The BAFA National Leagues is back! We’ve got new teams, new alignments, and new #TeamDC writers! As is customary now, the writers get together around an imaginary table, crack out the crystal ball and give their Way Too Early… predictions on how they see the conference title battles finishing.
Without further ado…
Gone are the Glasgow Tigers, who romped home to an 8-1 regular season record in 2017. Taking their place for the new campaign are the relegated West Coast Trojans. With only 8 regular season games in Division Two, just one slip up could cost teams a chance at the post-season.
The new look #TeamDC leans in favour of Aberdeen Roughnecks to triumph in the NFC2 North this season, with 7 votes. Perhaps surprisingly, only 3 members of the team – Grant, Chris and Nick – see the Trojans bouncing back from the disappointment of their 2017 campaign. Three votes, too, for Clyde Valley Blackhawks who despite a poor 3-5-1 record last time around, put in some decent performances.
The NFC2 Central was a bit of a mess in 2017, with a lopsided seven teams in the conference. Leeds Bobcats and Gateshead Senators were promoted to Division One, with Northumberland Lightning joining them, kinda, as they merged with Newcastle Vikings to become Northumberland Vikings.
Moving across from the NFC2 South, the Chester Romans are heavy favourites for the conference title amongst our writers, with all but two opting for the boys in red and white. Interestingly, two staffers opt to go with Morecambe Bay Storm who finished with a winning record in their debut season in the BAFA National Leagues.
The unstoppable Shropshire Revolution will be testing their skills against better competition this season, meaning the NFC2 South is all for the taking this season. Down drop the Birmingham Bulls, who will be looking to steady themselves under the guidance of new Head Coach Matthew Sheldon.
With the top two sides from the conference in 2017 now gone, it looks to be a straight battle between Staffordshire Surge and Lincolnshire Bombers for the conference crown, both of whom finished with 6-4 records last season. Seven votes in favour of the Surge mean they’re our favourites for the conference. Grant seems to have gone a bit of a different route with his prediction, picking the plucky Railroaders… unless he knows something we don’t?
The undefeated Bristol Apache have been promoted, leaving the Cornish Sharks to dominate the conference, no? Down drop South Wales Warriors, who like the Bulls have dropped from the top to the bottom tier in a few years. Rookie outfit Somerset Wyverns may be in for a rude awakening to competitive football as they line up against a number of physical sides in the conference.
The Warriors edge it! #TeamDC gives South Wales the nod over the Sharks seven votes to six. Expect a number of closely fought games throughout the season.
Up go the Berkshire Renegades into Division One. Otherwise, the SFC2 conference remains the same in 2018. Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and Hertfordshire Cheetahs – who both made the playoffs a year ago – will be vying for the conference crown in the absence of Berkshire.
Do Rob and Stuart know something the others don’t? Opting for the Bobcats, who finished with a 3-7 record in 2017, whilst nine members of the team vote in favour of the Dreadnoughts. Two shoutouts for the Cheetahs, who finished 7-3 in 2017 following a torrid season in Division One the year prior.
Norwich Devils return to the BAFA National Leagues in arguably the most favourable conference for them to do so. The dominant Wembley Stallions and East Kent Mavericks have both moved up a tier, leaving a free-for-all in their wake.
We’ve gone through all the Division Two conferences, and not one clean sweep! Again Grant rocks the boat… submitting his Ipswich Cardinals prediction before running around DC Towers naked screaming “It’s their year!”. Again, he’s a man of mystery so maybe he knows something the rest of us don’t! Majority vote for London Blitz B to take control of a conference that has a lot of young programmes.