BUCS Predictions | Division Two South, Week Three

2A South West

By Editor

Bath Spa Bulldogs v Oxford Lancers

Oof. A grim way to open the year for the Bath Spa Bulldogs, who were bullied to the tune of a 72 to zip drubbing under the hooves of the Southampton Stags last week.

With reportedly only 16 bodies stepping out for their season opener, the portents do not look good for the Bath Spa squad having much success this season.

An underdog mentality only goes so far, and while the Bulldogs might well consider it a win to simply survive the season with such an undersized roster, they’re going to be hard pressed to find any other kind of victories this year unless they can find a way to get more boots on the turf.

Facing a former Division One side in their second fixture of the year is likely to do the Bulldogs no favours… Especially considering some of the recruits the Lancers roster looks to be boasting this season, including ex NCAA talents at Wideout and Running back, plus a host of other US High School talent spread across the roster.

It’s a harsh assessment, but on paper Bath Spa will deserve kudos if this one goes the full four quarters.

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OBU Panthers v Bournemouth Bobcats

A nice little win to open the year for the Panthers in Week One, which will hopefully serve as momentum as they take on a Bournemouth team yet to kick off their season.

The Panthers got the better of this Cat Fight when the two teams met last year, eeking out a narrow single score win against a Bobcats D that impressed in 2016/17.

Even though this fixture comes much earlier in the year? Don’t be surprised if we see a similar showdown on Sunday – a hotly contested match up where the defences have the better of the opposing offences for much of the day.

The Bobcats finished their last campaign with a couple of bum notes – closing the year with two donuts from their offence. It’d be tempting therefore to give the edge to a Panthers side that’s at least proven they know where paydirt is in 2017, however we’ve heard some good things from the Bobcats’ preseason activities, so we’ll take a gamble on believing the hype – don’t let us down kitties!

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Gloucestershire Gladiators v Southampton Stags

Ooh, following the Week Two results, this one suddenly got very interesting!

Perhaps we should have already had this circled on our calendars, as the new boys to the South West Conference, the Stags, saw playoff balling of their own last season, and similarly to the Gladiators, only lost out in the regular season to a team that’s now balling in Div One.

Both teams got their years off to hot starts – the Stags running rampant over the Bulldogs, while the Gladiators put in a confident and comprehensive victory against the Barracuda.

Sure, the Gloucestershire side didn’t match the sheer offensive output of the Stags on Sunday, but with ‘Cuda expected to be contenders in the conference this season, the Glads’ win might actually be the more impressive performance, outside the raw scale of the Stags’ victory.

With both teams looking competitive right out of the gates, the fact they’re playing only a six game season with no return legs? It’s a very real possibility that the conference crown could already be at stake in this Week Three fixture.

Both teams are already oh-so familiar with how crucial a single match up can be from their 16/17 campaigns, so neither will be coming into this lightly…

It’s a tough one to call, but between homefield advantage and stiffer opposition so far this year? Our 2A South West correspondent gave the nod to the Gladiators this weekend!

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2A South

By Editor

If you’re interested in writing about the 2A South East for DC, get in touch at editor@dblcoverage.com

RHUL Bears v Brighton Panthers

We were riding high on RHUL heading into last week’s game against the Emperors, however the Bears bungled their debut, unable to put up points in their season opener.

Life’s not likely to get any easier this Sunday against the recently relegated Brighton Panthers however, as while the south coast side might have failed to put up many points during their Div One campaign in 16/17, their D wasn’t far off the pace of their conference, so don’t expect the newly dubbed Panthers to to be pushovers on D this season.

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Brighton kick off their season Sunday, and even though the Bears have had a chance to blood themselves already this year, we’re picking the Panthers to open their season with a W.

Brighton Panthers

KCL Regents v City Wolfpack

Two teams that opened their years with narrow wins in what is proving to be Uniball’s most conservative conference when it comes to putting up points – the entire conference having amassed only 38 points, total, through the three games so far this season.

A league stacked with good defences, or shaky offences? We’ll perhaps learn more when these two 1-0 programmes go head to head on Sunday.

They each found paydirt twice in their openers, and we suspect this match up may come down to which side is able to find it twice one again on Sunday – another low scoring affair, decided by the team making the least mistakes.

We flipped a coin and are opting for the Regents, but both these teams could be competitors in this conference this year.

KCL Regents

2A South East

By Editor

If you’re interested in writing about the 2A South East for DC, get in touch at editor@dblcoverage.com

Essex Blades v ARU Rhinos

The Blades scraped through a squeaker to post up a win last weekend, in a single-score victory that saw the two sides deadlocked 0-0 deep into the third quarter.

However, the shutout win over the Mariners is enough to move the Essex side top of the conference, at least for now, with an opportunity to remain a top the pile if they can best a Rhinos side that opened their season with a Week One loss against the UEL Phoenix.

Still, the Rhinos entered the year with a healthy-sized roster for once, and as each week goes by they’ll gain ground on replacing the offseason losses suffered particularly in the trenches.

As such while Essex come in as the team with the W under their belts, they’re not necessarily favourites here – the Rhinos actually put up more points in their loss, than the Blades managed in their win.

As seems a theme in some of these southern conferences, expect another tightly fought contest, where it might be the first team to double digits that seals the deal.

Based on their last minute win last weekend, we’ll take the Blades in this one.

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UEL Phoenix v QMBL Vipers

The two teams that have gotten off to the fastest starts in this conference go head to head in this Week Three clash.

Sharing a conference last season, the rookie QMBL Vipers got the best of this match up the last time these two met, and yet it was the Phoenix that showed the most firepower in Week One, posting up 25 points in their win over ARU, compared to QMBL’s 16 against Greenwich.

In what seems a rarity in either the 2A South or South East conferences, this rivalry might be the most likely to feature something resembling shoot outs in each of its legs – yes, remember that the 2A South East is the only Div Two conference with home and return legs for its five teams, through an eight-game season, so whoever falls short on Sunday will have a chance to pull it back later in the year.

While early signs point to the erstwhile Titans having a bit more punch, we’re still leaning towards the young Vipers side that saw playoff balling last year to edge this one.

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Nick

Nick ‘Willy Tee’ Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he’s spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general ‘BUAFL wafflage’. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1