Thursday, 28 March 2013

AFL Week 2 Preview

AFL Week 2 Preview

The Danube Dragons will won't be taking the field for the first time this season.
The AFL was going to bring us a full slate of games this weekend, but because of the inclement weather both the Raiffeisen Vikings - AFC Rangers AND Danube Dragons - Graz Giants games are cancelled so I’ll only be previewing the Swarco Raiders and Prague Black Panthers matchup and will hold back my other thoughts until we get word on when the games will be played.

Saturday 30th March
Swarco Raiders @ Prague Black Panthers – 14:00 GMT

(ED :We have now had word that this game is likely cancelled too, but please enjoy the preview anyway!)

The Prague Black Panthers have had the unenviable task of facing last year’s finalists in back-to-back weeks and whilst it’s clear their program has got a lot better from last year, I don’t think anyone realistically expects them to pull of the upset against the Swarco Raiders after we witnessed them handle the Graz Giants so easily at home last Saturday.

When it comes to game planning, the Raiders have a pretty straightforward job, limit what quarterback Andrew Shoop can do in the passing game. The quarterback and his receivers showed that you cannot sleep on them when it comes to the vertical passing game as they managed to having scoring strikes of 67 and 28 yards when the Vikings believed that the game was wrapped up. Whilst Shoop isn’t quite as good with his feet as the Giant’s Alex Good, his arm looks to be a lot better and could really hurt the Raiders if they’re not tight with their coverage.

The Raiders offense is going to present a multitude of challenges for the Panthers defence and will most likely put up more points than they did last week on the Giants. Quarterback Kyle Callahan will once again be running the show and I doubt he will have to break much of a sweat to keep the scoreboard ticking over. I expect to see more of the Raiders traditional running sets this weekend so look to Andreas Hofbauer to be getting more carries.

Talib Wise made a big contribution on the scoreboard last weekend. Will he step up again?
© Florian Schellhorn from

Players to Watch
Raiders: Philipp Margreiter, Linebacker #36. A very disruptive force against the Giants where he had 2 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss along with 4 solo takedowns, look for him to be putting the pressure on Shoop in the Panther backfield.

Panthers: Jan Steigler, Wider Receiver #22. The man that caught the 67 yard touchdown pass was clearly Shoop’s favourite target as he hauled in a total of 7 passes for 146 yards. The Panthers will be hoping that Shoop to Steigler becomes a regular touchdown connection.

Jan Steigler was Shoop's main target against the Vikings

Prediction: I expect the Raiders to maintain their dominance from last weekend even if they are on the road and pull out a 45 – 10 victory.

RaidersTV will be in Prague so tune into their stream at a little before game time and you’ll probably catch some interviews and pre-match analysis to fill out your Saturday of football.

Once again we are pleased to announce that we will be working with Florian Schellhorn and to bring you some fantastic shots from the Raider's games.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A new look for...Derby Braves

It started with a throwaway comment in DC Towers, evolved into a fully blown argument, and ended with this - three teams, two re-designs, one winner.

Double Coverage writers Tom Snee and Thomas Piachaud attempt to take on re-designing the kits of the three teams - selected by you, the reader, on our Facebook page - most in need of a new look.

The rules are simple; each writer submits a kit design for each team, which has to be sympathetic to either the team's current colour palette or that of the team's university/athletic union. Other than that, it's pretty much a free for all.

The writers each submit their ideas along with a description of the "creative process", and a Facebook poll will decide the winning design.

First up, the Derby Braves.

Tom Snee
"Florida 2.0"

As the blowout, run-away winners of our poll, our dear readers believe Derby Braves are in serious need of a makeover. Orange and blue can be a sickly combination, but can be done tastefully  as hopefully I shall demonstrate (Ed: sure...).

First of all, the good news; Derby's helmets - white with an orange-over-blue stripe and a strong decal - are up there with the best in the league. I'll keep them as they are.

The rest however...not so much. My initial thought was to go down a similar angle to the Chicago Bears alternate jersey. The orange colouring and handsome typeface of the numbers sit well on the deep navy shirt, but the problem with Derby is that their AU's shade of blue is infinitely more garish.

