Monday, 7 January 2013

Mid-Season Review: TVC

Southampton Stags
The perfect 5-0 start shows that Southampton are heading for a 2nd straight conference title.  They have 2 tough games left in the form of their main rivals Portsmouth and Solent and an unknown factor in the 3-0 Brighton but we cannot help but think Brighton may be the worst 3-0 team in the league. We spoke to Souhampton QB Dana Neale and he had this to say:

"'I'm happy with how we've performed in our games before Christmas. Our defense have performed to a very high level so far this season. I've been extremely impressed with them.We know our next three games will define our season and if we keep up our commitment to winning, I'm sure we can go 8-0.'

OBU Panthers
Worries that  OBU's 7-1 season was a flash in the pan have been realised.  They are not a bad team, far from it however they have come off the loser in 2 very tight games against BNU and Portsmouth. Their #1 defence from last year has only leaked more than once this year against the conference powerhouse Southampton. With a softer 2nd half of the year we expect OBU to bounce back to 4-4 and a respectable record in a very tough conference.

Oxford Lancers
We didn't expect Oxford to be this years Northampton and run the table, but they are really struggling. They have struggled for numbers and injuries have led them to rearrange fixtures and forfeit at half time.

The unknown factor for their opponents is how many American players they might be able to recruit over the Christmas period. Head Coach Carl Marshall spoke to DC:
"The team are looking forward to the next 5 games that round out their first year as league members, and I am looking forward to seeing them continue their week on week improvement and the great heart they bring to every match."

Kingston Cougars
The surprise package of the season for many so far. They toppled playoff candidates Solent and BNU with their sole loss coming to Portsmouth. That loss will probably be enough to keep them out of the post season, but they are a strong candidate for the #3 spot.  Phil De Monte spoke to DC:

"We are not taking anything for granted, as teams continually progress and improve throughout the season. We are looking forward to getting back to the practice field and to work on the areas where we need to work on. While we have had a good season to date, we are will not rest until the final whistle blows in the final game we play in."

Brunel Burners
With more coaches than the Lancers have players, the improvement has been noticeable this year. Not as much as some predicted but based on where Brunel were last year, it is a big step up. They have some tough games coming up to finish the season and as hopeful as they are I think a 4-4 record would be something they should be happy with. 

Royal Holloway Bears
The team is better than last year, you can see that by looking at their scorelines. They are however gaining a reputation for playing beyond the rules of the game. Though this brings a rep of a tough team and one that will make you wake up sore on Monday it doesn't bring you wins. Things should improve slightly with the conferences whipping boys to come. 2-6 should be their final standing.

BNU Buccaneers
BNU find themselves at the start of 2013 in the middle of the TVC standing at 2-2. Looking at their schedule at the start of the season they shouldn't be too upset being at .500, losing to reigning champions the Stags and the impressive Kingston Cougars, as well as winning against a much improved Royal Holloway and OBU who were 7-1 last year. However, their HC Luke Plastow took a different approach when asked to assess his teams performance so far this season. 
'2-2 is not where we wanted to be going into Christmas. We are aiming to win out from now and all 4 games are big for us.'

Solent Redhawks
The Redhawks found themselves trying to integrate a lot of rookie talent at the beginning of the season, losing key players on both sizes of the ball last year. At 3-2, they've shown that they can rip on the bad teams of the TVC, wrapping up the points against the Oxford Lancers and the always terrible Surrey, becoming the second highest scoring offence in the conference with 142 points. 

To show that they are a decent outfit, they'll have to improve their consistency as both their losses have been tight games. With a fixture against their city rivals in a few weeks time, they'll be hoping to show the Redhawks are back competing at the top of the TVC.

Portsmouth Destroyers
Portsmouth are still an enigma in this conference. Having under performed so drastically last year and losing Russ Hewitt at the start of this year, everyone, perhaps foolishly, expected a continue downward slide by the Destroyers in the 2012-13 season. 

That might still happen, but for now they are sitting at 3-0, beating the likes of Kingston and OBU in the process and looking to be a contender for the TVC crown. The challenge Portsmouth face is playing their whole schedule, with 4 more games to be played in a short space of time.

Brighton Tsunami
Like Portsmouth, Brighton have not played many fixtures so far this season, but they've won all that they've played. Unlike Portsmouth, there isn't a general feeling that they'll be fighting for a playoff spot once the latter half of the season divulges.

Beating Surrey only 14-8 seems to suggest that 3-0 Brighton are actually a team heading for a losing record come the end of the regular season.

Surrey Stingers
Another year, another season where their opponents treat their fixture against them as a bye week. Surrey continue to be Surrey and will hope to not forfeit anymore of their remaining games. Maybe hope for a touchdown along the way. At the very least a safety on a botched-punt.

Reading Knights
Standing at 1-2, Reading are yet another team who failed to play their entire pre-Christmas schedule. Reading aren't a terrible team, but their offence has lost their dynamism with the loss of QB Ed Hopkins. The result of their next game against BNU should indicate if they're a middle of the packteam fighting for a plate spot, or a team just that little bit better than the Surrey's and the Oxford's of the division.

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