Leicester Falcons vs. Sandwell Steelers
This should in fact be a decent game. The first time these two met, back in May, it ended with the Falcons triumphing in a 26-28 shootout and the Steelers will be desperate to get revenge and another win on the board.
The new boys suffered a loss at the hands of the Oxford Saints this weekend past, whilst Leicester won in a tight game against the Lincolnshire Bombers.
With home-field advantage, form on their side and the past result we have to hand this one to the Falcons but it won’t be an easy one for them.
Leicester Falcons to win by 1 score
Peterborough Saxons vs. Oxford Saints
It’s been a month and a half since these two last met and the face of the division has changed a whole lot in the meantime. Back then the teams were meeting as the two undefeated sides left in the division, with the Saints walking away with a comfortable win and leaving everybody thinking they’d walk the division. Not so.
The Saints have been in freefall until this past weekend when they halted the slide with a decent win over Sandwell. But the Saxons have improved a lot since that 34-14 loss and they’ll be looking to go in for the kill on a Saints side that has lost twice to Shropshire and once to Lincolnshire in the last few games.
Peterborough Saxons to win by 2 scores
NL North West
Walney Terriers vs. Crewe Railroaders
Is this the wooden spoon game in the North West? It certainly is a chance for the Walney Terriers to get their first win of their competitive careers as they host a Crewe side that have faltered on defence this year.
Both of these two have taken some beatings this season but the Railroaders have managed to put some decent point totals on some of the bigger teams in the division, and for that reason we give the most experienced team the slight win.
Crewe Railroaders to win by 2 scores
Chester Romans vs. Staffordshire Surge
These two last met on opening day, with the Romans coming out victors in a 27-29 match that had us scratching our heads somewhat. Were the Romans rusty coming off the back of their semi-final run in 2013? Had the Surge improved that much? We’d seen Staffordshire in preseason and knew they’d got better as a team unit but that was a fine result judging on season’s past.
Well with more games played we know that Staffordshire have massively improved. They were unlucky against a resurgent Manchester last weekend, losing 28-27 after leading 7-21.
Chester meanwhile have lost a few players this year and are a little more streamlined than previous years. This has certainly seen a knock on effect in their results but they are still in the hunt for playoffs with a 5-2 record.
Chester Romans to win by 1 score
Merseyside Nighthawks vs. Manchester Titans
Can we have a replay of that epic game on the 22nd of June please?
That day these two put up 86 points in an even split, coming away with a tie after the Nighthawks led for much of the game.
The Titans are making a little bit of a name for themselves by coming back into games after letting opponents get away from them early and they’ll want to change that for sure.
However the Nighthawks will be a little bitter about Manchester taking away their 100% record this year and will no doubt want revenge.
Merseyside Nighthawks to win by 1 score
Edinburgh Wolves vs. Clyde Valley Blackhawks
Clash of the top teams in the conference here, as the #1 Blackhawks (7-0) visit the #2 Wolves (6-2). The Wolves have won 5-straight, with impressive victories over the past month, whereas the CVB results in their second meetings with opponents have been less emphatic than they were in the first round of matches they played. This one is bound to be a barnstormer, with the first meeting going down 29-14 to the West Coasters at the start of June. Expect a close one, with the Wolves looking to contain the CVB Offense better than they did in the first outing. Could go either way!
CVB by 1 score
West Coast Trojans vs. Dundee Hurricanes
The Trojans have conceded 26 points or more in four of their seven fixtures this season, with the Hurricanes racking up 32 in the first meeting between the teams. Despite that, the Dundonians have conceded 26+ in six of their eight games so far! This is going to be another shootout, but the Trojans should have enough to take the spoils as they try to build some momentum ahead of their crunch tie with CV Blackhawks and get the wheels back on their playoff train.
Trojans by 3 scores
NL South East
Ipswich Cardinals vs. Essex Spartans
Looking past the two awful records from these teams, this is actually quite an interesting fixture. The 2-5 Ipswich Cardinals host the 3-5 Essex Spartans and it is a chance for one of the teams to rise from the foot of the table.
The Ipswich Cardinals haven’t won a game since 2011, but this would be the best chance they have had in a while to break that unwanted losing streak, home field advantage could be key.
The Essex Spartans have managed to record two victories this season, however, one was against the Pumas who pulled out of the league after the week 1 69-0 pounding, their other win came against the London Hornets 36-8 a team that Ipswich lost to 36-13. It would be nice to see the Cardinals break their losing record, however, coming off two heavy losses to the Ouse Valley Eagles heads will be down in Ipswich and they just aren’t the competitive force they once were before league re-alignment.
The Spartans should be able to scrape the W, but this will go to who wants it more on the day.
The Essex Spartans to win by 2 scores
Kent Exiles vs. Ouse Valley Eagles
This is a fixture that will have a massive impact on who makes it to the post season. A loss now for either team could ruin any chance they had at claiming a playoff spot, where a win would all but guarantee a place as one of the “best runners up.” These two teams have played once already this season with the Kent Exiles coming out on top in a tense 14-13 game. However, since then the Ouse Valley Eagles offense have found some impressive form and scored 188 points in their last 3 games. If they can continue this form and keep putting up points against a strong Kent Exiles then it will be the Eagles who are soaring towards the post season.
The Ouse Valley Eagles to win by 1 score
Bury Saints vs. Watford Cheetahs
A win this weekend for Watford would guarantee them the division crown and a home draw in the quarter-finals of the playoffs. However, Bury will not be an easy test. The Saints are coming off a 33-30 win against the London Hornets. It was an impressive victory after they had lost to the Saints 28-6 three weeks earlier. A stout Bury defense will keep this game close, but Watford are a step to far for this young side.
The Watford Cheetahs to win by 2 scores
NL South West
Bournemouth Bobcats vs. Gloucester Centurions
This is the only game taking place this weekend in the South West Division, as the 3-4 Centurions travel to the 4-3 Bobcats after their heavy defeat last weekend at the Farnham Knights, 46-14. Gloucester have performed below expectations all season after an impressive 2013 campaign.
More was also expected from Bournemouth after they played extremely well against the Solent Thrashers earlier in the season, however, since then they have lost to both Bristol and Swindon. The Bobcats will have to win out if they want any chance at claiming a playoff spot, but even a 7-3 record may not be enough. Looking at their most recent common opponent, Gloucester beat Torbay 19-6, where as Bournemouth beat Torbay 22-6. There isn’t much separating either team and this game should go down to the wire, however, the Bobcats are the more physical team and we believe that they will grind out the win.
The Bournemouth Bobcats to win by 1 score