Good Week / Bad Week – BAFA NL 2018 Week One

Britball is back baby!

And what a first weekend of games to kick the season off!

There were shock performances, blow out victories, and nailbiters galore as the National Leagues season got underway in style with seventeen fixtures across the opening weekend…

But which teams had the best of starts to their season?

Honourable Mentions
  • The Somerset Wyverns might not have started their league life with the win they would have wanted, but they put in a very respectable debut performance against the South Wales Warriors, almost tying the game up in the fourth. On the flip side, the slip-and-slide down the Britball ladder may finally be over the Warriors, who ended a 14 game skid with their win on Sunday.
  • The Birmingham Bulls got their Division Two stint off to a perfect start with a big win over the Knottingley Raiders – the 43 points and defensive shut-out a great confidence boost to start the season before a side we’re sure is gunning for their time in the bottom tier to be as brief as possible.

Good Week

Looks like meat’s back on the menu boys!

Image result for meat's back on the menu

After a Uniball season that saw less than a dozen #50Burger performances across the entire 17/18 instalment, lovers of big scorelines will not have been disappointed by a Week One’s tasty THREE burgers from only seventeen fixtures!

The London Warriors kicked off their campaign to return to the top of the British game in style with a 55-0 win over the Aztecs, while the East Essex Sabres put in a team-record performance with a 60-6 win over the Pumas.

Finally, what’s the old adage? A change is as good as a rest? Well, a rebrand and an offseason seem to have combined to do wonders for the erstwhile Walney Terriers as they kicked off life as the Furness Phantoms in style, with a 50-12 win over Morecambe Bay!

By an inch or a mile

Image result for inch or a mileFor every fan of shootouts and blowouts, the other, just-as-beautiful, side of this sport are those match ups that come down to the smallest of margins – a goal-line stand? A closing moments field goal? A recovered onside kick, capitalised one for a score?

Week One did not disappoint!

We mentioned South Wales holding off the Wyverns to take a 2pt win earlier, but there were a wealth of nailbiters across the league this week:

In the South East. the Ipswich Cardinals came from behind in the waning minutes to steal a 1-point win over the Spartans, while north of the wall the Clyde Valley Blackhawks resisted a late rally from the Dumfries Hunters to cling on to a 13-12 win.

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Finally, in Division One the most-contested conference in the leagues continued where it left off last year, with a down-to-the-wire clash between the Cambridgeshire Cats and Kent Exiles. With less than 3 minutes on the clock and down by 9pts, the Cats kicked a field goal to bring them within a score. They gamble with an onside kick, and recover it – capitalising on the momentum shift to drive down the field, QB Mark Rivett connecting with Josh Gilreath for the game-tying score, before Scott Spearink split the uprights to give Cats an opening day win in incredible fashion!

Promotees pulling their weight

Promotion can be a fickle friend. It’s everything you strive for as a team, but sometimes making the leap from one tier to another can be as much of a curse, as a boon, as perhaps offseason departures leave a club feeling less than prepared for a step up in the quality of competition they’ll be facing.

However, that’s not proven the case for most of the promoted clubs in action in Week One, as three or the four teams promoted teams in action this weekend put in good showings in their first foray into the middle tier.

The Wembley Stallions may have come up short against the Colchester Gladiators, but it was a helluva back and forth fixture that’ll give both teams confidence in their offences’ capabilities this year.

Meanwhile, the Berkshire Renegades will have turned heads with a very impressive 26-9 win over the Sussex Thunder! The Thunder went undefeated in their 2017 regular season, but came a cropper against a Renegades side that have ridden a twelve-game unbeaten streak right through the Div 2 South Finals last season and appear ready to really shake things up in the SFC 1 Central!

Finally, the Shropshire Revolution did what was needed to begin life in the middle tier with a victory, wideout Mark Phillips making a grab in the corner of the end zone for what would turn out to be the only score of the day in a hard-fought clash against the Nottingham Caesars.

 


 

But which outfits might be wishing they’d had another week or two to prepare for the season getting underway?

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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