Friday, 24 February 2012

BUAFL Week 11 Predictions: Northern

We look north in our next set of predictions.

Hallam Warriors @ Leeds Carnegie
Last year’s fixture saw old scores settled between these two sides, with Hallam scoring 50 unanswered points against a Carnegie side, with former Warriors Head Coach Paul Wake at the helm. It has been four seasons since Wake and the entire coaching staff left Hallam in limbo with no coaching staff, no offensive strategy and on the verge of extinction.

Both teams have developed considerably since those days, with few players from that era remaining, but there is certainly no love lost between these two sides.

Hallam played the Sabres in midweek, in a bruising encounter, which saw the Warriors come from behind to win by just a single point (29-28) late in the fourth quarter. But, the game did leave the visitors with injuries to a few key starters – notably lineman Russell Polson and Ashley Chrisitan, with centre James Cullis questionable.

Carnegie come off the back of a good win against the Sabres (46-12) and have the best defensive record in the conference, having only conceded 25 points so far this season. With linebackers Jon Hurley and Danny Wardell leading the charge, Hallam will have another tough battle trying to break into the backfield, but the Leeds attack in the form of the flexbone is somewhat one dimensional.

Sunday’s game will be the third of Hallam’s four games in the space of eleven days and another stern examination. The key to victory will be defence and Leeds will have to stop RBs Pyle, Muzonda, Shaahu and Adekanmbi from moving the chains.
A close game, but even with their injuries Hallam may just sneak it – Hallam by 8 points

Bangor Muddogs @ Tarannau
It’s derby day in West Wales this weekend as Tarannau Aberystwyth welcome the Bangor Muddogs. The last meeting of these two teams saw the Muddogs come away with the spoils (36-0), but in previous years Aber have been a formidable opponent.

Tarannau are winless so far this season and would desperately love to get their first tick in the win column against their not so near neighbours, but Aber Head Coach Phil Dayus needs to get their offense firing, as they have only scored 6 points in five games this year.

Bangor (3-2) are having a mixed season thus far, the Muddogs offence has struggled to move the ball against some of the top sides in the Northern conference in recent weeks, but could have more success this weekend against Tarannau.

According to the BUAFL website both teams have two games in two days, following Sunday’s encounter Bangor will face the winless Hawks and Tarannau will meet the SWAC leaders UWE Bullets. But both teams will be more occupied with secure bragging rights in this one first of all.
Bangor by 14 points

Bradford Bears @ Sheffield Sabres
What a difference a week makes, from occupying top spot in the Northern Conference this time last week, the Sabres have now slipped to fifth after losses to Carnegie and Hallam. Sunday’s match up against new boys Bradford, is crucial for both sides in the race for a spot in the play offs.

The Sabres offence looked particularly potent against Hallam in midweek. Receiver James Sharrock, completed a hat-trick of touchdowns, from 3 different quarterbacks, out of their Spread offence. Their aerial attack was supported by a number of good running backs, notably Mark Maguire, who enjoyed particular success running the rock.

Bradford have won their last four competitive games on the bounce, scoring an average of 25 points in those fixtures with rookie QB Chris Moore under centre, whilst their defence has shut out the Celtics, Hawks and Bombers.

Bears Head Coach Richard Handby really has done a great job with this new team, but after two losses in four days the Sabres will be out for revenge and as Head Coach Tim Mullinar said after their single point defeat to Hallam:

“If we play like that, I can say with absolute confidence that we can beat anyone in the country!”
Sabres by 14 points

UH Sharks @ York Centurions
Another local rivalry game carries added importance as we near the play offs, with the Sharks visiting the Centurions. After an impressive 33-6 win over MMU last week the Sharks showed their play-off pedigree, after three months without a competitive game.

Sharks QB Seb Gogerly moved the ball well out of their Spread offence, against a vulnerable MMU secondary and linked up well with receivers Tom Johnson and Mike Cash for two touchdowns before crossing the whitewash on two occasions himself.

The Sharks D-line, under the guidance of defensive co-ordinator Martin Gardham, has a strong pursuit to the point of attack and likes to force teams to beat them through the air after stopping them on the ground. In short they are tough to break down and they defend “every blade of grass both horizontally and vertically” according to Head Coach Mark Sargeson.

York’s one dimensional offence relies heavily on the inside run and as mentioned previously they struggle to move the ball through the air, but they are grinding out wins. Shutting out the Braves and Tyrants in their last two games and winning by a single score on both occasions.

At the moment, defence is winning York games and they will need a similar performance this week if they are to shut out the high scoring Sharks and keep Gogerly quiet - both scrambling and throwing. If the Centurions can get pressure on the QB, they may be able to slow the Sharks progress, but they will also need to move the ball on a strong Sharks defence.

