Following the Birmingham Lions taking their semi-final clash against the East Kilbride Pirates right down to the wire, many fans were hotly anticipating a postseason rematch between the second-place finishing Birmingham outfit, and the lone side to get the better of them during the regular season – the Manchester Titans. Though the Titans had put up a hefty victory in the regular-season meeting, the Lions were playing with their postseason standing already secured and so essentially had little to play for in their season finale.
However, earlier this week the Lions notified BAFA that they were opting out of contesting the Northern Trophy final, instead choosing to focus on their preparations for 2020 and another attempt at a National Championship.
Lions Head Coach Laurence Matthews shared with DblCoverage.com:
As a programme, we do not see the value in playing an additional game which has no bearing on the National Championship.
We want to give our players the maximum amount of time to recover before they embark on their next footballing stage, be that university or representative football, and our attention now shifts towards competing for a National Championship in 2020.”
With the Lions stepping away from the fixture, at first it looked as though fourth-place Northern finishers, the Highland Wildcats, would travel to take on the Titans – however, we’re hearing this is looking less and less likely as well. As such, I’ve reached out to BAFA Interim Operations Director, Clive Dobbin, for further information on how the Northern trophy title will now be resolved.
In the interim, the East Kilbride Pirates progress to #Britbowl33, taking on the London Blitz in a repeat of Britbowl XXXI’s epic clash between these two teams, the first of the London side’s current streak of National Championship titles.