Britball rejoice! After months of wondering whether we’d see the schedule before the new BAFA National Leagues season came around, we’re now just 11 days away from the big kickoff!
As is now tradition here at DC Towers, we gathered members of #TeamDC around a non-existent table to argue over who’ll win what this season. We’ve taken a look at conference titles, division titles, Britbowl and even threw out some Random predictions. We kick off our Way Too Early Predictions with Division Two. As always, if you think we’ve got it horribly wrong, shout at us in the comments!
The big news in the NFC2 North this pre-season was the withdrawal of Dundee Hurricanes. Thankfully, Clyde Valley Blackhawks have returned to the fold following their own withdrawal in 2016 to ensure that there are 4 teams in the conference.
With Newcastle Vikings having been promoted to Division One, #TeamDC considers Glasgow Tigers the clear front runners for the conference title. Both Glasgow and Aberdeen Roughnecks registered 7-3 records in 2016, splitting the two games between the sides. With a 9-game schedule in 2017, all teams in the conference play each other 3 times – will Glasgow’s 2 road games against Aberdeen negatively impact their title charge.
The weakest division on paper before a ball is thrown this season. With 2 rookie sides in Knottingley Raiders and Morecambe Bay Storm, the remaining 5 sides combined for a 13-33 record in 2016, with Leeds Bobcats contributing 9 of those wins.
The overwhelming majority of #TeamDC staffers see the Bobcats winning their conference for a second season in succession, despite rumblings of a few players moving on. Last season, their only real competition came in the form of Chester Romans. This season, could the competition come from Gateshead Senators? Three of our writers think so. The Senators struggled to a 2-8 record in the NFC1 in 2016, with both wins coming by way of walkovers over Clyde Valley. Could a drop down to Division Two rejuvenate Gateshead?
The NFC2 South could turn in to one of the most tightly-contested conferences in the BAFA National Leagues. Four sides come together with winning records from 2016 in Chester Romans (8-2), Halton Spartans, Shropshire Revolution and Staffordshire Surge (all 6-4). On the flip side, it will be a battle between Crewe Railroaders, Humber Warhawks and Lincolnshire Bombers to avoid the basement.
#TeamDC lean heavily in favour of the Romans this season. In 2016, Chester averaged 48.3 points per game. Offensively, no other side in the NFC2 South came close to that level of production last season. Minus the Falcons fixtures, Shropshire dominated most of their schedule 12 months ago, catching the eye of SFC1 East correspondent, Grant.
Next up, we take a look at the SFC2…