U19 | Week Twelve Preview

Things are getting tense in the Under 19s game as teams come close to wrapping up their seasons.  The Caesars can crown a perfect campaign with a win this weekend, and they’re not alone in teams that have fixtures of huge significance this Sunday!


Northern Conference

Highland Wildcats v Leeds Academy Assassins

by Tom Henley

The Highlands of Scotland are no stranger to mystery, the Loch Ness Monster, the Northern Lights and a Wildcats teams currently sat at .500. This year the Highland Wildcats will be disappointed with their results, with both losses coming at the hands of bitter rivals, East Kilbride, surely adding salt to the wounds.

However, nothing is more dangerous than a big cat looking to bite back, unfortunately for Chester, the Romans were on the receiving end of a 48-0 mauling from the resurgent Wildcats. Highland will look to keep on rebuilding, and look to lock up a spot in the Northern regional final. Hopefully recovering some pride from what must be a disappointing season, compared to last year, winning the National Plate. The team boasts some of the best talent in junior Britball, alongside one of the best facilities, so will always be a tough competitor in fixtures, and will want another convincing win.

Image courtesy of Highland Wildcats/Scott MacDonald
Image courtesy of Highland Wildcats/Scott MacDonald

The Leeds academy Assassins may sit at 0-4, but any team that has played them knows the talent they possess. Under tutelage of Coach Dale Bottomley, this well drilled and disciplined team can never be written off. Although coming from a 0-36 loss to the Pirates last Sunday, Leeds have certainly turned heads, with a tenacious defensive performance, coming away with two interceptions, both by Panashe Phiri, particularly impressive considering the small ravelling squad meant he was balling out on all three phases. Special mention must go to female baller Lucy Peaty, who brings intelligence and determination to the linebacker position. Peaty is one to look out for, don’t be surprised if she dons on a GB Lions uniform in the not too distant future.

Photography (c) Duncan Gray - see more at duncolm.co.uk
Photography (c) Duncan Gray – see more at duncolm.co.uk

Coach Bottomley, whilst certainly proud of the Assassins grit so far this season, hopes that the offence will build on their passing game, and inject some pace in order to score on the Wildcats.

The Wildcats must be seen as favourites, though not based on quality alone – as Leeds do have to make the the 181 mile trip north of the wall for a second week in a row – this time visiting Stirling as the neutral location for the two teams to meet. If the Leeds players can get some sleep on the coach, and pre-match jelly babies do their job, who knows what the score will be?

Lincolnshire Bombers v Nottingham Caesars

While their Under 17s and Adult rosters have shown some clear development as their seasons have progressed, it’s been a tough campaign so far for the Bombers in the Under 19s game.

Three games into their year and they’ve found paydirt just the once – a gruelling schedule has seen them face off against some of the top teams in their conference, and it gets no more pleasant this Sunday when they face the undefeated Nottingham Caesars.

Notts boast the top defence in the nation, so it’ll be worthy of kudos for the Bombers if they can challenge the Caesars D and maybe even put up points – Caesars defensive captain Morgan Dodson has been ball-hawking lately.

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via facebook.com/CaesarsU19s

#TeamDC’s very own Alex Mclachlan, Kiren Brown and Tom Henley both impressed in the Caesars’ last outing against the Nighthawks, and expectations are that the Caesars will wrap up a perfect regular season campaign this Sunday as they travel to Lincolnshire – though stranger things have happened in the Under 19s game and the old adage always remains – any given Sunday…

Manchester Titans v Chester Romans

by Alex Mclachlan

Well then. This could be a fun one. This weekend marks the first of two back-to-back fixtures between these two local rivals, in match-ups that could dictate which of the two makes the playoffs. There is clearly no love lost in this fixture, with players on both sides speaking of their excitement ahead of the showdown, which could provide the competitive spark needed to really bring out the best of all involved.

The Manchester Titans are eager to get back to competitive ‘balling after a month’s rest, with players champing at the bit to return to live hitting. The Titan’s season has been somewhat up and down compared to their own exceptionally high standards, with three games resulting in the expected blowouts, with the other being a low-scoring loss. Their defence, affectionately termed the ‘Big Blue Wrecking Crew’, has been the one consistently exceptional piece, conceding a mere 28 total points across four fixtures. They will hope this level of play will continue into the final stretch of the season.

Photography (c) Tracie 'Turner' Cooper-Probyn
Photography (c) Tracie ‘Turner’ Cooper-Probyn

The Manchester offence, meanwhile, will hope that its showing against the Nottingham Caesars, where they were shut out, was an anomaly. Led by QB Ben Miles, the unit has achieved the quite incredible feat of averaging 50 points per game in their other three fixtures,

Chester, meanwhile, will be hoping that the team shows up with the right mentality this game. When the Romans truly ‘show up’, they prove to be an exceptionally tough team to beat, racking up scores and having the mental fortitude to grind out close victories. The issue is that this has not always been the case, and in recent games lapses have allowed their opponents the edge.

Manchester are looking an exceptionally tough outfit this season, and will want (and need) to win out in the hopes of gaining one of the places in the Northern division title game. That being said, Chester have shown that they can mix it up with the best teams at this level, on the right day. And what better motivation is there to show up in the right mindset than a local derby, and the dream of post-season football? This could go either way, but one thing is for sure: both teams will give it their all.

 

Southern Conference

London Blitz v Solent Seahawks

By Kiren Brown

This weekend, the London Blitz host the Solent Seahawksin what should be a hard-fought fixture in the Southern Conference.

The Blitz are currently at 3-1 in the South and in this fixture they look to solidify themselves in post-season football. With the Birmingham Lions capturing the top spot in the South early on, the London side will need to win this game in order to secure that 2nd place. The Blitz have put up some nice numbers against their past two opponents. In their game against last year’s Britbowl winners, the Kent Exiles, they dominated with a 36-0 shutout, and then went on to dominate conference rivals, the Farnham Knights, 46-6.

Photography (c) Jody Demay-Davies
Photography (c) Jody Demay-Davies

The travelling Solent Seahawks look to bounce back from a thrashing by the Lions last game, but despite their woes in their last outing, this fixture could still be a fairly even match up if the Seahawks play to their potential. Although the ‘Hawks are only 1-2 on the season, they’ve looked strong and well drilled in each of the fixtures. After a tough loss to the Kent Exiles in the season opener, Solent showed their strength in a 20-12 victory against the Farnham Knights. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they then had to travel to the Lions Den in Birmingham which resulted in a 39-6 defeat.

Here at DC, we look forward to how this game will play out. Will the Blitz become one step closer to securing the 2nd spot? or will the former-Thrashers stop the Blitz in their tracks? We’ll find out this weekend!

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1