We’ve been reliably informed that on Sundays, some of the #BritballNation actually do something other than pay attention to our manic live coverage of each and every* Britball game?!
Little things like working, supporting, or even playing in the actual games themselves all rather inconveniently get in the way of keeping yourself up to speed with the results and ramifications from around the #Nation.
Never fear, DC is here! With a scoop of the important bits from the past weekend of Britball!
While there’s no news from Youth balling as they await the final tournaments, it was a HUGE weekend of Britball throughout Juniors and Seniors – so this scoop might end up being a bit more of a Sunday Sundae!
Kent Exiles continued their undefeated streak as they hosted the Birmingham Lions Juniors in an early kickoff on Sunday. The southern side have found ways to win all season long and after a fast score right out the the gates, they never relinquished the lead. Having fallen at the Quarter Finals stage last year against the South London Renegades, the Exiles Youth programme look on fine form as they head to Brtibowl.
Meeting them there will be a East Kilbride Pirates team that have surprised many this year with their performance. The Highland Wildcats are traditionally the Kings in the North as far as Juniors are concerned, and came into #Britball16 with back to back Britbowl victories. However, the Pirate’s excellent youth set up has really found form this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and it was this that really set the tone in their Semi-Finals win as they took a trip to Manchester on Sunday. The Manchester Titans were fielding the #2 offence in JuniorBall coming into the fixture, but were utterly shutdown by the Pirates. The Scotsmen head to Britbowl with a playoff shutout under their belts.
Clearly having a point to prove after losing their Northern Crown to the Pirates, the Highland Wildcats headed to Leeds with their pride on the line. The three-time National Champs’ game couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start as the Leeds Academy Assassins returned the opening score for a TD… However, that would represent the high point for the Assassins on Sunday. The Wildcats dominated the rest of the fixture as the Leeds offence which had averaged 44 ppg through their five game season found the endzone only once through the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Wildcats piled up their first fifty burger since June and will head to the Plate final with great momentum and a nose for silverware!
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the weekend came from the Nottingham Caesars. Having made playoffs partly thanks to the Farnham Knights’ withdrawal part way through the season, there were those that questioned whether the 3-3 Caesars really belonged in the postseason. Well, those questions were answered with style on Sunday as the Caesars headed to London to take on a Blitz side that only suffered its first loss of the year last weekend when the Exiles pipped them to the conference title. They kept the ‘Nation on tenterhooks waiting for a scoreline to be released, but their 12-0 victory was worth the wait!
This sets up a tasty looking plate final, as one side comes in with the confidence boost of a shut out, while the other will roll into Leeds with the momentum gained from a postseason fifty burger!
It’s Scotland vs England in both Junior Finals, and these games might well be more highly anticipated than the Seniors Britbowl itself!
U19 Britbowl Finals:
Kent Exiles V East Kilbride Pirates
27/08/16 – 12pm – Worcester
U19 National Plate Finals:
Nottingham Caesars V Highland Wildcats
28/08/16 – 12pm – Leeds
Ooh… Well that was a bit awkward.
This was supposed to be the year when the Men of the North finally exacted vengeance on the ‘Southern Jessies’ who have dominated Britball in recent seasons.
The London Blitz came into the postseason off the back of their worst regular season since… umm… bare with us… 2004! Yup, the last time Blitz lost more than two games in a season, I Phones did not exist, Arsenal had just completed an unbeaten Premier League season, and Pop Idol was still a thing. No, not X Factor. Pop Idol. Michelle McManus.
The Tamworth Phoenix were coming off a perfect season where only one game was even really competitive and much of the BritballNation was looking forward to the possibility of a non-London vs London final… Yeah, well, we all know how that turned out. The first half was at least competitive, but the London side turned on the afterburners in the second half and it became a rout.
Meanwhile, down south things were proceeding much as many had expected. With the London Warriors having put their cross-city rivals on a mercy clock the week before, they dominated the Merseyside Nighthawks – putting up a postseason fifty burger.
This means we have Blitz vs Warriors in the National Championship game for the sixth time in a row. Warriors lead the series 3-2, entering #Britball16 having won three on the trot. Typically these wins have been by the narrowest of margins – by 3, 2 and 1 points respectively. By this trend we should see these two giants of Britball fight to a stalemate on the 27th…
Though the 48-9 scoreline last time they met would certainly hint otherwise.
