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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:
12. Farnham Knights (1-7-0) | No Change
Farnham are still in with a shot of saving their season, but to do so they’ll need to make the most of their next two road trips.
They head to the Aztecs on Sunday who, contrary to comments from one of their coaches this week, haven’t quite yet locked up Prem balling for 2020 just yet.
Should the Knights win by at least 18 when they take to the turf at Filton College they’ll put the Bristol outfit’s Prem credentials in peril*.
*(There’s still a, admittedly fairly unlikely, possibility of a three-way at the bottom of the Prem South, with Knights, Aztecs and Exiles all sat at 3-7, where Farnham would own both head to heads… though admittedly this’d require the Exiles to beat the Blitz, then lose to the Knights…)
11. Leicester Falcons (2-6-0) | Down One
Though the Falcons still have essentially the fewest routes out of the Prem North, there were worrying signs out of their trip up to the Nighthawks in Week Thirteen.
I’m less worried about the fifty burger scoreline, than I am about the reports of the Falcons travelling light on numbers for such a crucial fixture.
Needing a win to concrete their place in the top tier, they’re going to have to hope to have bounced back strong over the week off for BAFCA, as the Titans bested the Leicester side comprehensively when they last met.
10. Kent Exiles (2-6-0) | Up One
Credit where it’s due to the Exiles this summer… they’ve certainly kept things interesting in the Prem South with their bizarre hot and cold runs of form!
Sure, they’ve found themselves well off the pace of the Warriors (but who hasn’t?), but their two wins over Bristol show this is a side more than capable of mixing it up with the rest of the southern half of the top tier… Sometimes.
Exiles > Aztecs > Olympians > Exiles… and then throw the Farnham Knights’ win over the Kent into the mix too and… shrug?
They travel to the Blitz this weekend, and so a crucial third win might be a bit of a big ask… So perhaps instead their attention should be on their Week Sixteen hosting of the Knights – a game that in all likelihood determines which team remains a top-flight outfit next season.
9. Edinburgh Wolves (2-7-0) | Down One
The Wolves hit the road to Tamworth in Week Thirteen… and apparently the road hit back as Edinburgh were unable to maintain momentum following their big win over the Titans and currently remain bottom of the pile in the North.
Without a fixture this weekend, they’ll have to sit and watch the scorelines come in… But first and foremost in their minds should be one simple goal – beating Leicester in Week Sixteen should be enough to maintain their top tier status, as long as results elsewhere also go to form.
8. Sheffield Giants (2-7-0) | Down One
Sheffield slip a spot, and truth be told despite their steadily improving performances through the second half of their season, their situation looks pretty grim.
While the Wolves might have the most possible outcomes that see them drop a Division, looking at the form across the league and you’ve got to think it’s the Giants that face the biggest threat.
Though they’ll be avidly watching this weekend’s scores come in, the truth is it’s Week Sixteen that’ll determine their fate – needing either a win over the visiting Nighthawks, or a Falcons road win over the Wolves, to save top tier credentials they’ve proven they’re more than worthy of during the second half of their season.
7. Bristol Aztecs (3-5-0) | Up Two
A big closing seconds win for Bristol boosts them up the rankings a bit, and places them on the cusp of ensuring they’ll be playing Premiership football in 2020.
What’s more, a win on Sunday against the Knights would go a long way to ensuring the Bristol side return to their traditional #3 spot in the South as they hold the head-to-head over an Olympians side who finish out their season with battles against the Blitz and the Warriors.
6. London Olympians (4-4-0) | No Change
Speaking of the Os, they stay narrowly ahead of their western rivals in this week’s rankings, as in truth they probably had the better performance through most of the Week Thirteen clash, and even came close to a hail mary miracle to swipe the lead back in the closing seconds.
Strictly speaking, even with that heartwrenching loss the Olympians are still technically in the postseason race… Though they’d need to win out in their remaining fixtures versus Warriors and Blitz, while hoping the Blitz themselves come up short against the Exiles
Honestly, I could perhaps get on board with many of those components clicking into place… Except for the Os getting the better of the big boys in matte black lids, this Sunday.
5. Manchester Titans (6-2-0) | No Change
The Titans returned to winning ways against the Giants, ensuring things are kept toight as a toiger at both ends of the Northern table.
Their situation from here is simple – just win baby, as winning out would still, give them a potential shot at a northern title.
On the flipside, even a single slip-up would almost certainly see Nighthawks swoop into the postseason, or even the swipe the crown!
4. Merseyside Nighthawks (6-2-0) | No Change
Merseyside made short work of the Falcons in Week Thirteen, and will need to use the momentum the meaty-goodness of their fifty-burger win gave them to hopefully earn themselves a big upset win against the Phoenix this weekend.
Their route to a crown is certainly the longest of the three contenders, needing to best the Phoenix by 29+ points, as well as for Titans to also take down Tamworth, to get a shot at a threeway where they’d hold both head-to-heads.
2. London Blitz (6-2-0) | No Change
The Blitz just haven’t seemed themselves this season.
Their disappointingly one-sided outing against the Warriors aside, they’ve also seen other Prem South outfits stress them at times – the Aztecs holding a lead for much the two teams’ Week Twelve clash, while the Olympians held the Blitz to just a one-score win, meaning that this late into the year and the Blitz’s postseason status is not yet confirmed!
Still, they’ll get a chance to silence some of the critiques this Sunday as they travel to the Kent Exiles, with a win ensuring they’ll be hitting the road north to fight for a return to their regular billing in the Britbowl.
2. Tamworth Phoenix (7-1-0) | Up One
Tamworth return to the number two spot having impressed with their win over the Wolves.
Their title defence is still far from complete, as they’ll round out their regular season with second-leg clashes against their top two northern rivals, starting with Merseyside this Sunday.
They handled the ‘Hawks comfortably earlier in the season, but Merseyside have definitely been playing their best football on home soil – averaging 38.25 points per game at home, versus only 23 points per game on the road.
The Phoenix will be looking to their ever-stalwart defence to step up on Sunday, as even though they hold a 28 point buffer in the head-to-head against the ‘Hawks, their Week Sixteen clash with the Titans is obviously no gimmie either!
1. London Warriors (8-0-0) | No Change
The Warriors’ 80-0 extermination of the Exiles locked up the Prem South title, but also on a larger scale also saw the standout outfit secure their 100th regular season victory… in just twelve seasons.
I’m gonna try to put together a more in-depth piece looking into the numbers… but suffice to say that kinda level of success is pretty much unheard of.
No surprises they hold onto the #1 spot, I’m fairly certain there’s almost no chance of them being shifted from it before the year is out, and Coach Allen and his staff will be beginning to turn their collective gaze north to whichever of the three contenders will be making the daunting trip south into the Warriors’ arena come playoffs.
This year we’ll also be tracking the rise and fall of each team in the rankings throughout the season with this handy graphic: