The best of the best have seen off the rest as all the top seeds from north and south emerged victorious last weekend.
Clan Threepeat clashes with the #QuestForSix and the mighty Lions once against stand in between the Saints and a shot at a National Championship… Who do we believe will be duking it out for the Neil Reynolds Trophy this year?
Stirling Clansmen v Hertfordshire Hurricanes
After romping to a perfect regular season, Stirling started their playoff run with a bang by defeating the Bath Killer Bees 59-21. The scoreline doesn’t quite tell the whole story though – Bath held the lead twice in the first quarter and were in the game until the second half kick off was returned for a TD by the Clan, making the gap a bit too large to broach.
Hertfordshire also had an interesting round one in the playoffs, being 14-0 up over Derby in the second quarter before a serious injury led to the game being abandoned. By BUCS regulations the ‘Canes advanced. However by most accounts Hertfordshire were dominating the game anyway and could have saved some of their best football for the postseason.
Stirling of course retain their usual distance-related home field advantage – it’s a long old way up from Hatfield. Saying that, Bath have proven that it is possible to travel and still score points on the Clan and Hertfordshire will certainly need to do a lot of that if they are to outrun Stirling’s offense on the scoreboard.
The Hurricanes will provide a stiff test of Stirling’s mettle but we think a Clan threepeat might be a little bit more likely to happen than the “Quest for Six”.
Stirling by two scores
Birmingham Lions v Durham Saints
Birmingham secured another playoff day in the nation’s second largest city by beating old MAC enemies Loughborough 42-22. The fact that Birmingham put up 40+ will not surprise many, but 22 conceded against the North’s 4th placed team might have raised a couple of eyebrows.
Only losing to Stirling in the regular season, Durham hosted Kingston and dispatched their foes with relative ease by a score of 32-12. Their mix of imports and home-grown talent is a potent one and they will travel to Birmingham full of confidence. Durham v2.0 have impressed the last couple of seasons, but might feel that they need to go all the way to a bowl game to prove themselves as being on the same level as Stirling and Birmingham.
The Lions have been in this position so many times before and know how to handle the weight of expectation. Their last two bowl games have not gone their way, but we see them overcoming this hurdle to have another crack at it.
Birmingham by one score
Who do you think will be competing for the shiniest of BUCSball silverware?