So, here we are. England (sort of) vs Scotland. 2000 years of rivalry, kicked off by Emperor Hadrian and his questionable wall building policy in 122 AD, coming to a head in Leeds on Sunday. And with the #1 and #2 seeds facing off, we’ll see a mouth-watering contest between undoubtedly the two best teams outside the Prem in 2016.
The Wolves, travelling down from their beloved Auld Reekie, carry the weight of a country’s expectations on their padded shoulders, and have more than shown why they’ll be playing in the Premier North in 2017. They walked their division, winning all ten of their regular season games, averaging 32 points per game on offence, and giving up a stereotypically thrifty 5 points on their way to home field advantage throughout the post-season.
Don Edmonston’s team will be hoping it’s third time lucky. Making their third final appearance in a row after back-to-back losses to the Prem North surprise package Merseyside Nighthawks, they’re arguably in their best position yet to break that final barrier. Years of promising players making the jump from junior to senior, and senior player development means the Wolves are choc-full of talent at all positions.
The Saints, putting picturesque Bury St. Edmunds on the Britball map, have been ridiculed all year due to their proximity to RAF Lakenheath and its bountiful supply of experienced ballers from across the Atlantic. We’re sure the countless memes come from a place of sincere admiration however, as it’s impossible not to have taken note of the Saints’ dominant season.
Putting up an average of 38 points a game, and giving up only an average of 12 they kept up an unbeaten streak that stretches back over two seasons for 26 games. They were unfortunate to play themselves out of contention for the #1 seed in Week 13 when the Sussex Thunder completed a turnaround at the death, to tie the game 28-28.
In perhaps the perfect microcosm of the “special relationship” that occurs at the Saints, much of their fortune has come from the golden hands of former-GB Lions QB Fred Boyle, and WR Joe Hill, who hails from the fine state of Virginia. Anyone following DC’s updates, or Bury’s impressively-produced highlight packages, will have seen these two stars link up multiple times game after game. But make no mistake, their defence has chipped in big time too, and are capable of forcing turnovers almost on a whim.
Both teams will be rightfully beaming with pride at their seasons, and neither could be TOO upset if they come out on the wrong end of this fixture. Both teams will be playing in the top flight next year, and based on what we’ve seen so far, could genuinely challenge as title contenders in their first year. But on Sunday, silverware and life-long memories are on the line for all involved.
Two teams that love to score, and who don’t give up much of anything. Let’s see how our crack team of elite predicting machines see this panning out…
With just a lone vote for the team north of the wall, DC well and truly believes the Saints will take it, though many expressed their belief it’d be a close one.
Edinburgh Wolves 21-27 Bury Saints
Regardless of the result, for those fans that have grown disillusioned with a sixth Warriors-Blitz final in a row, this could turn out to be the more entertaining fixture of the weekend.