Cruising through the comments on the poll, it seems Derby's own players prefer the Braves' white alternate jersey, and so I came to the design below, which has a real Florida Gators feel to it (Ed: You mean it copies the Florida Gators...).

As well as being practical (fewer clashes, 3G homefield meaning less mud), the jersey keeps some of the elements of the Bears alternate - sleeve stripes and traditional typeface - while adding some of Derby's favoured blue. The look is completed by the Braves' logo and that of Team Derby, with the university logo on the hip/upper thigh.

Derby's AU apparently have a rule that the team's jersey must be 70% orange, so the white look may have to be classed as the away shirt, but I still think it's a solid concept.

Austrian Football League Week 1 Review

The Prague Black Panthers take the field. © Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography
The opening two games of the AFL season took place on Saturday and Sunday and whilst both of last year’s finalists took home the spoils, the competitive nature of the AFL gave us two compelling games, both of which are going to be reviewed here.

SWARCO Raiders 31 – JCL Graz Giants 21

Alex Good fights against the Raiders defence.
The tone, and seemingly the result of the game, was set after the opening drive when without hesitation, the Graz Giants gambled on 4th and 7 and lost with only 11 yards to go from pay dirt instead of taking the field goal. It was clear that after last year’s two shootouts against the SWARCO Raiders, the Giants knew that they needed every possible point. Their belief was proved correct when Kyle Callahan and Co capitalised by driving the ball 89 yards in little over 3 minutes and put 7 points on the board.

From there, the Raiders dominated the game to until they had an insurmountable 31-0 lead with 7 minutes a 15 seconds left in the 4th.  Their dominance was highlighted by a standout performance from wide receiver and running back Talib Wise, who’s first of two touchdowns was a toe-tapping 17 yard catch to take the score to 14-0.

Graz did put up 21 straight points to close out the game, but this meant little as the game was already dead and buried. Quarterback Alex Good is clearly the teams most dangerous threat and in my opinion should have scrambled more than he did on the day, as it looked like the Raiders didn’t have a suitable answer when #7 tucked the ball and got himself upfield.

Player of the Game: Talib Wise, WR/RB #9

His punt returns were a real game changer, breaking off returns of 45 and 48 yards to give his team excellent field position as well as contributing with both a rushing and receiving score.

Talib Wise
Prediction: Wrong. I went with the upset but the Raiders were just too strong on opening day at home.

The next re-stream of the game is the 30th March at 14:30 CET at

Prague Black Panthers 14 – Raiffeisen Vikings 31

© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Last year’s champs started their title defence at home in Vienna against a new look Prague Black Panthers who were out to shock the league on opening day. In what was reportedly some cold and windy conditions, the two sides put on a good show with the Raiffeisen Vikings showing their class to race to a 24-0 lead before the Black Panthers showed how much they have grown as a team from last year’s two shutouts by putting up two nice looking touchdown passes in a mini comeback bid.

Whilst the Vikings presented a very balanced attack, the Panthers were too one dimensional to really threaten the tough Vikings defence as their rushing game was non existent, the only man with positive yardage in the rushing column was quarterback Andrew Shoop. Our highlighted player Christoph Gross looked on point with his throws and was very efficient, only letting a poor decision on a deep ball blot his copybook with an interception on the day.

Being the first game of the season both teams will have kinks to iron out going into week two. The Vikings will look to capitalise on the momentum they have by rolling last year’s bottom dwellers the AFC Rangers whilst the Black Panthers can take heart in the emergence of their passing game and look to utilise it more in next weekends game against the Swarco Raiders.

Player of the Game: Christoph Gross, QB #8

Gross quickly got back into his groove from last season tossing 2 touchdowns to go along with his 258 yards passing which included an 85 yard strike to Stefan Holzinger.

Chris Gross found last season's form a sliced up the Panther defence.  © Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Prediction: Correct. The Vikings didn’t reach the 40 point mark whilst the Black Panthers exceeded expectations by 4 points but overall the result was pretty expected.

