Change

Cambridgeshire lock up a title without even needing to take a step out onto the turf, as the Hornets’ loss to the Saints secures the Cats the Eastern crown!

Knowing their title is concreted in place, might the Cats look to rest up some players ahead of playoffs when they take on the one-win Gladiators this weekend?

Well, if they do so, they’ll want to be aware that the #1 seed in the south isn’t entirely out of their reach.

Should the Central champs, the Thrashers, come up short against the Cheetahs, then a strong defensive performance from the Cats this weekend could yet see them swipe the #1 seed – a worthy goal for any team with top tier aspirations.

 

4. East Kilbride Pirates (9-1-0) | Down One

…So, apparently an immovable object trumps an unstoppable force?

The Pirates smooth sailing on offence smashed itself against the rocks of the Vikings’ defence in Week Fifteen as the Pirates were held without a single point.

To their credit, they also kept the Northumberland side out of the endzone, as let’s be frank – we wouldn’t be all too surprised to see these two teams meet for a third defensive duel in the Northern Final!

The titles not lost to them just yet… Expect a lot of new Roughnecks fans with Glaswegian accents this weekend…

 

3. Northumberland Vikings (8-1-0) | Up One

And things continue to stay pretty familiar from here upwards, too, as we see the top few teams that have been amongst the favourites to contest promotion all season long stay locked in their respective spots.

The one-loss Vikings may boast the best defence in the NFC 1 North, but they’ll need to put in its strongest showing to date as they hit the road to Scotland this Sunday, taking on the East Kilbride Pirates in a fixture that all-but decides who’ll take the title and homefield advantage heading into playoffs.

There was only three points in it when the two sides met earlier this summer, and the Vikings haven’t conceded a single score since, coming into this game riding a two-game shutout streak…

 

 

2. Solent Thrashers (9-0-0) | No Change

Solent are back-to-back Central champions, and will go into this weekend’s game fairly confident of the #1 seeding in the south, even should they come up short against the Cheetahs.

Their defence has been the toughest unit in the south this season, and it’s worth bearing in mind that though at a glance there’s only an 8pt differential between the Thrashers and the Cats, Cambridgeshire have one walkover win to their name so we’re actually looking at a 7.33 APC for Solent vs a 9.25 APC for the Cats… which translates to Solent being able to lose to Herts, concede up to ~16pts, and still find themselves holding the #1 berth even were the Cats to best the Gladiators with a defensive shutout.

Of course, having let a perfect season slip from their grasp last summer, I’m kinda doubting Solent are prepared to give the Cheetahs an easy run around this weekend.

 

1. Sandwell Steelers (9-0-0) | No Change

Another week, another shutout for the Steel Curtain (Is that what the Sandwell D calls itself? It should be!).

Sandwell made short work of the Revolution, but notably came up short of the fifty burger on offence, which puts them behind pace to average a burger-a-week over the course of the season.

That said, they put 59 on the Wolverines last time the two teams met, and that’s conveniently the exactly number of points they’d need to hit the big quintuple century of scoring on the year!

 


 

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