Opal Series 2017 wrapped up over the weekend, with all fifteen teams headed to Sheffield for the final showdown.
As reported at the time, the Coventry Cougars maintained their dominant form throughout the weekend, three straight wins through the Gold brackets to hoist their second straight Opal Series title, and maintain their record of only missing out on hoisting the trophy a single time since the series’ inception!
While the story of the day was clearly the Cougars’ dominance, in general the southern conference as a whole put in a very strong showing.
The Hyde Park Renegades made it to the National Final in their first ever Opal Series, and the London Warriors proved a force to be reckoned with once more, in their first year back in the series following lifting the trophy in 2015.
The Sheffield Giants put in a very respectable showing repping the northern conference, coming closer than any to containing the Cougars in a two score loss in the semi-finals, and rounding out the day in a nail-biting match up against London, where they eventually fell, 19-18.
Sadly for the Coventry Cougars Youth it was a brief day of competitive balling, as injuries forced the young squad to withdraw following their opening fixture, ensuring the Chorley Buccaneers complete their impressive underdog season with a seventh place national ranking.
Gold Tournament Results:
- Coventry Cougars 67-6 Hallam Warriors
- Cougars Youth 6-40 Sheffield Giants
- Hyde Park Renegades 30-6 Chorley Buccs
- London Warriors 34-6 EK Pirates
Fifth place play off, Round One:
- Coventry Youth 0-1 Hallam Warriors
- EK Pirates 33-6 Chorley Buccs
- Coventry Cougars 27-13 Sheffield Giants
- Hyde Park Renegades 14-6 London Warriors
Seventh Place Playoff:
- Coventry Youth 0-1 Chorley Buccs
Fifth Place Playoff:
- Hallam Warriors 6-37 EK Pirates
Third Place Playoff:
- London Warriors 19-18 Sheffield Giants
- Coventry Cougars 38-6 Hyde Park Renegades
Meanwhile, in the round robin Silver Tournament, we once again saw a strong showing from the southern sides.
The Wembley Stallions squad, who’d been gaining momentum through the latter part of the regular series, went undefeated through their three fixtures to earn the top spot coming out of the Silver bracket.
The Portsmouth Dreadnoughts Grey followed just behind them, while first year teams Nottingham Gold and the expansion Hallam Rangers took the eleventh and twelfth National Ranking spots respectively.
Silver Tournament Results:
- Notts Gold 8-20 Wembley Stallions
- Grey Dreadnoughts 47-12 Hallam Rangers
- Notts Gold 44-12 Hallam Rangers
- Grey Dreadnoughts 14-32 Wembley Stallions
- Notts Gold 24-28 Grey Dreadnoughts
- Hallam Rangers 13-46 Wembley Stallions
Lastly, in the Bronze Tournament it was a number of hard-fought match ups with close scorelines that decided the bottom end of the table, the Iceni Spears picking up their first win of the year with a narrow 7-0 victory over the new Nottingham Green side, before themselves falling short in a oh-so-close content against the Dreadnoughts Blue squad, 0-7.
Bronze Tournament Results:
- Blue Dreadnoughts 20-6 Notts Green
- Notts Green 0-7 Iceni Spears
- Iceni Spears 0-7 Blue Dreadnoughts
Final National Rankings:
- Coventry Cougars
- Hyde Park Renegades
- London Warriors
- Sheffield Giants
- East Kilbride Pirates
- Hallam Warriors
- Chorley Buccaneers
- Cobham Cougars Youth
- Wembley Stallions
- Dreadnoughts Grey
- Nottingham Gold
- Hallam Rangers
- Dreadnoughts Blue
- Iceni Spears
- Nottingham Green
Congratulations to all involved in a highly successful series!
Remember, the deadline for teams to confirm their participation in the 2018 Sapphire series is December 9th (this weekend!), with hopes that more clubs than ever will be participating in full contact women’s Britball, including more and more teams at the seven-a-side level!
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