After we gushed over our full slate of game in the bottom tier last week, the footballing gods got their own back in the north by relieving De Montfort and Heriot-Watt of a home field for their games against Manchester Met and Teesside respectively. We should have known better…
Edinburgh Napier Knights v UWS Pyros
With Heriot-Watt’s game against Teeside postponed due to field issues, the Knights have a chance in this one to shake off the dust after five weeks without a game. On paper, it looks like they should be able to do this with aplomb as they face a UWS side which has shipped close to 100 points in their two games so far.
These two sides took turns in pitching shutouts on one another last year, with both sides winning ‘at home’ (Pyros won one half of a double header 6-0), but the Pyros haven’t looked much like their 2015/2016 iteration thus far this season. Their coaching staff and executive hoped for a .500 season off the back of recruiting experience junior and senior players, but with a heavy loss to middling Teesside their answer to the ‘what have you done for me lately’ question, you would expect them to fair even worse against a well-rested side that lost only one game last term and has showed little sign of slowing down this season.
We expect our very own HC Pete Laird’s Knights to win this one comfortably.
Bradford Bears v Chester Legion
The 1-1 Bears take on the struggling new boys in the Chester Legion, who are currently 0-2 and are only held off the foot of the table by the Keele Crusaders virtue of an extra loss.
The Bears started the season with a win against table-proppers Keele but then went across to the top side in the division, the Raptors, and had to call the game at half time already down 27-0 and with a lack of players.
The Legion, though, we hoped so much for you at the start of the season with positive vibes making their way to our elves here at DC Towers. Alas it was not to be. Yes, they have faced what we now expect to be the top two teams in the conference, but to not have even registered a point does not stand them in good stead. They are currently one of only three teams in the whole of the third tier that have played at least a full game and are yet to register a point.
With Bradford returning home to their victorious bog from Week One against the Crusaders, and the evident struggles of the Legion, we can only see this going one way.
Bears to win this one comfortably.
Leeds Gryphons v Edge Hill Vikings
So here we have our #7 ranked Gryphons, 2-0, going up against another mid-table team in the Edge Hill Vikings, who currently sit 1-2 after victory over Keele last time out.
The Gryphons seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment and that AU backing must be doing wonders for them. It always helps to get an easy game first off, boosting confidence and getting some points on the board. However, they then went and beat the Muddogs in a close one, muscling themselves into title contention.
The Edge Hill Vikings at least got a win on the board last time out, against basement-dwellers Keele. They have also dropped two games to the Muddogs and Raptors, which we think even the Vikings could have realistically seen coming. Playing against another highly ranked team in the division this could be a long day for the Vikings, especially if their bus decides to not turn up or “have difficulties” and the Gryphons help them out by pushing KO back to 6pm.
In all honesty, good on the Gryphons to sort it out and still get the game against Bangor played when a lot of other teams would have tried to claim the 1-0 walkover.
But down to the nitty gritty. The Gryphons look like they are growing into some resemblance of their former selves – as in the pre-name-change, pre-single institution, Leeds Celtics. The Vikings at least have a win so far this year and we’re sure they will snag a couple more as well before the season is out, but it won’t be this weekend.
The #7 Gryphons to win this by a healthy margin.
Coventry Jets vs Lincoln Colonials
After the #upset in Week 4 where the Colonials lost by just a point to the Eagles, this week they travel to our other conference favourites the Coventry Jets. With the BUCS structure change this week this game is really a must win for both teams. If the Colonials fail to win this they could see their hopes of promotion dashed. The Jets could potentially get a 6-0 season which would see them clear at the top and therefore up for promotion to the 1A Midlands next year.
The Jets shut-out win over the Hawks could be the confidence boost the Jets need for this weekend. With 64 points on the board and sitting pretty at the top of the conference the Jets will want to notch up a big victory on Sunday. With talent such as Andy Owusu and George Chionis on offense, both hoping to get scores this weekend, the Jets will have a strong chance of a big score line. Having OLB Defensive Captain Calum Ireland as a star on D, it will be interesting to see if the Colonials can put many points on the board.
The Colonials have managed a huge 84 points from three games, but come into this game on the back of their only loss. After a week off to get in the practice for this strong match up they will be keen to show the Jets that they are competitors for the top spot.
With a lot riding on this game it will likely show who the top team of the Conference is going to be.
We’re backing the Jets for this one but reckon it will be a close-run affair.
And festive too!