For all the blowouts and one-sided games, there are a handful of clashes each year that go down in the annals as instant Britball classics. Here, we recognise three games that had it all in 2016.
The nominees are: Derby Braves 40 – 38 Stirling Clansmen (BUCS), Birmingham Bulls 34 – 37 Nottingham Caesars (Adult), Leeds Carnegie 27 – 58 Hertfordshire Tornadoes (Sapphire), Birmingham Lions 30-35 Hertfordshire Hurricanes (BUCS)
Derby Braves 40 – 38 Stirling Clansmen (BUCS)
The 2016/17 BUCS season opened with an absolute humdinger between the highly-fancied Stirling Clansmen, attendees of three straight National Championship games, and the upstart Derby Braves.
Boosted by an influx of overseas talent, the Braves went toe-to-toe with the 15/16 National Championship finalists, biting back every time the Clansmen went ahead. The game wasn’t one for the defensive purists, but live streamed and live tweeted it sure turned a lot of heads and kick started the Braves hype train for the 16/17 season.
Durham may sit undefeated at the top of the pile for now, but each team has looked to have the explosive capacity that it could well be anyone’s game in the Prem North yet this season!
Leeds Carnegie 27 – 58 Hertfordshire Tornadoes (Sapphire Series)
Image shared via Leeds Chargers Facebook page
Another classic worthy of a mention was Hertfordshire Tornadoes’ 58-27 comeback win over Leeds Carnegie in the 2016 Sapphire Series – the 7 vs 7 full contact format of the Women’s game.
In a very hotly contested Sapphire Series, the Tornadoes were heavily depleted with only 11 fit players and fell to a 20-14 half time deficit.
Whatever was said by Offensive Coordinator Luke Plastow in the half time team talk seemed to work miracles however, as Herts’ offence ran in 44 unanswered points in 20 minutes, ending the game playing iron(wo)man football to close out the W – a win that would prove crucial in the end of year standings!
Birmingham Bulls 34 – 37 Nottingham Caesars (Adult)
A game that will live long in the memory of those who experienced it. Two of the league’s most long-tenured programmes clashed in the ultra-competitive MFC 1 and produced one of the most entertaining games in recent memory, with multiple lead changes and scores in all three phases of the game.
After the Bulls took an early two-score lead, the Caesars fought back to lead 24-13 early in the third quarter thanks to a brace of scores from receiver Deivydas Merkelis and a pick-six from Rob Hardwick. Needing a momentum shift, the Bulls introduced backup quarterback Alex Wake, but it was the running of Marc Bonazebi – who finished the day with 220 yards – that dragged them back into the game. Even when Hardwick returned a kick-off for his second score of the day to retake a late lead for Notts, Bonazebi powered in his third to make it 34-31 late in the fourth.
With the Caesars needing a score to get anything from the game, Bulls DB Sam Scott picked off Dan Johnson and took the ball all the way back to deep inside the Nottingham red zone. With seconds remaining and the Bulls pretty much able to kneel out the clock, the Bulls inexplicably attempted a passing play, only to be picked off by that man Hardwick, for a scarcely believable walk-off pick-six to seal a stunning win. We’re exhausted just writing about it!
Birmingham Lions 30-35 Hertfordshire Hurricanes (BUCS)
We weren’t expecting all that much from this fixture coming into it – both offences were looking off-form , and for two Uniball teams previously known for their passing games, both had struggled to find rhythm at this point in the season.
But did you SEE some of the grabs made in this one?!
The lead went back and forth, back and forth, and you’ll likely see multiple catches from this game competing in our Catch of the Year video award category!
A true contest of top-flight university programmes bringing their A Game, and if both programmes can find their way to the Britbowl final, a match up such as this would be a worth National Championship show piece!