Andrew Shoop on the run.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Ross' Season Prediction Score: 1-1

Double Coverage would like to give a big thank you to Kellner Holly Thomas and Gridiron Photography for providing us with pictures of the Panthers - Vikings game. We will be working together throughout the season to bring you some of the best shots from the league. Please visit the Gridiron Photography page and give it a 'like'.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Interview with Josef Åhman

Interview with Josef Åhman

Double Coverage: Despite American football being the biggest sport in the USA, in most other parts of the world it's still at various levels in its development cycle. Was there any particular reason why FISU felt like now was the right time to add an American football WUC to the schedule?

Josef Åhman: It was IFAF who started this process some years ago. FISU has been positive throughout the process, since American football has a strong base in university sports. There is a process that new sports have to follow before they are accepted and American football filled all requirements. 

For example there are 100 university teams in Europe and 250 university teams in Asia. The Swedish University Sports Federation has a tradition of introducing new sports on the FISU program, so we have followed the process closely and decided to send in our candidature as soon as there was a possibility.

The First American Football World University Championship Announcement

 The 9th of March was a historic day for international and university American Football as the International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced a partnership with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) to put everyone’s beloved game onto the FISU sports programme.

Along with this announcement it was also revealed that the very first World University Championship (WUC) in American Football would be held in Uppsala, Sweden in 2014.

With the GB Students off to Uppsala on the 6th of April to face Sweden themselves, Double Coverage secured a couple of interviews with the key figures organising the event in Sweden to discover some specifics about the very first WUC and what that will mean for students in the future.

Ross Watson posed questions to both Martin Söderberg and Josef Åhman. Martin is the Project Manager of the WUC and a key figure within the Uppsala 86er organisation whilst Josef is the Secretary General of the Swedish University Sports Federation and has worked closely with the FISU in organising the event.

London Olympians Murray Dumas on the season ahead

London Olympians offensive coordinator Murray Dumas is anticipating an exciting season in store as the South Londoners look to move back among the American football elite in Great Britain.
The Olympians won the first of their back-to-back EuroBowl's 20 years ago and won the British title 10 out of 11 years from 1996-2006, but have seen crosstown rivals London Blitz, from north of the Thames, and London Warriors, from the west of the city, set themselves apart from the rest of the BAFA National League in recent seasons.

“With two teams, the Warriors and Blitz, they've got many coaches and players who have come from our club, when we were at the height, so those two teams particularly, practice well and prepare very well,” Dumas said. “A lot of teams over the last five years, from what I have seen, they've dropped back a little bit and now they're seeing the old ways of what we used to be coming through with the Warriors and Blitz and they saw that we've come back, they're now stepping up. This season should be very exciting.”

Dumas initially joined the Olympians in 1998, during their decade of dominance, and was with the club until 2007, before taking a five-year break and returning to the club last year and remembers the championship years with fondness.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Finals Day Postponed - Update and Full Statement

The BAFA Universities Finals Day - scheduled for tomorrow - has been cancelled due to the current weather conditions hitting the north of the country.

The event, which had been slated for the John Charles Stadium - now faces rearrangement, continuing what has been a torrid winter for the sport in its first season of BUCS recognition.

In a statement sent to Double Coverage earlier today, Director of Student Football Andy Fuller said;

"I write to inform you that having had discussions with various parties involved with the American football Finals Day a decision has been made to postpone the finals due to the inclement weather conditions affecting venues and travel.

"I have this morning, sought to speak with all Athletic Unions so we can action the immediate steps of cancelling transport and wider arrangements.

"I will retain a dialogue with all parties throughout the day on the issue of rescheduling. From a team perspective this will involve the Athletic Unions (representing the institution) and the Head Coaches (given the need to ensure people can arrange time away from other commitments).

"Once agreement has been reached on how we will progress we will release details."

With the Easter holidays already here for many institutions, and the BAFANL season approaching fast, the league will be under pressure to solve this situation swiftly.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Final Interview: Adrian Giles

Coach Giles ponders his next move (he's the none shouty one)

Pretty in pink, NTU Head Coach Adrian Giles let us interview him before the Challenge trophy in the final...

DC: First of all coach, congratulations on reaching the first finals game for the NTU program. How does it feel to be going to the big show?

Thank you, it’s been a while in the making, we always seemed to get close, but stumbled at the last step. Even going into the 4th quarter last Sunday i had that dreaded feeling, that maybe, we were going to fall at the final hurdle again! But now we’re there, it’s great and we’re trying to treat it as just another week of prep, planning and training for a game. In the back of your head though there is a voice going “ITS THE NATIONAL FINAL!!”

