It’s finally here!
It’s taken us a lot longer than we’d have liked to get here, but we finally have Under 19 Coverage from #TeamDC courtesy of three young ballers who’ve stepped up to the plate to provide weekly previews and reviews of the Under 19 game.
Eager for their section of the sport to get the coverage it deserves, Alex Mclachlan, Tom Henley and Kiren Brown, all young Britballers currently playing for the Nottingham Caesars Under 19s, reached out to DC through their Head Coach and Onside Productions commentator, George Lees, to contribute to coverage of the game they love.
You, young sirs, are everything we need more of in this community!
So let’s take a look at what they think about the fixtures coming up this weekend:
Chorley Buccaneers v East Kilbride Pirates
Some things are certain in U19 football; league restructures, mid-season withdrawals and a strong EKP side. The Pirates’ young ballers got off to a promising start to the 2017 campaign, beating familiar foes, the Highland Wildcats, 26-12. Coach Matthew Davies still demands improvements, wanting his players to focus on execution, stating “we need to be sharper”. Coach Davies hopes the Defensive Line will “perform well and minimise the opportunities we give to Chorley”.
Chorley are hoping to improve what has been somewhat of a slow start to the regular season, with a 6-6 tie versus Merseyside as well as the Leeds fixture being postponed. Coach Ian Nicolson is demanding his team “tighten up” and focus on “finishing off plays”. He believes his team have played well together, but have let themselves down by “not converting on critical downs” and a need for smarter play calling by himself. The Buccaneers certainly have the potential to beat the Pirates, but will need to ensure that they limit mistakes against one of junior football’s premier teams.
Expect much swashbuckling between the two northern outfits (Eds: Love it, they’re in on the pun game right out of the gates!). The Pirates will hope stud players such as Sam Montgomerie and Christian Rubuga will be able to help East Kilbride go 3-0 and continue on their pursuit of a playoff berth. However, as always, no team should be taken lightly.
Manchester Titans v Lincolnshire Bombers
After two consecutive losses in the north, the Lincolnshire Bombers will be gunning to get their first win against a highly regarded Manchester Titans side that put over 50 points against the Leeds Academy Assassins last weekend.
The Lincolnshire Bombers have had a tough start to their Under 19 season, with losses against the Chester Romans and Nottingham Caesars.
Although their season has not begun how they would have wanted, they still have four games remaining to show their worth and fight for play-off contention.
The Manchester Titans have shown that they can put big numbers against their opponents this season, with the 47-0 shutout victory over Merseyside Nighthawks and last weeks 54-14 dominating win against Leeds Assassins Academy. However, the Titans were unable to retain their regular season undefeated ways when their offence stuttered in a 14-0 defeat against the Caesars.
Thus, both teams have had their struggles this season and will look to Sunday as a bouncing board to propel them into the crucial latter half of the summer. The Titans will rely on their high scoring offense led by Quarterback Ben Miles in order to overcome to Bombers. However, never count out the underdog!
North East Academy P-P Highland Wildcats
Falling short of the number of players required for league entry this year, the newly established North East Academy attained associate status this year, but as yet have not completed any league fixtures at the Under 19 level – instead choosing to focus their resources on Under 17 and Adult balling. As such, this game will not be taking place this weekend, though it’s possible the two sides may meet for a scrimmage to make the most of the balling opportunities available. Odds are this one gets awarded to the Wildcats, allowing them to step back into the mix in the northern conference.
Farnham Knights v Hertfordshire Cheetahs
This weekend the Hertfordshire Cheetahs take on the Farnham Knights in a matchup that should prove to be extremely closely fought. Hertfordshire will be looking to extend their winning streak to three, whilst Farnham will hope to bounce back from a narrow defeat the previous week.
Hertfordshire have displayed a propensity for grinding out close wins this season, with their two most recent games resulting in single-score victories. Whilst you could argue that this method of victory is unsustainable, it certainly shows the mental strength and resiliency of this team, to not allow these results to get away from them. The Cheetahs’ only loss of the season came in an admittedly one-sided affair against the perennial powerhouse, the London Blitz, though this tends to be the outcome when sides face the Blitz in the regular season. The Cheetahs have benefitted greatly this year from an influx of both Hertfordshire Hurricanes players, such as newly appointed line captain Sam Troth, and former Under 17 players stepping up to the U19 level. This adds to an already strong core of players, such as three-year captain Fab Hayward and outside ‘backer James Abegglen, who came up with four sacks in their game against Essex.
Over the first two games of the Knights’ season, we have seen two sides to this team. Farnham began all the way back in April with a resounding victory over a Black Country Vipers side which has struggled in its first year competing at Under 19 level. Their offence ran rampant over the Vipers, with rookie QB Danny Stein passing for five TDs and rushing for a further score. Their second game, however, proved to be more of a struggle, losing to a dark horse Solent Seahawks side by a single score, in a game where the lead flipped multiple times. Still, Farnham remain a strong programme that always compete, and so we’re sure they will be seeking to get back to winning ways this weekend.
The match up seems finely poised, with both teams showing limitations, alongside their evident strengths, thus far this season. It will be fascinating to see which team can come out on top, and in doing so take the next step towards postseason football.