Two tourneys this past weekend, both containing top contenders in their respective conferences… And it’s fair to say none of the top dogs emerged entirely unscathed from the weekend’s action!
The tail of the Tamworth tourney is surely the undefeated Birmingham Lions coming in following three resounding wins in their opening fixtures, and expectations were we’d see much of the same on Saturday.
However, it seems Birmingham do indeed bleed as they were ran oh-so-close in two of their three fixtures, edging out the winless Sandwell Steelers by a single point, before taking a narrow three point win over hosts, the Tamworth Phoenix.
It shows the great resilience of the young roster to hold on and take all three wins to keep their perfect streak alive, but also allows us to judge we might be looking at a far more competitive second half of the season in the Central conference than we were previously expecting!
Hosts, Tamworth, and former front-runners in the conference, the Black Country Vipers both had very mixed days – tying their fixture 13-13 meaning they both left the tourney with a win, a loss and a tie – meaning it’ll be increasingly tough for either team to catch up with the Lions at the top of the table, but also keeps them both looking very competitive when it comes to snagging a plate playoffs berth!
Meanwhile, a second straight winless tourney for Sandwell leaves the Steelers in a tough situation. They came incredibly close to the biggest upset of the season so far, but rounded out the day on a bum note when mounting injuries meant they were forced to call their final fixture of the day early due to having too few available players to carry on. Still, with a bye week before their next bout, we have the Steelers will be fighting fit ready for their visit to newbloods the Etone Jags in Week Eight.
- Tamworth Phoenix 22-25 Birmingham Lions
- Tamworth Phoenix 32-0 Sandwell Steelers
- Tamworth Phoenix 13-13 Black Country Vipers
- Birmingham Lions 19-18 Sandwell Steelers
- Birmingham Lions 20-0 Black Country Vipers
- Sandwell Steelers 6-15 Black Country Vipers
In the south, hot favourites for the day were hosts, the Cobham Cougars Blue. Undefeated and large unrivalled through their first two tourneys, with a home crowd at their backs expectations were the Cougars would be tough to beat.
And indeed, the 2016 Britbowl Finalists have kept their unbeaten streak alive… But barely!
Confident wins against the Bedfordshire Blackhawks and Farnham Knights were par the course for this talented roster of ballers, but their second bout of the season against the Solent Seahawks was the most hyped fixture of the day after the South Coast team ran them within a score back in Week Three – and boy did the game live up to expectations!
In a competitive conference, and with already two losses on the year so far, the Seahawks knew their shot at a postseason berth was likely on the line should they pick up a third scratch in the L column on Saturday – and as such both sides balled out to keep their postseason aspirations alive.
Tough D and one of their best offensive performances to date put the Seahawks in a great position to snatch a win – and indeed the Cougars required heroics such as the below video to keep their unbeaten streak alive and hold on to their spot atop the South conference!
Lest we forget the other attendees however. The Bedfordshire Blackhawks will have mixed feelings coming out of the weekend’s games: they went winless, but should actually feel pretty positive as it was easily their most competitive tournament to date, including their best offensive output of the year so far against the stalwart Solent D. Perhaps the most clear sign of improvement was in their fixture versus Farnham Knights to round out their day.
The second meeting between these two teams this year, the Blackhawks had been routed by the Knights a month earlier to the tune of a 48-6 hammering, whereas this time around only a mere four points separated the two sides!
Farnham will be frustrated with only a single win from a second straight tourney, but with half their season still ahead of them, don’t be surprised to see the Knights edging their way towards a potential postseason spot before the season is out.
- Cobham Cougars Blue 41-14 Farnham Knights
- Cobham Cougars Blue 26-26 Solent Seahawks
- Cobham Cougars Blue 26-8 Bedfordshire Blackhawks
- Farnham Knights 0-32 Solent Seahawks
- Farnham Knights 24-20 Bedfordshire Blackhawks
- Solent Seahawks 37-26 Bedfordshire Blackhawks