We saw a David vs Goliath win in the South last weekend as the #8 seed Emperors downed the top-seeded Chargers – but is that the end of the line for the highly successful rookie programme?
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!
Brunel Burners (#2) vs UCL Emperors (#8)
When you start up a football programme, there’s likely some obvious goals on your check list for the first few seasons.
Win your first competitive game? That’s an obvious one, and often easier said than done when you enter a long-established league. Make your first playoff appearance? That can take many seasons… In fact there’s a number of long established teams in the league who’ve not yet achieved that goal… Win your first playoff game? Well, we’re talking many years down the line, right? …Right??
Not so for the Emperors, who’ve surpassed all other rookie programmes in the league this season by making it to the semi finals in their first ever competitive year!
But now the biggest question of all will be asked of them – can they turnaround a heavy regular season loss and defeat the top team from their own conference to progress even further?
Well, the Burners’ defensive coordinator certainly doesn’t believe so. And that, children, is how you create grudge matches out of thin air!
Plymouth Blitz (#3) vs Gloucestershire Gladiators (#4)
Another regular season rematch as two conference rivals go head to head on Sunday.
The Blitz scuppered the Gladiators’ chances of promotion with a 28-13 home victory back in Week Nine, but the reality is the game was much tighter than the scoreline suggests.
The Gladiators dominated 23 minutes of the first half, before the Blitz D found ways to make plays in the closing seconds of the half to suddenly give the Devon side a narrow 14-13 lead going into the break.
A huge momentum swing saw the Gladiator’s dreams of a first conference title crushed, and appears to have awakened a ruthless streak in the boys in blue – who’ve followed up their loss with two #50Burger performances – including a second half rout of the QMBL Vipers in the quarter finals last weekend – an ugly way for the rookie London side to end a highly successful first season.
The Glads will be gunning for revenge here, and will an already promoted Plymouth team have the answers?
There we have it ‘Nation – but who are YOUR picks to make it through the first round of playoffs in the southern half of Division Two?