OOOSH! Round One of the postseason was pretty gritty, and perhaps one of the most controversial fixtures of the postseason came in the Division Two North, where the Coventry Jets were awarded a walkover win over conference rivals, the Leicester Longhorns!
Remember, conference champions have already been locked in as promotees, so all that’s at stake in the Division Two Playoffs now is a handful of BUCS points… And a whole lot of pride!
Edinburgh Napier Knights (#1) vs Coventry Jets (#6)
Controversial attendees of the semi-finals, the Coventry Jets haven’t actually taken to the field since Week Ten, where they lost to the title-winning Leicester Longhorns. Prior to that, it was early December since the Jets last won a game on the gridiron itself, and Sunday’s walkover win over the Longhorns raised a lot of questions over the efficacy of the BUCS postseason tiebreakers.
Even so, that’s not down to the Jets and they can only play the teams placed in front of them, which means they’ll come into this match up fresh as a daisy in terms of injuries, and likely with a point to prove – that they deserve their shot at the Northern title.
The Knights were hot favourites last weekend as they welcomed a Colonials team that were somewhat surprised to see themselves in the postseason. Even so, the Colonials made the most of their shot at glory.
The easterlings took the fight to the Scots right out of the gate, and indeed led for the major part of the match up having taken a 7-0 lead in the first half. However, in true Napier style, their defence stepped up and closed things down for the Colonials, allowing the offence to claw them back into the game, before kicking for the win on the one-but last play of the game!
Leeds Gryphons (#2) vs Bangor MudDogs (#4)
A regular season rematch that gives the MudDogs an opportunity to avenge the narrow loss that cost them the conference crown waaaaay back in Week Five.
That game swung on a rookie mistake on the opening kickoff that put the Gryphons in a position to take an early lead – so how will the development of the two rosters through the season thus far have allowed each team to impact the result in this semi-finals rematch?
The Gryphons put in a dominant performance last weekend, taking a comfortable lead over the Hawoo boys and maintaining it throughout the fixture.
Also battling against Scots, the MudDogs’ fixture was a more hard-fought affair as they struggled to contain the Predator’s ground attack – expect more of the same this weekend as the Gryphons look to use their impressively sized roster (and linemen!) to bully the Bangor side, while the Welshmen’s aerial attack may be their best bet of keeping pace with the Gryphons’ offence.
There we have it ‘Nation – but who are YOUR picks to make it through the first round of playoffs in the northern half of Division Two?