Week Twelve saw the regular Uniball season come to a close, while in Sapphire things got feisty as Northern and Southern Conferences clashed!
With so much at stake, there were a lot of teams that had an awfully good week so we can’t promise to fit everyone we’d like to into this article!
As such, who do we think had the best of it as the 2017/18 regular season came to a close?
- All the playoff teams deserve a shout out. Some knew their fate weeks ago, but for many it came right down to the wire – overturning the odds to perhaps book their place in the postseason at the final hurdle. There’s a couple that need a special mention:
- The Northumbria Mustangs overcame significant losses during the preseason to really turn their year around. The doubleheader win over Glasgow jumped them from being at risk of relegation, to playoff contention, and the 10-0 shutout of Napier at the weekend sealed the deal!
- The UCLan Rams started their year with two tough defeats, including a BIG loss to Hallam… Before running six straight on their way to the 1A Yorkshire Crown!
- The Reading Knights opened the year with two one-sided losses, and their woes were compounded when tragedy struck their roster ahead of the Christmas break. Still, they clearly came closer together as a team, and all the stronger for it, with four wins from their remaining five fixtures seeing them through to postseason action.
- And for the first time, in a long time, the Huddersfield Hawks are in the Playoffs! A convincing win over MMU gives them great momentum as they extend their season.
- We should give a big shout out to all the promoted teams this season. Sure, not all of them had a perfect season, but in many a year we see teams that make the jump up a tier being un-graciously tossed right back down the following season… This year however we’ve seen five of the eight promoted teams make playoffs, including one crowned a Conference Champions, two narrowly miss out on the last week of the season, and only the one promotee drop back down a tier. Kudos to Leeds Carnegie, Portsmouth Destroyers, Edinburgh Napier Knights, Plymouth Blitz and the Brunel Burners all seeing playoffs in their first year in the tier above.
- Similarly, credit where it’s due to those programmes who went undefeated in their 2017/18 campaign. The Durham Saints, Nottingham, Kent Falcons, Newcastle Raiders, Manchester Tyrants, Coventry Jets, Southampton Stags and Brighton Panthers were the only teams to emerge from this season unscathed
And finally, we wanted to salute the fact that within the hour, playoff banter was back in the Twittersphere!
Lions roar all across the Nation
The Birmingham Lions balled out this weekend!
Both in Uniball and Sapphire 18 the Birmingham-based outfit appeared unstoppable as the Birmingham University side overcame a hefty deficit at the end of the third quarter, to post up 27 unanswered points on their way to claiming the Prem South Title.
Meanwhile in Sapphire, the Women’s team flexed their muscles, a comfortable win over the Pirates preceded a statement performance against a Leeds Carnegie side that had been dominating in the North.
#Redemption rolls onwards as Saints go undefeated
We think it’s no coincidence that two of their most convincing wins of the season have come against the Clansmen… this is a Saints side with a point to prove.
Burgers are Back Baby!
The Worcester Royals set the club offensive record with a 70-0 win over Lincoln, Gloucestershire Gladiators secured postseason action with a 50-0 win over Bath Spa, while a number of teams lit up the scoreboard in Sapphire – the Birmingham Lions putting up burgers in both their wins, while the London Warriors stamped 88 points on the Pirates, and the Sandwell Steelers women put on a show in an impression 51 points of offence against the Cardiff Valkyries.
But while champions were crowned, which teams head straight to the offseason? Do not pass go, do not collect £200…