The newest iteration of the Sapphire Series got underway this weekend as three of the four conferences kicked off their campaigns on Saturday!
In Division One North, the Manchester Titans and East Kilbride Pirates both seemed to be struggling with the lightning-fast transition from Flag Football’s Opal Series to Full Contact Sapphire, as each team suffered heavy losses to the likes of the Edinburgh Wolves and a rampaging Leeds Carnegie Chargers side that kicked off their season with two huge shutout victories. Not participating in this opening tournament, the Derby Braves know which teams they need to be looking out for later this month!
Meanwhile, in Division One South we saw the London Warriors emerge as early frontrunners with sizeable wins over both the Hertfordshire Tornadoes, as well as the Sandwell Steelers. It wasn’t all bad news for Sandwell however, stepping up from playing in Division Two last year they earned their first top-tier win with a victory over the similarly-promoted Portsmouth Dreadnoughts. Reigning Champions, Birmingham, started the Series off with a bye week – they’ll enter the fray when 1-1 Hertfordshire host the Southern conference on 15 December.
Finally, in Division Two we only saw one of the two conferences in action, D2 North not getting underway until mid-December.
With some of the outfits taking their first foray into seven-a-side football it was the Wembley Stallions who came out of the blocks fastest, taking two comfortable wins over first the Cardiff Valkyries, and then a perhaps even more convincing win over an Oxford Saints side that had looked impressive in its opener against the Kent Exiles.
The closest game of the day saw the Exiles and Valkyries square off in their final fixtures of the day, the Exiles eventually edging ahead for an 18-25 win.
The teams will all take a weekend away, before the second set of fixtures on 15 December where we’ll see all four conferences in action, the Birmingham Lions kicking off both their title defence in Division One South, but also debuting their B team in Division Two North!
This weekend’s scores:
East Kilbride Pirates 12-61 Edinburgh Wolves (FT)
Leeds Chargers 87-0 Manchester Titans (FT)
Edinburgh Wolves 36-0 Manchester Titans (FT)
East Kilbride Pirates 0-57 Leeds Chargers (FT)
Hertfordshire Tornadoes 0-39 London Warriors (FT)
Sandwell Steelers 23-6 Portsmouth Dreadnoughts (FT)
London Warriors 38-0 Sandwell Steelers (FT)
Hertfordshire Tornadoes 39-0 Portsmouth Dreadnoughts (FT)
Oxford Saints 32-0 Kent Exiles (FT)
Cardiff Valkyries 6-30 Wembley Stallions (FT)
Oxford Saints 0-34 Wembley Stallions (FT)
Cardiff Valkyries 18-25 Kent Exiles (FT)
Full standings and results can be found in our Sapphire Series pages: