Wednesday, 1 February 2012

BUAFL Top 5 Rivalry Matchups This Weekend




 Worcester @ Gloucester is just one of the rivalry matchups to feature this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Paul@photographers-united.com  

We’ve all being waiting for it and finally we have reached the biggest week in the season so far! No we’re not talking about Super Bowl week; we’re talking about BUAFL rivalry weekend!

This week’s Top 5 will be dedicated to the biggest matches of the weekend in our opinion. Some games will affect the playoff outcome, whilst others are all about pride and glory.

Note – UWE and Bristol face off on the 12th of February so they are excluded from the list!

So…without any further ado it’s time to list the teams that didn’t quite make the cut.

Coventry Jets @ Warwick Wolves – Whilst this is a relatively new rivalry, these two teams have already forged a disliking off each other. This could be down to the fact that Coventry thought they’d be the new up and coming team in the MAC, but have been put in their place of late. I remember when these two teams faced off against each other last season, there was a lot of talk from the Cov players saying how they would dominate the game and comfortable win their first BUAFL meeting. That wasn’t the case as the Wolves won 13-6. Don’t expect a classic game as these two teams are currently sitting at 0-4 and 1-3, but expect a game that could spring a few surprises and establish which team is the true leader of this varsity matchup.

Leeds Carnegie @ Leeds Celtics – In quite possibly the most open conference in the league, this week game see’s the Celtics and Carnegie facing each other, with the winner getting back into the playoff race, and the loser all but out of the hunt. The Celtics will be hoping their offence can score on the daunting Carnegie defence who have only conceded 13 points all season! Last year it was Carnegie who came away victorious when they beat the Celtics 7-6.
5. Portsmouth Destroyers @ Solent Redhawks
If this was the Stags vs. Destroyers this game would comfortably the number one game this weekend. Unfortunately it’s not; it’s the Redhawks who have surprisingly struggled this season after going 6-2 last season.

Portsmouth has continued their winning ways this season after going all of 2010 and 2011 without losing a BUAFL regular season game. This winning streak also includes a National Championship last season and has shown that teams can win in this country by relying on their defence more than their offence.

For Solent their season has been a poor one considering their success last season, as the team were hammered by Reading, OBU and the Stags, whilst just about beating the Brunel Burners and comfortably beating the Royal Holloway Bears.

All the signs point to another win for the Destroyers, especially after last season’s 22-0 victory. Remember this though, the last team to beat Portsmouth? Solent University in a home game in December 2009. Upset alert anyone?

4. Worcester Royals @ Gloucester Gladiators (4th February)
Now quite a lot of you might say that I only included this game as one team is my former Alum, BUT! This game needed to be added to the list for these reasons:

First off, in their three combined season in BUAFL (two for Worcester, one for Gloucester) these teams have combined for one victory! A 25-9 victory for the Gladiators over the Royals last season. They have also split their post season varsity matchup with one victory each (YES! Worcester has won a game!)

Secondly, due to what can only be described as awful seasons so far, these two teams were ranked third and fourth on our powerless rankings respectively.

Finally and I guess I’m saying this for all the players and coaches involved with both teams…which idiot decided to play the game on the same day at the Southern GB trials? Way to prevent your players from having the opportunity to possibly earn the chance to represent their country at the highest level! I can’t see a legitimate reason for playing on the Saturday, it’s not like both teams won’t be back in time to go and watch the Super Bowl…

3. NTU Renegades @ Nottingham Outlaws
This Varsity matchup may not be as glamorous as other games on this list, but there’s no doubt that this game has a huge effect on the outcome of the MAC playoff race after the Outlaws win over the Braves earlier in the season (the Renegades lost to Derby).

So far the Outlaws are currently sitting at 3-2 which is good enough for fifth place in the MAC whilst NTU are a further spot back with a 2-2 .500 record. Despite winning one more game Notts have struggled to two of their three victories with a seven point win over Liverpool Fury and a two point over the Derby Braves.

With both teams losing to the bigger teams in the MAC who have still have to face off against each other (Birmingham, Loughborough and Derby), the winner of this game could end up claim the fourth and final playoff spot from the MAC unless the Nemesis have a major collapse and possibly open up one of the championship spots (odds suggest that won’t happen though).

In what most likely will be a defensive game, the Outlaws will be hoping their offence can get points on the scoreboard, last season they were shutout by the NTU defence as the Renegades battled to an 8-0 victory.

