Under19s | National Plate Final Preview – Pirates vs Cheetahs

East Kilbride Pirates Vs Hertfordshire Cheetahs

By Ryan Duff

After losing in their respective semi-finals, the Pirates and Cheetahs still have something to play for, fighting it out for the U19 plate at the John Charles Centre in Leeds on Sunday.

Following a less-than-ideal 44-2 loss to the London Blitz, the Hertfordshire Cheetahs will look to regain their confidence in time for the Plate Final.

According to Head Coach Alex Halms,

“Fear and occasion crippled us against the Blitz, and we are determined that Sunday will be all about a throwback to fun, high tempo football.”

Photography (c) London Blitz, Jody Demay-Davies

The only team of the remaining four not affiliated with a top-tier adult side, the Cheetahs have already defied expectations and will hope to end a successful season with a victory against a strong East Kilbride side to add to their runners-up status in last year’s southern trophy final.

The Cheetahs will look to make use of their flashy and at times unstoppable run game, with the twin rushing attack of Jack Stodel and Ashley Gatulah behind a sturdy O-line anchored by Byron Kealy and Callum Cocks, who Halms have heralded as “MVP frontrunners.”

For the second consecutive game, the Cheetahs will face a team from last season’s Britbowl; this time, Scotland’s football factory, the East Kilbride Pirates. After being knocked out in spectacular fashion on the receiving end of a 34-28 overtime thriller against an impressive Manchester Titans side, EKP will look to reassert their dominance over English teams with a win on Sunday.

Photography (C) All Sports Photography

With several key players graduating at the end of the season, including last year’s All-DC QB Sam Montgomerie, HC Matthew Davies is determined to send them away with some silverware, asserting,

“We have a number of players in their final game and I’d love to see them finish what have been great junior careers on a high.”

According to Davies, the key to victory is as simple as ever,

“Establish the run, be disciplined on defence, use special teams to manage field position and take our chances when they come.”

These chances should come early and often with the talented receiving core of Bailey, McDonald, Braidwood and McIlroy providing a good test for the resilient Cheetah’s secondary, giving Montgomerie the opportunity to make the plays that got his team to Britbowl last season.

In what should be a pretty evenly matched game, Sunday’s Plate Final will showcase some of the brightest talents Britball has to offer in a live-streamed match we hope will turn into the nail-biter we expect.

Head along to Leeds to watch the game live! Entry to a great afternoon of sporting entertainment is completely free. Can’t make it to the game? Fear not – all this year’s finals are being live streamed: catch the National Plate final below, or at onsidetv.co.uk

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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