This week the Hertfordshire Cheetahs take on the Solent Thrashers in what looks to be a huge contest as the two top teams in the SFC 1 Central meet for the first time this season.
Hertfordshire to extend winning run to five?
The Cheetahs come into this matchup on the back of a four-game winning streak that has seen two clinical, high-scoring performances against the Renegades and Saints and two closer fixtures against the Thunder and Dreadnoughts where the winning margin was just one score.
The 2018 Division Two South Final winners will look to take one step closer to the conference title this weekend, which the Thrashers won last year.
“Morale is very high,” said Head Coach Craig Barnes, “We couldn’t have asked for a better start. For a voyage into the unknown as far as most of the players are concerned, it has been an exciting ride so far, yet we are under no illusions about the scale of the task approaching us.”
The Cheetahs are blessed with several young and exciting talents with Adam Adeniji getting a lot of attention so far. Hafeez Bisiriyu is a young runner who has impressed with his pace and strength.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hertfordshire looks to Jordan Legge who is a constant nightmare for offences as well as defensive tackle Andy Dickins making plays in the trenches.
Herts have a big task ahead of them as they attempt to fight off the current conference champions, but they appear ready for the challenge.
“We will go 100 mph, as we always do,” said Barnes, “We will challenge Solent’s fundamentals, we have prepared diligently, and I expect Solent to be well prepared.”
“Coach Rains has a bit more space in the diary after last week’s events, they do have some good players who will cause us problems, I look forward to a great advert for our game. Bring on Sunday!”
Solent to take the top spot?
The Thrashers will be keen to make a statement against their newly promoted rivals as they push to take the top spot in the conference.
Last season saw the Thrashers take the conference crown and make their way to the division one semi-finals where they were pipped by the Kent Exiles. This season has already seen them take down the Dreadnoughts and Thunder with only the Cheetahs just ahead.
“The season has started well in terms of results, but we have suffered some significant losses through injuries,” said Head Coach Steve Rains, “We have a deep squad and people are stepping up – I’m proud of the achievements so far but SFC 1 means every game is a tough one.”
Coach Rains put an emphasis on teamwork as the key motive to ensuring Solent bring home the win this Sunday.
“We never talk about individuals at the Thrashers, it’s a team game, for anyone to achieve we all have to play our part. So, I look to everyone in Black and Gold to be that player.”
Both teams have put in sweeping and narrow victories, showing a lot of similarities between the two programmes as they prepare to go head-to-head, with this fixture looking like the biggest yet.
“Big games are the ones that we all do this for,” Rains said, “I’m sure the Cheetahs feel the same way. We will have to be at our best without any doubt – anything less will not be enough for sure.”
These fixtures look harder to call every week, both teams have high-scoring offences and stalwart defences and it’s as good as anyone’s guess which way this will go. We could see a shootout which both teams have produced so far this season or a gritty 10-7 type affair.
If both teams keep on top the rematch is both teams’ final game of the season that could well decide the conference!
This week though I’m going with the new boys to cause an upset, Hertfordshire to win.