DC: How much forward planning has gone into developing NTU into one of the stronger MAC programs?

When i took over as Head Coach at the beginning of the 2011/12 season i wanted to build a strong and perennial program. I looked around at those teams that have always competed year in and year out, to see what made them so good and then imitate them. Closest to us were Birmingham and Loughborough, and Wayne and Paul (Birmingham and Loughborough head coaches respectively) have been a font of knowledge for us, which we have acted upon, and this has allowed us to grow year on year.

Previous years with NTU we had approximately 4-6 coaches, but i knew we needed more, so I called a few old football heads that I’d played and coached with over the years and added to an already steady staff. I brought in Offensive Coordinator Scott Messom, someone I’d coached at youth and had played with at senior level for many years. I knew that we had the same ideology of football and in fact, many times, I’ll chip in with a play, only to be told that it had just been called!!! I’m in his head!!

Defensively we were solid, Defensive Coordinator Karl Walkinshaw and i shared Coordinator duties in the previous 2 years, so we had again, same ideology, play tough, solid defence. We have built on that coaching staff each year and hope to extend it even further for next year.

One thing I’ve learnt is that you can never have too many coaches!!!!

Hopefully now with BUCS increasing our potential sway with the AU, we can get bigger and better, we have a good relationship with them and it can only get better.

Final Interview: Gareth Thomas

"Aliens..." c/o Annabel Wolf
As a second year head coach he has led the Stags to their first final since the single institution split with Solent. Before the big game, we spoke with Gareth Thomas...

This may not be the final you were aiming for at the start of the season, but how important would a win be on Saturday for the Stags going forward?

We were disappointed to not make it into the Championship playoffs, but all games are important and this one is no different. It's not the final we were aiming for but it will allow the team to develop further and provide a solid base for next season.

NTU, like the Stags, have put up some impressive performances in the plate post-season. What do you expect to see from them?

I think NTU's results speak for themselves. Few points conceded and a lot of points scored. We know their offense is dangerous but we have a Defense that is flexible and can adapt quickly to key threats. NTU's Defense will be a challenge but again, we are able to adapt our offense to attack any weaknesses we find. I think on both sides of the ball it's going to be a tough game and that opportunities need to be taken quickly as they won't last long.

Your offence seems to have been somewhat limited in its production after Christmas. But having put up 29 and 35 points in the last two weeks, are they back to the offence we saw before the Christmas break?

Offensively we've been working on developing different personnel in key positions. We've been plagued with injuries and this highlighted a slight lack of depth in some positions. We've worked hard to improve this and it's good to see the offense putting points back on the board, however i don't think we've seen the full potential of our offensive unit unleashed yet.

Defensively you have been exceptionally strong this year, only conceding 42 points in the regular season. Do you expect NTU’s offence to be the strongest you have faced all season?

We've faced a wide variety of different formations and styles this year. It's been tough to adjust to all of these on a weekly basis but we've always spent  lot of time and effort in scouting our opponents. I think this has been the key to the defenses success over the past years. NTU pose a different threat to previous teams we've faced and it's difficult to comment on whether they will be the strongest we've come up against but we will certainly be preparing with the mindset that this is our toughest game yet.

Final Interview: Dana Neale

He's the one in the middle with the ball c/o Gordon Dedman
Probably the easiest interview we could do, with DC writer and Southampton Stags Quarterback Dana Neale...

DC: This is the first final for the Stags after the single institution split, do you feel that this shows the Stags are back to their previous form?

My first year was the second season after the split. All of our coaches talk endlessly about past seasons where they dominated the league, which really motivates us and gives us belief that under their guidance, this group of players could also become a unit up there with the best of the league.

The Stags will only be back to their previous form once they’re in the Championship final, something we were very close to last year. Winning the plate would be an incredible achievement for us and would set us up with a great foundation for next season.

DC: Is there a hint of disappointment that you aren't competing in the national championship?

There is. After reaching the national semi-final and without an exodus of players in the last off-season, we all know we should have done better. Having said that, we all know that the plate is an excellent opportunity for us to win silverware and we will be as determined as ever to win this game.

