With no teams in the northern section of the third tier having clinched the one and only playoff spot available in each conference, it’s still all to play for. With a particularly tasty likely-title-decider in the 2A Midlands between the Coventry Jets and the Leicester Longhorns, and some potential banana skins elsewhere in the region, this is a week to watch in the 2A North…
York Centurions vs Edinburgh Napier Knights
Following a nail-biting one-point win on the road in the all-important Edinburgh derby last weekend, the Knights are now on a beeline for promotion to division one. With HC Pete Laird‘s boys looking to make amends for their gutting postseason loss in 2016 which denied them a place in the second tier, all the signs point towards a strong finish this time around.
Strong retention throughout the year, with the Knights retaining 53 of their original 60-strong recruitment class from September, has formed the backbone of a strong campaign that looks set to continue in York on Sunday.
The Centurions have not played since week 8, meanwhile, and although they will be looking to put up a fight against the high-flying Knights, it looks like it will be three losses on the bounce for the side from North Yorkshire.
Knights to pull out the victory.
Heriot-Watt vs Teesside Cougars
Teesside… what to make of Teesside?
Tight game with the Knights, followed by blow out win over UWS. In turn followed by blow out LOSS to Edinburgh, before a comfy shut out win over York… which is quickly followed by a poor performance against a previously pedestrian looking Lancaster!
The best we can tell you therefore? Teesside have a healthy sized roster, and when they ball out, they can surprise people.
Hawoo meanwhile have gone quiet as we haven’t heard from Scotland’s youngest Uniball team since Week Five, with pitch issues on their end, and lack-of-players issues for the Pyros, pushing fixtures back again and again.
In all likelihood the Pyros will be awarded as a walkover, which means this weekend is Hawoo’s chance to lock up a winning season.
What’s more, neither playoffs, or potentially even the conference are beyond them if they can pick up a win both here, and against Napier in a double header at Peffermill next weekend – seeing HWU and Napier square off in the morning, before the Predators and York clash in the afternoon!
If only because they proven to be the more consistent of the two teams we’re taking the Scotsmen – but it probably comes down to which Teesside team decides to turn up on the day.
Edge Hill Vikings vs Bradford Bears
These two teams are playing solely for position now. They are the perennial mid-table teams of the conference, with both being able to beat the bottom teams but then taking beatings off those at the top.
Edge Hill’s last game was way back on December 11th. That was the game when they had to forfeit at half time to the current conference top dog Leeds Gryphons. With a very small squad it is hard to be able to stick with teams that may be two or three deep at most positions. It was actually a fairly close game against the Gryphons up until about 3 minutes before the half, when Edge Hill took on a couple of injuries and the Gryphons put up a couple of quick scores.
Bradford took a hiding last week off their old foes, the Leeds Gryphons, and appear to have little going their way at the moment. It is fair to say that unless the university backs the team, like has happened at the Gryphons, the Bears are going to struggle to make much impact on uniball for the foreseeable future.
This game could be close, but Edge Hill will come out winners.
Liverpool Raptors vs Leeds Gryphons
The top of the table clash we had all been waiting for. Well – it was – up until the moment the Raptors decided to have a shocker against the Keele Crusaders, not score any points, and lose in overtime. Following another defeat to Bangor in which they did not score, it has all but handed the conference title to the Gryphons unless the Leeds side suddenly crumble in their final two fixtures.
We’re not sure what exactly went on in that Keele vs Liverpool match a few weeks ago, but what we do know is it was a huge shock. We had been hearing that the Raptors’ record was misleading and that the Gryphons and Muddogs could both beat them out by the end of the season, but few expected the Crusaders to topple them. Then Bangor went and did what a few expected them to do and hand the Raptors a second loss in as many weeks. A team that were 3-0 on January 28th could very easily be 3-3 by this Sunday evening. What a bad turn that would be.
The Gryphons are the form team of this conference and have scored at least 25 points in every game. They are undefeated at 4-0 and don’t look like slowing down. Not much else needs to be said about the Gryphons as their season so far really speaks for itself.
The Gryphons will win this one, securing the conference title and promotion to the second tier in the process.
Leicester Longhorns v Coventry Jets
This is it – the big one, as first and second place go head to head. Longhorns vs Jets. The battle for the Conference.
We have been informed that the Longhorns have been heavily preparing for the game this weekend. What’s more, with the Nemesis game now cancelled, this will be the Longhorns last game of the season and for some their last game of uniball. With this in mind we have no doubt that the Longhorns will give the Jets a solid run for their money and won’t give up without a fight.
The Jets will be keen to dominate from the first whistle as they travel to Leicester in their penultimate game of the season. If the Jets win this one they’ve guaranteed themselves top spot in the conference and will almost certainly go unbeaten from here on out. Sunday was a disappointment for the Jets with their 1-0 walkover win against the no longer active Northampton Nemesis. The Jets put in extra work in preparation for the game and so now are putting their minds towards the upcoming weekend. Due to a season ending injury to their number one CB some of the Jets rookies will be looking to step up on Sunday. RBs Andy Owuse, Dwayne Obi and Justin Alpha have been tipped to get some points on the board this weekend, but the real question is whether wingback George Chionis will be able to live up to his ‘Superstar’ status? Only time will tell.
We’re going with Coventry Jets
Lincoln Colonials v Huddersfield Hawks
This weekend sees the last game of the season for both teams, with Lincoln still in with a playoff chance if they can beat the Hawks on Sunday.
The Colonials come off the back of a really strong win against DMU so will be heading into this game on a high. LB Garvan O’Conner had a good game at the weekend and the Colonials are expecting another strong performance from him. They have also noted that two-way player Morgan Page will be looking to have a big game.
Huddersfield on the other hand will want to finish off their season off with a W, and if they win this one they can then pip Lincoln to the post and knock them into 5th place. This could be a great way to finish their first season in the Midlands 2A, and it will be interesting to see how they fair next year.
We’re taking the Colonials in this one.