Only one week left to go for Div 2. Here’s how things are looking after Week 17’s action.
As a reminder, the Premier is the easiest tier to calculate as the equation is simple – top two go through in each division, no wildcards.
Tamworth Phoenix are a perfect 10-0 and will host the Blitz next weekend. Merseyside Nighthawks put up a fight but ultimately succumbed again to the Phoenix. They travel to the London Warriors.
In the relegation battle, Coventry Jets are cut off at the bottom.
London Olympians are confirmed as down.
FIRST ROUND FIXTURES:
These fixtures are now locked up for next weekend.
Tamworth Phoenix (10-0) v London Blitz (7-3)
London Warriors (10-0) v Merseyside Nighthawks (7-3)
Division 1 was tied up last week – we’ve updated it for the first round playoff results.
The unbeaTEN Edinburgh Wolves were slow out of the gates this weekend as strong winds meant both the Wolves and Caesars were forced to rely heavily on their ground games. The Wolves proved the more effective here and put away three scores while the Caesars would reach the Red Zone, only to chuck the ball right back to the Wolves – was the wind taking it’s toll on their passing game? Either way, confident win from the Wolves who will be eagerly eyeing their third straight trip to a Bowl game.
Sandwell shot out to an early lead over the visiting Titans and at first it looked like the one match up the predictors had though had the potential to be an upset was going to be a whitewash! However, Manchester came back strong in the second half and at one point had brought the scoreline down to only a four point separation… But as was the case through the latter part of the season Sandwell continued to find ways to pile on points and emerged 35-24 victors. Being half a game behind the Bury Saints during the regular season the Steelers will now need to travel to Suffolk next weekend to take on the Bury Saints.
The 9-0-1 Bury Saints strolled into the Semis on Sunday with a dominant win over the Yorkshire Rams. The Saints held a 27-0 lead at the half, and if anything looked to be repping backups though quarters three and four – finishing 36-0 winners. Playoff shutouts have become a far more rare thing in recent years, so the Saints’ defensive performance may be the bigger statement than the 36 unanswered points, as Bury have looked vulnerable defensively at points during the regular season. However, they’ll still want all the offensive firepower they can muster for the semi-final as they go up against Sandwell’s #1 ranked regular season defence (Division One).
The Kent Exiles similarly made short work of their opponents, storming to an early lead over the travelling Doncaster Mustangs, and at 32-0 up took the opportunity to rest starters. With the final scoreline at 39-8 we’ve certainly seen two dominant performance from our two southern contenders, but Kent now face a gruelling 900 mile round trip to take on the #1 seed Edinburgh Wolves. It might actually be cheaper for the Exiles players to take that journey by plane.
SEMI FINAL FIXTURES AS IT STANDS:
The first round went with seeding, so next week we will be enjoying the following:
#1 Edinburgh Wolves (10-0) v #4 Kent Exiles (8-2)
#2 Bury Saints (9-0-1) v #3 Sandwell Steelers (9-1)
Having withdrawn from competition we are assuming Clyde Valley Blackhawks and Peterborough Saxons will be the two sides demoted. However, BAFA have stated there may also be other relegations others at their discretion.
DIVISION 2 – NFC
NFC II North
Newcastle Vikings have now sealed the division even though their main rivals also won this week. Glasgow Tigers got the win they needed to ensure they’ll at least be one of the two best third place teams so are in. The 6-3 Aberdeen Roughnecks actually hold the trump card here. If they can beat Glasgow by 5 points or more they will take second place. They are ALMOST guaranteed a playoff spot, unless they lose to Glasgow conceding an awful lot of points in the process.
NFC II West
Leeds Bobcats have won the division by virtue of being 8-1 and holding the head-to-head over Chester. The 7-2 Chester Romans are confirmed in 2nd outright. Halton Spartans are 3rd on 6-4 but have shipped a lot of points. They now need help from either Humber or Glasgow to see the postseason. If Humber beats Staffs, or Staffs win but concede 29+ points? The Spartans steal the spot. Meanwhile Glasgow would need to defeat Aberdeen by… urr… one hundred and seventy six points (we think they’re pretty safe).