DC:You had quite a bad injury during the season, how has the recovery been and how are you doing now?

I redid a previous injury that happened several years ago. I am as fine as I ever will be. It may limit my mobility a little bit, but there was very little to limit in the first place.

DC: This is the first ever meeting between NTU and Southampton, do you think there will be any surprises?

Not any surprises per se. We know they have a defence that gets plenty of turnovers, a strong running game and more than competent passing game. We expect to see that and we’ll have a work cut out for us.

DC: Your offence has struggled versus other top units in the TVC (Brighton, Portsmouth), are you concerned about NTU's strong defence?

If you look at our results before Christmas, our offence put up numbers similar to that of last years. After Christmas injuries hit us hard in the offensive backfield and we simply weren't good enough. We know how NTU’s defence likes to flock to the ball, especially their DB’s.

We have developed two offences during the season, one with me at QB and another with #83 Tommaso Bendoni at QB, running about the place. I’m confident that with this diversity, we’ll find a way to score points. We’ll see whether we can score enough.

Final Interview: Marcus Boswell

His face has been grinning maniacally at you on numerous Inkspot media highlight videos, but as president of NTU he has helped lead the fourth year program to the Challenge Trophy final. We spoke with GB and NTU Corner back (among other things) Marcus Boswell...

DC: After two years of losing in the post season you've finally made it. How does it feel to be a finalist? How important is it for a young program like NTU to get their first trophy?

It was easy to see how much it meant to the lads at the final whistle [last weekend], every single player and coach ran onto the pitch in a burst of excitement because everyone knows the struggle we've had before at that hurdle. Thankfully this time we jumped over it!

We feel like this will boost the reputation of our programme; it may only be in it's fourth year but already the team has left an impact on the league and we want to be known as a great programme. Winning the first trophy will no doubt help us achieve that title of a great programme, not just team.

DC: Anything particularly new in the build up to such a big game?

No not really! We haven't changed our style at any point during the post season or even during the regular season; we look at our opponents in as much depth as we can in all three phases of the game and talk about our different positions and how we can look to beat the man in front of us.

We have been sorting out how we are going to get as much support up in Leeds with us as possible which is slightly difficult seeing as many of those who wanted to come to the game are setting off for Sports Tour on Saturday morning, but we hope to get plenty of support down all the same from our Alumni and WAGS!

DC: A lot of people presume your entire team is reliant on Danny Miller, can you give us a few other names to look out for?

Everybody knows Danny because he is an elite player and athlete, in my eyes there is no shame in our team having the reputation because these people do not see what Danny offers to the rest of the guys. Experience in abundance, a calm head on the field – the guy is an Outside Linebacker playing Quarterback for a top program – and most importantly his reputation allows for our other play makers be overlooked, which usually comes back to bite teams.

In terms of specific names, if anyone has watched our highlight reels, which Inkspot Media so brilliantly produced for us, every game we have someone else stepping up into the spotlight as either the 'go-to' receiver or the one to stay away from defensively. I don't think I need to name names, we have play makers all over the field and every one of our guys are capable of making a game changing play at any point. Better still, every Renegade is playing for their brother on the field and off.

DC: One of the overlooked parts of your team is the defence, which only conceded 78 points during the regular season and has posted two shutouts in the post season. Are you happy with the performance and almost playing second fiddle to the powerhouse offence?

The Renegades defence has been a renowned force in the league since the first year; all the team's points came from defence in that first season. We were worried at the start of the year having lost some very influential players both on the field and off, but guys have stepped up tremendously and we have rookies making plays you wouldn't expect on a regular basis. When you add the 14 points our defence has contributed to during the season and the large number of shutouts, everyone sees that our defence are still as good as ever.

As a unit the defence receives continuous praise and gratitude from our offense. The way the defence hands over brilliant field position to the offense means they have an easier time and they acknowledge that. The first thing both Danny Miller and our Offensive Coordinator Scott Messom said after the Glasgow game was to thank the defence for giving the offense the chance to win the game for them after a hard fought scoreless first half. Our offense appreciate the efforts our defence gives for the team and that is all that matters to us.

DC: It looked like you took quite a nasty knock last Sunday. With the short week are you going to be recovered in time for the final? A Number of other players went down as well, are there any concerns?

