We missed covering this when announced last week due to being out of the country, but the BAFA Opal Series has undergone a huge rebrand ahead of their 2018 Campaign getting underway, and last week made a number of big announcements – including sharing information about the teams taking part in this year’s competition, as well as the format and structure for the series this Autumn.
The 2018 iteration of the series will see fifteen teams compete in two regional conferences – Opal Series North and Opal Series South.
Opal Series North
Familiar faces here, as we see all seven 2017 teams return to the Opal North, along with the addition of the Manchester Titans, who return to the Opal Series after a one year break, having only fielded a Sapphire Series team in 2017.
- Chorley Buccaneers
- East Kilbride Pirates
- Manchester Titans
- Sheffield Giants
- Sheffield Hallam Warriors
- Sheffield Hallam Rangers
- University of Nottingham Gold
- University of Nottingham Green
Opal Series South
In the south there are a number of changes, with notable absentees being the London Warriors, Wembley Stallions and Iceni Spears, as well as the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts only fielding a single team this year, compared to two last season. However, new additions, the Black Widows, are a conglomeration team made up of flag ballers who were left without a team to compete with in this year’s Opal Series, including former Sandwell Steelers, Pink Panthers, Chichester Arrows and Teesside Steelers players, amongst others. Finally, the Staffordshire Saxons, newly formed ahead of 2018’s Sapphire Series, round out the Southern conference at seven teams.
- Black Widows
- Coventry Cougars
- Coventry Cougars Juniors
- Portsmouth Dreadnoughts
- Hyde Park Renegades
- Staffordshire Saxons
- Warwick Wolverines
Schedule and Structure
Team packs were sent out to teams earlier this week, breaking down the series as follows:
Game Day One: 29 September 2018
Northern host: Sheffield Giants
Southern host: Coventry Cougars
Game Day Two: 20 October 2018
Northern host: Sheffield Hallam Warriors
Southern host: Hyde Park Renegades
Game Day Three: 3 November 2018
Dual, regional tournaments:
Northern host A: Chorley Buccaneers host Sheffield Giants and Uni of Notts Gold & Green
Northern host B: Manchester Titans host East Kilbride Pirates and Sheffield Hallam Warriors & Rangers
Southern host A: Staffordshire Saxons host Warwick Wolverines and Coventry Cougars – Seniors & Juniors
Southern host B: Portsmouth Dreadnoughts host Hyde Park Renegades and Black Widows
Game Day Four: 17 November 2018
Dual, regional tournaments in the North only:
Northern host A: University of Nottingham Gold & Green host Sheffield Hallam Warriors and Rangers
Northern host B: East Kilbride Pirates host Sheffield Giants, Manchester Titans and Chorley Buccaneers
Southern host: Warwick Wolverines.
National Finals: 24 November 2018
Venue to be confirmed.
Top four teams from each conference will progress to Championship Bracket to determine top eight teams in the UK.
The teams finishing fifth and sixth in each conference will progress to a plate bracket, placing teams ninth to twelth in the UK.
Teams finishing seventh or lower in each conference are eliminated and will not progress to final’s day.
If you want to know more about the 2018 Opal Series, make sure you check out their Facebook page.