BAFA NL ’19 | Under 19’s Previews: Week Five

Game of the Week: London Warriors Vs Solent Seahawks

After both starting their seasons with big wins over the Wembley Stallions, the Solent Seahawks face the London Warriors in a game which may prove vital for playoff seedings at the end of the season.

Solent come into the game off the back of a dominant 34-0 win over the Stallions. Solent’s DBs stole the show as well as the ball as mainstays like Andrew Banda, Kieron Johnson & Sam Gee had their expectedly strong performances matched by rookies like Josh Roberts, who took a pick 72 yards to the house. Solent also got production from rookie RB Ollie Clemo who had 62 yards and two touchdowns on the day.

The Warriors will be looking to bounce back after a humiliating 32-0 loss to, local rivals, the London Blitz. After failing to record a single point, QB Matthew Johns will hope to lead his offense on a more successful campaign this week. Despite what the scoreline may suggest, holding the Blitz offense to ‘just’ four TDs has proved a deceptively impressive task in recent years, and the defence will hope to have more success against a talented Seahawks O.


Cambridgeshire Cats Vs London Blitz

After quickly dispensing with their local rivals, London Blitz move on to face a struggling Cambridgeshire Cats squad.

One game in, it looks to be more of the same from the winners of the past two Britbowls. With a 32-0 shutout against a usually competitive London Warriors, Blitz will no doubt feel confident heading into the rest of the season. Defensively, S Alex Greenhalgh stood out with several key pass breakups and tackles throughout the game added to a special teams touchdown and will look to build on this performance this week.

Cambridgeshire stepped up from Division Two over the off-season and will no doubt be disappointed with their first display in 9-man football, falling 62-6 against fellow Div 2 alums, the Kent Exiles. Expecting the Cats to turn their season against a team like the Blitz is a tough ask, and to label the Cats as underdogs may be an understatement. Still, the boys from Cambridgeshire will look to prove the doubters wrong with a strong showing on Sunday.


SE Legion Vs Thames Valley Tigers

Two relatively young outfits meet this weekend as TVT head to the South East.

The Tigers had a tough first game, falling 45-0 to a strong Hertfordshire Cheetahs, but with former Swindon Storm Youth QB JP Osmond making his first start at the Junior level, some hiccups were to be expected. Look for the strong-armed and mobile passer to bounce back this week with help from WR Josh Winters. Defensively, keep your eyes on a talented secondary led by GB U17 Safety, Ted Mercer as well as speedy CB Chan Rock.

The SE Legion are the new kids on the block and play their first game this weekend. Following the Thames Valley formula in building on a regional alliance of youth teams to source the numbers for a Junior team, the South East Legion are an amalgamation of the Hellingly Hounddogs, Kent Phoenix and East Kent Mavericks in the hopes of competing in Junior football. With this obviously being the Legion’s first game and TVT going winless last season, whoever wins this game will make history by claiming their team’s first victory.


Birmingham Lions Vs Nottingham Caesars

Two 1-0 teams meet this week to see who will crack first as the Nottingham Caesars travel to Birmingham. The Lions took a hard-fought win against the Etone Jaguars to start their campaign.

Birmingham boast a talented offense spearheaded by GB QB Nathan Lester who adds an aspect of mobility to the quarterbacking position. With one TD pass to his name already this season, Lester will look to add to his tally against a formidable Nottingham secondary, with strong ground support from Jeremi Beni, who also scored against Etone. However, it is the Lions defense which poses the bigger threat, successfully holding the Jaguars to just 12 points in their season opener.

The Nottingham Caesars relied on a heavy ground game in their win against Tamworth, with RBs Samuel Agbemadji and Niall Simpson taking most of the carries, and accounting for three of the Caesars four touchdowns last week. On defence, Ryan Cross brings a strong pass rush to the game and will hope to keep Lester on the back foot throughout.

Birmingham and Nottingham follow similar formulas for success; running the football and playing good defence. The result on Sunday will simply be a question of who does it best.


East Kilbride Pirates Vs Yorkshire Academy Assassins

After proving themselves the best in Scotland, EKP host a team from south of the wall this week as the Assassins travel North for a tough game.

The Assassins are already 1-0 after seeing off Tamworth in the opening week, but the Pirates are always a different matter entirely. QB Zak Thompson will need to make plays with his arm and his legs again if the Assassins are to come away with a result. Power-back Harry Peach also brings another dimension to the run game and can be difficult to bring down once he gets going.

In his first year as a starter, QB Scott McKigen is trying to prove himself an apt replacement for the departed Sam Montgomery and after a 68 yard TD pass against Highland, the Pirates are growing more comfortable with the new face under centre. EKP’s run game stole the show, however, and one can expect more of the same this week, with Jack Cochrane hopefully returning from injury.