I had a bit of a panic, I didn't want to let my teammates down by being injured and not being with them to win that game. 100% I will be on that sideline kitted up with the rest of my guys ready to bring that trophy to Trent.

The surface on Sunday was quite slippery when it started raining and as both teams were going all out to earn the place in the final, it took its toll. All the lads who have been knocked up are doing the sensible thing and speaking to physios and such to get themselves physically ready.

DC: What went through your head when you were doing your lower third graphic intro? Do you regret going for the cheesy grin/thumbs up combination?

During the summer league I did a similar thing for the Nottingham Caesars graphics. I think I watched Nutty Professor before the shoot and Jerome Edwards agreed that it would be comical to try my hand at an Eddie Murphy cheesy grin this time around.

I think it's funny to watch, but unfortunately for everyone watching I try and make a lot of plays so I guess it pops up a fair few times. But no, I don't regret it!

DC: Danny Miller for MVP?

YES! The guy leads the team on a weekly basis on and off the field, he makes everyone better around him and I know that I would have struggled to become the player I have turned into without his guidance. So yes, Daniel Miller for MVP!

The Wolf Bowl Preview

The Elite take the field in Marlow on Saturday 23rd for their first ever tournament against Marlow A and B teams and the .
The Elite are a women’s flag team made up of the UK’s best players led by Head Coach Andrew Gambrill and his staff at The Elite Women Project (EWP). The EWP was set up to help develop the women’s game and although not a part of the National Programme they work closely with BUAFL, BAFA and the Great Britain Lions.

This particular landmark comes around 9 months into the programme and will be a good indicator as to where the women’s game is at.

In such a new team, experience is in short supply and will come from players like Coventry Jets Defensive Back, Tendai Chieza. Chieza originally from Zimbabwe enters her 4th season and is widely regarded as The Elite’s finest. When asked about the knowledge the older players bring to the team Chieza responded in typical fashion “Yes we have more responsibility because we have to lead by example in our conduct and our abilities. But we can't forget that it's a competition and we intend to win.”

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Austrian Football League Preview

Austrian Football League 2013 Preview

Here at DC towers, we like to broaden our football knowledge and coverage any way we can. With the BUAFL season coming to a close this Saturday it's time to take a dip into another league in Europe, the Austrian Football League.

Austria as a footballing country competes in group A (the top level) of the European Championships and naturally has one of the better senior leagues on the continent. The men’s league in Austria has four divisions, with the top division being known as the Austrian Football League (AFL) and containing six teams:

JCL Giants Graz -
Swarco Raiders Tirol -
AFC Rangers -
Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna -

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Fact me up Scotty!

Some random facts for your enjoyment.

  • Birmingham, the #5 ranked team according to the official rankings, defeated the #2 (Derby) , #4 (Stirling) and #12 (Leeds Met) seeds en route to the final. Double Coverage had them ranked either #1 (on the RP poll) or #2 (on the writers poll)
  • Birmingham are the only team in Uni Football history to make five consecutive finals.
  • No team has ever lost three finals in a row. Birmingham would be the first if they fail to win next weekend.
  • Hertfordshire will win their sixth championship if they win on Sunday. They currently lead with five overall, Southampton and Hull have four (Hull have a shared title with Cardiff after a horrible game in 1988), Birmingham and Loughborough have three.
  • The last teams to face each other in back to back finals were Loughborough and Oxford (Cavaliers) in the 2001 and 2002 finals. Oxford won in 2001 (26-23) and Loughborough won in 2002 (39-22).
  • Hertfordshire and Birmingham have both been to six finals each, with this weekend being the 7th for each program. Hertfordshire have a record of 5-1 and Birmingham have a record of 3-3.
  • In the Challenge trophy this will be the first time a TVC team has played a team from the MAC. In fact, it will be the first time a team from either division has made it to the final!
  • Southampton have never lost a final when they get to the big game, with an impressive 4-0 record.
  • This is the first time NTU have made a final since the single institution split in 09/10. This is also the first time they will play Southampton, another team the was split with the formation of Solent.
  • NTU have made the Challenge trophy semi finals twice and lost to SWAC teams. They did not face a SWAC team in the post season this year.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Challenge Trophy Predictions

Glasgow Tigers vs NTU Renegades

It would be stereotypical of me to add a video of the Proclaimers, but really this is one hell of a trek for NTU to under take. Danny Miller and Co make the journey north with the hope of a first finals appearance in the teams history. They've been highly rated all season by the DC writers and we fancied them to be pushing for the title. However the not so insignificant barrier of Glasgow stand in their way.