2. Exeter Demons @ Plymouth Blitz
If I’m honest this game is only placed highly due to Exeters stunning one point victory over the Cardiff Cobras last week. If they had lost the game there’s a very good chance that this game doesn’t even make the top 5! It also helps that the biggest rivalry in the SWAC is taking place next week…

These two teams are currently third and fourth in the SWAC with 3-1 and 3-2 records respectively. If Exeter wins this week they will jump up to the number two spot replacing Cardiff, but if the Blitz pull the victory out of the bag, they will jump up to third and could drop the Demons down to sixth depending on other results! The SWAC playoff race is wide open!

Last season these two teams faced off against each other twice during the regular season (well done BUAFL schedulers…) with Exeter winning both games 12-2 and 24-14. Plymouth are currently riding the momentum of a three game winning streak and will be looking to avenge these previous losses.

Everyone involved in the hunt for a spot in the challenge trophy places should take note of this as they could end up playing either the winner of this game come playoff time.

1. Sheffield Sabres @ Hallam Warriors
The biggest game of the weekend is without doubt the steel city bowl matchup. Will this be the game when Hallams domination of the Northern Conference finally comes to an end? According to the poll taken on the BUAFL Facebook page, the Sabres have 90 votes to win compared to the Warriors 32 votes.

The Warriors are one of the most hated teams in the country (if Northampton keep winning they will claim this prize) due to the DW offence they run. I wouldn’t be surprised if majority of the BUAFL was hoping the Sabres finally end Hallams unbeaten season which a victory this weekend.

Looking at their schedule so far both teams have faced two whipping boys of the conference (Huddersfield and Lancaster) an average team and a team who may end up taking part in the playoffs at the end of the season. Both teams have comfortably dispatched their opposition whilst conceding minimal points and earning the top two spots in the NC.

If the Sabres are going to pull out the upset this weekend then they will be hoping both sides of the ball perform better than last season otherwise this game could get out of hand quickly. Hallam won this matchup 58-0 last season…


17 comments:

  1. Gotta say I can't see anyone from Gloucester or Worcester getting in to GB so I guess the people who arranged that game thought the same

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  2. No BNU v Reading. Only a few miles apart. Considering it is 3-2 to Reading and coming off of an embarassing varsity defeat of 60-6?

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    Replies
    1. After BNU getting upset at Kingston in a friendly, I bet their looking to take it out on Reading..

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  3. Leicester Longhorns vs DMU Falcons.

    First varsity game since the two unis split. Ex Longhorn coaches now with DMU. A Longhorns team coming off a big win matching up against a DMU team full of potential. I true rivalry game in every sense of the word.

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  4. Not glamorous? How many other games will be played in a stadium in front of 1000 very hostile fans.

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  5. what about canterbury chargers versus kent falcons? both based in the same city and quite a heated rivalry.

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  6. Hawks @ Bears too, in their first (and last) league meeting. With no league officials, it's going to have to be refereed by a combination of current Hawks coaches (who are accused of ousting the previous coaching staff in some kind of coup) and ex-Hawks now-Bears coaches (some of whom are still - to put it mildly - "aggrieved").

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like the last days of Rome are happening all over again in West Yorkshire. I'm pretty sure that this has been ignored due to the fact that it won't exactly be a contest - Bradford are playoff contenders and Huddersfield haven't scored a point.

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    2. Nope, Refs in place, officials not coaches.
      Coup, depends on who you talk to really. Each side will have its own opinion.
      From my perspective, whats happened happened. thats in the past, The hawks made their decision and are living with the result of it.
      Also could be a lot closer than people think, within one or two scores, of 24 points :-)

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  7. Having played both of Sheffield teams so far this season, there's absolutely no chance that Sheffield Sabres will beat Hallam. Hallam are a notch above the Sabres, there's no doubt.

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    Replies
    1. Prepare to be amazed

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    2. I'm sorry but the Sabres are in for a wake up. Hallam havnt got out of 1st gear this year and having seen both up close Hallam will win by 30+. They also run DW only half the time and I'm sure they care little about a Facebook group poll.

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  8. York vs Lancaster.

    Part of the biggest sporting rivalry in Europe....

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    Replies
    1. That probably should win given that they had a war about it...

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  9. blitz by 3 TD's

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