National Championship – Britbowl XXX:
London Warriors vs London Blitz
27/08/16 – 4pm – Worcester
The Kent Exiles took a LONG trip up north, only for it to end in utter disappointment for the southern side who simply didn’t seem able to put a drive together or take advantage of what opportunities they were given. However, with a clearly strong Junior set up and no Bury to worry about next year? We expect to see the Exiles back in the playoffs soon enough.
The Edinburgh Wolves dominated their conference and haven’t had to struggle in the postseason either. So often falling at the final hurdle, the Scottish side have finally clawed their way into premiership balling after two near-misses in #Britball14 and 15. With two out of five Prem North programmes coming from North of the wall next year, this clearly shows the strength of the Scottish game!
Bury Saints will have a sense of deja vu heading into the bank holiday weekend – it was only last year that they smashed their way undefeated out of the third tier and put together a dominant performance in the Southern Final. It’s rare programme that can go from Division Two to Premiership in two seasons. The Sandwell Steelers are an up-and-coming Midlands programme, but they were marched right over by the Saints.
Two teams, unbeaten in their regular seasons and relatively untested in playoffs will go head to head in Leeds on Sunday 28th – this could well be the best ball game of the weekend.
Division One National Championship:
Edinburgh Predators vs Bury Saints
28/08/16 – 4pm – Leeds
Division Two North
A lot of the North had already been more or less locked up, though there was still a fair amount of shuffling to do.
Leicester Falcons confirmed their perfect season and #1 spot in every conceivable ranking. Newcastle Vikings had already sealed their conference, but a steamrolling of Dundee meant they solidified their spot in the #2 seeding, while the Leeds Bobcats wrapped up the #3 seed with a surprisingly scrappy win over the Railroaders.
The Chester Romans’ comfy win over the young Walney Terriers gave them the best record of the second-placers, while the Aberdeen Roughnecks – who administered one of the upsets of the season with their defeat of the Vikings – turned over their head to head with the Glasgow Tigers and leapfrogged them. Shropshire Revs were already locked in at second in their conference and so took the sixth seed despite their 6-4 record, and finally Staffordshire Surge dispatched the Warhawks while conceding few enough points to knock the Halton Spartans out of the postseason.
Therefore, the Division Two North Quarter Finals will kick off next weekend with the following fixtures:
#1 Leicester Falcons vs #8 Staffordshire Surge
#2 Newcastle Vikings vs #7 Glasgow Tigers
#3 Leeds Bobcats vs #6 Shropshire Revolution
#4 Chester Romans vs #5 Aberdeen Roughnecks
Division Two South
This one could be a whole article on its own.
The gist was that at various points on Sunday pretty much every one of the teams capable of missing out on playoffs was in, or very close to, that position at some point on Sunday.
Oxford Saints romped their way to a perfect season and the #2 seed, while the Berkshire Renegades secured the final conference crown in the Nation with an easy win.
Then it got a little complicated.
London Hornets tied up the top seed with another strong win over Wembley Stallions, meaning the Stallions were leapfrogged by the Cambridgeshire Cats. The 7-3 Stallions were then playing a waiting game to see if their Points Against Per Game average was low enough to snag a berth.
In an eerily similar situation to our #GOTW desire, the Cornish Sharks headed up to Bristol Apache and took away a win – but with few enough points to not steal the head to head. This meant that the Stallions, as well as the still competing East Kent Mavericks and Bournemouth Bobcats were all under threat as potential 7-3 third place finishers. Bobcats went into half time with a narrow lead which would have seen the Stallions dropped from their berth, but the Mavericks came back in the second half, taking the lead and clinging on to it long enough to seal second place. The loss, and the number of points conceded, meant that despite their strong performances late in the season, the Bobcats would be the odd team out in the south.
This means next weekends Division Two South Quarter Finals will be:
#1 London Hornets vs #8 Wembley Stallions
#2 Oxford Saints vs #7 Cornish Sharks
#3 Berkshire Renegades vs #6 Cambridge Cats
#4 East Kent Mavericks vs #5 Bristol Apache
We got a good batch of #Burgers from Senior Ball this weekend as Oxford put in a #Back2BackBurger, London Warriors racked up a #PlayoffBurger the Vikings nomnomnomed their third burger of the year, and the Staffordshire Surge lost their #Burginity with a 59-16 win over Humber.
Keep an eye out for our Burger-based analysis of the season in coming weeks… as we look to find some way to fill the hole in both the schedule and our souls between the end of SeniorBall and start of Uniball.
*Yup. For this week at least.