Unlucky for some, Week Thirteen rolls around in the junior season! A Scottish derby headlines this week’s fixtures, with the East Kilbride Pirates facing off against the Highland Wildcats. Elsewhere, the Caesars look to regain some pride against the Romans and the Blitz seek to further their lead at the top of the South.
Under 19’s Week Thirteen Previews
By Alex McLachlan
Division One North
East Kilbride Pirates V Highland Wildcats
By Ryan Duff
This week, the Wildcats meet with EKP in a rematch of June’s Scottish derby which saw East Kilbride emerge as 42-14 victors.
In Week Thirteen, a dominant East Kilbride side will look to keep themselves in the race for the conference title after conceding a surprising loss to the Manchester Titans. The otherwise rampant Pirates have thus far raided the Lions, plundered the Wildcats and showed the Nighthawks a full broadside in their 52-8 demolition, but last week’s loss to Manchester proved that the path to Britbowl will not be plain sailing, and EKP’s high scoring offense and suffocating defense will hope to reassert their strength against a formidable Wildcats team.
The 1-1 Highland Wildcats will hope to make amends for their 42-14 loss earlier this season. Undefeated against English teams over the last two years, the Wildcats are yet to defeat East Kilbride at the U19 level, and will no doubt look to remove this monkey from their back with a win on Sunday. Beyond their loss to the Pirates, the Wildcats have shown their own strength this season with a convincing 28-8 victory against the Merseyside Nighthawks. With their heavily backloaded season, the Wildcats will want to reclaim a winning record to remind Britball they are still very much in the race for a title.
Birmingham Lions vs Merseyside Nighthawks
By Jack Stodel
N.B.We’re hearing this one’s been called – in some shock news, we’re hearing the Lions are unable to field a team for their trip to the ‘Hawks and will forfeit the fixture.
Sunday sees a matchup between two teams, one looking to push their way into the playoffs in any way possible and the other that wishes to stop them in their tracks.
The Birmingham Lions currently stand at 1-1 after their loss to East Kilbride who last year competed for the Britbowl final. The Lions were not far off themselves last year, falling just short to the eventual victors, the London Blitz, after dominating the league for the entire season. Head Coach Greg Cross has established a well-run, dominant club who will look to punish any team who steps onto the same field as them, and with stars such as cornerback Jimmy Watkins who actually picked off Sam Montgomerie in their match up, Cross’ job becomes that much easier
Merseyside are currently at 2-3, fighting to finish the season without a negative record, which against the Lions will certainly prove a challenge. The Lions will certainly have to look out for defensive standouts James Matthews and Adam Roberts, who forced a fumble and returned it for six points against the current divisional leaders, the Manchester Titans, as they continue to break up even the league’s strongest of offences.
The Lions will look to bounce back this game while Merseyside will be looking to stop them by any means necessary and force a negative record on Birmingham while reviving their own. With talent on both sides of the ball for both teams, this is a matchup to watch this week.
Nottingham Caesars V Chester Romans
By Bruin White
This weekend the winless Nottingham Caesars host the Chester Romans, hoping for a better result than they got in their last fixture with the Romans which ended in a 48-0 blowout.
Since that dreadful day three weeks ago that awarded Chester 48 of their 54 points scored so far this season, Nottingham HC George Lees tells that the main focus of the team ahead of this matchup is to get the offence moving again. Confident in the team’s progress, he explains “we have watched the game film and worked on our weak spots”. After all, a productive offence will be key to break down what Lees himself identifies as a “tough defence”. The Romans have conceded the fewest points across the Division One North – allowing just 9.3 points per game so far this season – all the while sitting on an illogical 1-2 record.
Despite the points binge in their last matchup together, Chester Romans HC Will Sargeant recognises that this game will certainly be more difficult than the last, and still respects the Caesars as “a big, physical side who are fundamentally sound and well-coached”.
“We have continued to prepare”, he explains. “We’ve had to switch a few things round, but hopefully we can put it all together on gameday.
“[I’m] really impressed with both our lines last game, especially D where we have three guys playing in their first year… Sam White stepping in at QB due to injuries, and Liam Coxon getting his first start at RB.”
“We’ll look to continue improving, cut down on mistakes and play a solid game up front, then hopefully come away with a win”. The game will be played this Sunday in Nottingham.
N.B. Since speaking with DC, Nottingham HC George Lees has announced his resignation, to be replaced for the remainder of the year by Sean Endicott.
Division One South
London Blitz vs Thames Valley Tigers
By Jack Stodel
This Sunday, we see reigning champions, the London Blitz face off against the Thames Valley Tigers who have shown tremendous spirit the entire year.
Thames Valley are coming off of a 48-0 defeat to the Hertfordshire Cheetahs where, despite the loss, they had some promising plays on both sides of the ball and continue to impress Britball nation by exemplifying the attitude that we wish all players would have towards the sport.
The London Blitz seem to have found their rhythm this year, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and they displayed this trouncing the Cobham Cougars 70-0. With standout players such as WR trio Malachi Marquis-Adams, Leonardo Sophoclis and Nathan Oti, QB Marco Livi really doesn’t have to try very hard to find these playmakers. The Blitz, however, are lucky that he possesses his own unique and special set of skills.
The Blitz’s defence with players like Pelayo Martinez and Khalid Adisa have been strong all year, shutting out several strong offensive units and causing problems for others.
Thames Valley could cause an upset in this one but the Blitz look on their way to maintaining their perfect record and possibly putting up quite a big scoreline. Could Thames Valley score their first points of the season?