A Sharks win in their next two games, following the Sabres loss to Hallam, will see Hull move into second place in the Northern Conference, making this game and their rearranged fixture against the Celtics must wins if Hull are to make the play offs.
Sharks by 10 points

Lancaster Bombers @ Huddersfield Hawks
Both Lancaster and Huddersfield have had tough schedules this season, but look to be of similar ability on paper. Both teams have conceded similar amounts to some of the top teams in the conference – around a ton of points against the Warriors, about 30 points to Bradford and about 50 points to the Sabres.

The teams didn’t meet last year, but since their 105-0 loss to Hallam, the Hawks have improved significantly and Head Coach Greg Boyland seems to have addressed some of the defensive issues, which were evident before the Christmas break.  The Hawks even managed their first two touchdowns of the season last week against the Celtics (24-16), courtesy of Gaz Weeks and Andy Blunt.

Lancaster played their first game last weekend since Week Six and were shutout by the Bears, but after more than two months without competitive football, you can forgive them for being a bit rusty. Hopefully they have shaken off the cobwebs, can sure up that defence and run the ball with more purpose out of their offset I formation.

After tough opening schedules for both sides, this game will provide a better indication of where the teams fit in the conference as a whole, but this game may be too close to call. Momentum seems to be with the Hawks at the moment and after last week they deserve a first win of the season.
Hawks by 6 points  

MMU Eagles @ LJM Fury
Both teams are winless so far this season, but LJM have only played three games, to the Eagles’ six, due to the bad weather in recent weeks. As a result not much more is known about the Fury than was before the Christmas break.

Following their 33-6 loss to the Sharks, the Eagles will be looking for more success moving the ball this weekend. The Eagles offensive line struggled to create any running lanes for their half backs and had little success moving the ball until late in the fourth quarter.

MMU came close to recording their first victory of the season in Week 5, against the Celtics, losing by a single point in overtime (13-12), but they may have more success this weekend against a less experienced Fury defence.

Spearheading the Eagles defence, linebacker Lewis Potts will be hoping for another big game and should enjoy more success this week against a Fury offence, which has only scored twice so far this season.
Eagles by 10 points 


  1. York to win by one score as always

  2. Hawks' first ever win came against six points. #justsayin

    1. "Hawks deserve a first win of the season" - i.e Hawks have not won this season 0-5.

      Apologies if these two teams did in fact play last year, wasn't across the Hawks last year and BUAFL website lists it as 0-0 inferring they didn't play.

      Will endeavour to do better in the future

    2. Sorry Peter, you misunderstood my (unclear) point, which was that the Hawks first ever win (in 2007 I think) was a six point win over Lancaster - I was pointing out a parallel not an error.

      Keep up the fine work

    3. Looks like the only way this Hawks team can score is by fielding ineligible players #justsayin

    4. Name and shame Anon!

    5. Please feel free to check the roster, both Andy Blunt and Gaz Weeks are fully enrolled students #nobodylikesahater

    6. and Matt Quinney? Who last week you told us is on a masters course but doesn't actually start until September 2012? #nobodylikesacheater

  3. Offense wins games defense wins championships, york to beat hull by a score.

  4. I think Coach Grizz and the rest of the Hallam coaching staff who remained with the team after Coach Wake moved on to Leeds might be a little insulted at being referred to as "no coaching staff, no offensive strategy and on the verge of extinction."

    1. That was taken from a quote from Coach Batty last year during an interview done with him before last years game with Carnegie.

    2. So that makes Wake out to be the bad guy and Batty to be the hero in one short, totally inaccurate quote? That doesn't sound like his modus operandii at all.

    3. By doesn't you mean does

    4. An accurate account would be Coach Wake took the complete Offensive coaching unit with him and the ST coaches leaving Coach Batty with One defensive coach and himself. In his first year as HC he had TWO coaches with him. They were not going to be extinct but were not given any prior warning of the move until the final game. Neither coach is a bad guy, Coach Wake wanted to go on his own and make his mark. Coach Batty has shown he is very competent and has won every regular season game bar one in that time. If anyone has spent any time with either you would know they hold each other in great esteem having played together. If there is tension it is with oth coaches. I'm not doubting what Peter said but it will have been out of context.

  5. York will only win if Pops gets to referee.

  6. Popps hasn't reffed in yorks wins this year, they've been winning with their stout D

  7. MMU V Livrpool Fury postponed at Fury's request.

    1. Surely something has to be done about LJMU? Only played three games, must be running out of excuses for postponements...or has their pitch's Grandma's cat's bus been cancelled due to the bad weather?

    2. Liverpool don't have a home pitch so they only play away games they also cancelled against Bangor the week after too so will finish the season 0-3

  8. York will not stop Hull's offense. This game comes down entirely to Hull, and whether they make ENOUGH mistakes for a weak York team to capitalise on. And even then that will require a LOT of work by York to come close to overpowering an impressive Sharks D. Sorry York, Hull to win.

    1. Agreed, Hull see it as a grudge match after last years season fixture. Complacency was the biggest opponent that day. This was rectified in the play off match between the two teams in last years play off game ending 32-2. I doubt Hull want to have a repeat of last years regular season game and will do all they can to emulate the play off performance.


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