NFC II South
The 9-0 Leicester Falcons are division champs. Shropshire Revolution secured 2nd place as they hold the head-to-head over Staffordshire, who lost this week. Staffordshire Surge are third and need to beat Humber next week. If they do, there will be a two- or three-way tie on 6-4 between the third place teams so it’ll all come down to points conceded. For Staffordshire the magic number is 28 or less points conceded in their win.
FIRST ROUND FIXTURES AS IT STANDS:
Still some games yet to play so there’s still a lot of potential for movement in the seedings.
#1 Leicester Falcons (9-0) v #8 Halton Spartans (6-4, 25.6 papg)
#2 Newcastle Vikings (8-1, 5.1 papg) v #7 Aberdeen Roughnecks (6-3, 6.1 papg)
#3 Leeds Bobcats (8-1, 12.8 papg) v #6 Shropshire Revolution (6-4, 23.0 papg)
#4 Glasgow Tigers (7-2, 9.0 papg) v #5 Chester Romans (7-2, 17.6 papg)
In the hunt: Staffordshire Surge (5-4, 22.4 papg)
DIVISION 2 – SFC
SFC II West
Oxford Saints have already sealed the division, sitting at 9-0. Second place Bristol Apache (7-2) will not have their place confirmed until the final week of the regular season. They will take on the third place Cornish Sharks (6-3) on the final Sunday of the regular season. The Sharks MUST win if they want to see postseason balling, and a winning margin of seven or more points would see them steal the #2 spot in the conference. Apache can lose and still make a trip to playoffs if they concede 15 or less and therefore nudge out the Cambridgeshire Cats from a postseason berth.
SFC II South
Berkshire Renegades (8-1) took control of the division this week, beating the Mavericks. They’ll have wished they’d taken the victory by two more points though – the Mavs still hold the head-to-head over them. With their Week 18 opponents the young Hastings Conquerors? The Renegades shouldn’t have any problems sealing the Conference Crown next weekend.
Meanwhile, the East Kent Mavericks have now dropped to third as Bournemouth Bobcats currently hold the head-to-head over them. It’s largely academic though as these two face each other next week with the winner taking at least second. The loser however would be in a very precarious position – reliant on the outcome of the Apache/Sharks game as either team would lose out to the Cats if there’s a tie for the third place seeds between 7-3 teams. The best result for both programmes is an Apache win, or if Sharks win they’d need to do it while either doing it by less than a score and conceding a goodly number of points, or piling on a small mountain of points on Bristol to allow either Bobcats or EKM to snag a spot in the postseason. All in all, if both SFC II South want to guarantee playoffs, best thing they can do is tie. Bournemouth will take second and EKM would most likely nudge the Cats down a berth which may or may not take them out of the postseason.
SFC II East
The London Hornets roll on to 9-0 and have sealed the division. The currently second place Wembley Stallions are 7-2 and close the regular season against the Hornets. As the third place, 7-3 Cambridgeshire Cats won this week and hold the head-to-head over the Stallions, Wembley need to beat the undefeated to hold onto second.
FIRST ROUND FIXTURES AS IT STANDS:
Absolutely nothing is set in stone!
#1 London Hornets (9-0, 6.3 papg) v #8 Cambridgeshire Cats (7-3, 9.9 papg)
#2 Oxford Saints (9-0, 10.5 papg) v #7 East Kent Mavericks (7-2, 11.1 papg)
#3 Berkshire Renegades (8-1, 6.9 papg) v #6 Bournemouth Bobcats (7-2, 16.5 papg)
#4 Bristol Apache (7-2, 9.2 papg) v #5 Wembley Stallions (7-2, 12.6 papg)
In the hunt: Cornish Sharks (6-3, 11.4 papg)