Good Week / Bad Week | BUCS 18/19 Playoffs Round One

Right… Let’s be right up front about it: That might well have been the best weekend of postseason football we’ve ever seen from both BUCS and the Sapphire Series!

Upsets galore, ridiculously tight scorelines, and when all was said and done? We saw one streak extended, and numerous others come crashing to a close!

Good Week

Honourable Mentions
  • Two teams that impressed with their sizable scorelines at the weekend were the Coventry Jets and Southampton Stags! Both teams are newly promoted from Division Two during the offseason but have impressed in their first year in the middle tier – earning playoff football at all would’ve been a worthy achievement, but walloping more established middle tier teams only adds to it!
  • The playoffs is the first time each year we get to truly see an insight into the relative strength of the different conferences across the BUCS leagues – the top dog in one region might yet prove just a pup elsewhere in the country! Such appears to have been the case this past weekend as the NTU Renegades and Exeter Demons were two of the teams that upset the seedings to emerge victorious this week, both taking victories courtesy of strong second-half performances! Their wins speak to the relative strength of both the 1A Midlands and 1A South West in their respective regions, as each of these conferences went three for three on Sunday.
  • Another Conference that can be very proud of the teams repping them in the postseason is the 2A North, as not only did both the Leeds Gryphons and Liverpool Raptors win on Sunday, but they did so with shutouts!
  • And lastly, an honourable mention to the QMBL Vipers – who though they couldn’t come away with a win at the weekend, made a helluva game of it against a Pirates outfit that had taken them apart comfortably, twice, during the regular season.
Lions Stand Supreme with Sixth Straight Sapphire Series title!

This team is well on its way to becoming one of the most successful Britball programmes of all time!

Saturday the Birmingham Lions made it six straight Sapphire Series National Championships, and though the competition in the women’s game continues to rise – with all four of the teams attending the National Finals having put in impressive regular series campaigns – the Lions, too, keep upping their own game to stay ahead of the pack!

As seemed destined from the outset of this year’s Sapphire, the Lions would take on the London Warriors in the Championship final, and having come up short against the Warriors in the first meeting between the two this year the scene was set for the most hotly-contested final in years – and did not disappoint!

A closely-fought first half ensued, before the Lions finally pulled away in the second to seal the deal on a sixth Championship!

 

These Hurricanes Have the Heart to Go All The Way

In a weekend stacked with upsets, one clearly stood out above all others!

The Hertfordshire Hurricanes looked to be limping into the postseason off the back of one of their worst seasons in club history – making it to the playoffs, but with the club’s second-EVER losing record, and just one, one-point, win this side of the Christmas break.

Making matters worse, they were hitting the road for the first time in years to take on the team many were already pencilling in as National Champs a month early – the University of Nottingham.

Notts had put together an incredible undefeated first season in the top tier, and given the dominance of the Premiership North in recent seasons, the justifiable assumption was that the top dogs in the Prem North were the top dogs in Uniball – 97% of our Britball Nation Pick’Em poll had Notts walking this one.

Apparently, however, Herts didn’t get that memo.

The ‘Canes kept the northern champs within touching distance throughout the fixture, and with the clock running down on the closing moments of the game, drove from their own 2 yard line to punch in a score that brought them within one point, with a decision to make – kick for overtime, or gamble for the win…

Kudos on those cojones ‘Canes! The semi-finals await, and right now? The title’s looking fair game to any of the four remaining teams!

 

Bees Sting the Burners!

Another shocker from Sunday saw the #1 seeds in the Southern half of Division One come up short against a Bath Killer Bees outfit that just barely made it into the postseason by the fuzz on their antennae!

The reality is, but the for Southampton Stags pulling 17 points out of thin air in the closing 90 seconds of their fixture against the Cobras in Week Twelve, the Bees wouldn’t have even made the cut for the postseason.

As is, they grabbed on to the chance at a speedy return to top tier action after relegation during the offseason, and in a defensive duel, snuck a single-point win over #1 seeds!

It’s the second time this season the Bees have pulled off an upset against a previously undefeated outfit, and moves them just two wins away from buzzing their way back into the Premiership!

Falcons Continue to Fly – Squeak a win past Sunderland

The Falcons can probably stake a claim on being the most underrated team in the lower tier this year – if not, potentially, the entirety of the BUCS leagues.

They’ve quietly put together an incredibly resilient roster, that over the last two weeks have fought tooth and claw to continue extending their season – an overtime win to book their place in Division One next season, followed by a 1-point win over a visiting Spartans outfit that had hit a hot streak!

The masters of suspense, the win was DMU’s THIRD one-point win of the season and extends their win streak to six-straight!

Rumours that the Falcons are providing oxygen canisters on their sideline for stressed-out coaches have not yet been confirmed.

 

But which teams had the worst of it this past weekend?

 

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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