Week Eleven of the BUCS season was certainly a hectic one, as we both a wealth of BUCS action, alongside the Sapphire Series heading to its fifth weekend – the final for three of its four conferences!
We saw teams across both formats teams secure postseason action – but yet more will need to wait at least another week to know their fate as results across the Nation ensured a lot of postseason berths won’t be locked up until the very final-final whistle has blown in each conference! Exciting times!
- The Wembley Stallions completed a perfect campaign with their wins over the Exiles and Saints on Saturday. They’ve stampeded to promotion and the playoffs with an utterly dominant campaign where they conceded just two scores across seven fixtures! Credit also to the Kent Exiles who secured some postseason action with their first win of the year over the Saints, avenging two losses to Oxford earlier in the season.
- Meanwhile, in the Northern half of Sapphire Division Two, the Cheshire Bears continue to impress – racking up a two-win tourney for the second time in a row and moving ahead of the pack. They need just one more win to lock up their first Conference title!
- The HWU Wolverines wrapped up their season on Sunday with a nailbiting win over the Centurions that leaves the Wolverines at 4-2 – currently #2 in the Borders and with a very good shot at postseason action so long as the Sunderland Spartans don’t suddenly find a way to play and win their missing fixtures.
- We’re fairly certain they’ll still be overall disappointed with their season, but the Kingston Cougars are contributing to keeping the 1A South interesting right into the final week of the season – their 12-6 win over Reading keeps the Cougars alive in Division One… Though odds are they’ll need to beat the Burners this Sunday for that to remain the case.
- Sharing the Cougars’ conference, the Surrey Stingers also helped the 1A South stay mysterious right into the final week of fixtures, as their win over the Panthers allowed them to leapfrog Brighton into second place. However, with their missing second-leg fixture vs Brighton looking like it’ll be voided, the Stingers will need the Reading Knights to beat Brighton at the weekend… probably while also conceding a bunch of points. It’ll get complicated.
- And our final pick for an honourable mention from the plethora of teams that found success this week? The Exeter Demons got the job done against the Cardiff Cobras to move themselves into the #2 position in the 1A South West, hot on the tail of the Stags. Notably, however, they didn’t manage to swipe the head-to-head from the Cobras (by one point!) so their postseason status is not yet secured.
Immortals rise from the dead!
We’ve been waiting all season long for the Immortals to show some signs of life, having started their campaign with some hefty losses. However, coming into Week Eleven with their status as a middle tier programme at risk it looks like Immortals finally found the spark they’ve been missing – romping to a 40-0 victory over wooden spoon rivals, the Chargers.
The Immortals’ D1 credentials still aren’t entirely safe, as the two sides will square off once again this weekend… but coming into this fixture with a 40-point buffer has got to be one helluva confidence boost!
Jolly Roger Flies High Over the Falcons
The UEA Pirates finally got that monkey off their back, as after seven-straight defeats to longtime rivals, the Kent Falcons, the Norwich-based outfit edged a narrow victory with a single score in the closing minutes of their oh-so-tense top of the table clash!
The victory not only means the Pirates appear to have broken the voodoo hold the Falcons had over them, but also keeps the 1A South East title race interesting going into the final week!
Though the Pirates weren’t able to steal the head-to-head from the Falcons, they still have a final fixture left on their schedule against the Vipers – a victory here would secure the Pirates the South East crown!
Worcester are truly royal now – Kings of the 2A South West!
In an incredibly tense battle with the Bristol Barracuda, that saw the two teams take the game to a nail-biting overtime conclusion, the Worcester Royals eventually emerged supreme atop the 2A South West courtesy of a 20-14 victory!
The win is the Royals’ first-ever Conference title, best as I can tell, second-ever winning season! It secures the team promotion back to the middle tier (though whether to the Midlands or South West remains to be seen) and just shows how far this programme has come over the past decade since joining the league. Should the Royals emerge victorious in Week Twelve against the Panthers, it’ll seal the deal on their first-ever undefeated campaign to boot!
If you’d asked those who followed the University game 7/8 years ago whether Worcester would ever win a game, they might well have simply shrugged.
Undefeated conference champions? Kudos Royals. Nice work.
Lions do their best Tigger impression – bouncing back!
Going into the midseason break and the defending Prem South champs were on a three-game skid. A narrow xpLosION loss to the Titans appeared to have left the Lions shaken, and heavy losses against Herts and UWE followed and suddenly the question wasn’t whether the Lions would defend their title… but possibly whether they’d even survive the season as a Premiership outfit at all!
However, Birmingham clearly put their lengthy midseason break to good use, rallying the roster and bouncing back in 2019 with two wins that have put them back into contention in the south! Sure, they can’t hope to hold onto their title, but at they are still capable of securing a home berth heading into the postseason if they can keep their momentum going!