Putting aside the slightly shifty film habits (or lack of sharing film habits) Glasgow have shown and some questionable refereeing at times against BNU, credit has to be given to the Tigers. Only one team had held BNU to under 20 points this seasons and they largely shut down running back Danny Wallace.

This week they will have to shut down Danny Miller, dual threat phenom that scores with his feet and has been known to throw the ball every now and then. Rumors are that the NTU offence may be a little dinged up though, so that could really throw things into the mixer!

Almost an NTU clean sweep, but again it's another game that could be closer than people think.

Southampton Stags vs Leeds Celtics

A team that many (including us) had down as TVC champions and national title contenders, the Stags confidently dispatched Manchester in last weeks game. They will be expecting nothing less than a finals appearance and with a strong defence giving their offence plenty of good field position we can expect Leeds may struggle.

Southampton are healthy on offence once more and QB Dana Neale will  be looking to maintain the current run to add some silverware to the stags trophy cabinet.

No game for Leeds last week despite the best efforts of everyone involved to get the game played midweek instead. You have to wonder if the shortened week will effect either team, as neither of them knew who was playing who until Leed's were officially declared winners on Wednesday.

As a team with national Championship caliber, we expect Southampton to win this one comfortably.

National Championship Predictions

It's getting closer now!

With only one weekends worth of fixtures left before the final there are some very interesting games set up. Some may think that calling them is easy, however if anything this post season has shown us that nothing is guaranteed!

Scoring so far is fairly even, with Simon Love streaking ahead into the lead with 15 correct predictions and three upsets picks as well. His only incorrect pick so far has been BNU over Glasgow. Pikachu brings up the tail with a woeful 9 points.

Derby Braves vs Birmingham Lions

Last year this would have been a forgone conclusion in the MAC. Derby struggled to compete in a division with NTU, Loughborough and Birmingham and were often the bridesmaids, but never the brides. What a difference a trip up north makes! This game gives Derby an opportunity to dispell the myth that that northern football just isn't up to it. 

Irish American Football Association News

We have a week’s break from Irish fixtures this week with no games in both the Shamrock Bowl Conference and IAFL-1. Time to reflect on the Leagues so far and bring you a spot of news then!

Firstly IAFA announced that they have given formative membership to a new team in the hope that they can field a team in 2014. The Dundalk Mavericks are still looking for players, coaches and off-field personnel but the skeleton of a squad is there, and with youth and potential in bags.

Shamrock Bowl Conference

What has surprised us most in the Shamrock Bowl Conference this year? Firstly the main talking point has to be the UL Vikings’ drop in form. They’ve headed to the last seven Shamrock Bowls and, although they’ve lost the last three, they were favourites to make it again this year.

The season opener was a nervy one, with the Vikings taking a narrow 11-0 win against UCD, but then came the 20-0 shocking defeat against Trinity. The Vikings have had to deal with a few retirements including captain Liam Ryan and Head Coach Ciaran O’Sullivan, as well as injuries to starting quarterback Marc Ashworth but they still have bucket-loads of talent on the team.

The UL Vikings will want to bounce back against UCD - photo by Nathan James Sharrocks

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

NFL Free Agency: Day 1

The NFL has been working on making each event on the calendar a huge event to be built up to and then unleashed on an unsuspecting public and then followed frenetically as it unfolds. Fueled by the Blackberries and iPhones of NFL news mavens, who earn their crust on days like this, the opening of Free Agency has taken on a likeness to Sky Sports Transfer deadline day without the presence of Jim White (what can only be considered a bonus).

Here are your big story lines from last nights actions
(rankings are from Pro Football Talks hot 100 followed by details of contracts where available)

Miami and Cleveland make big moves early
Cleveland are a team with a completely new management structure in place and need to make huge strides to improve their team quickly, Miami are at the other end of the scale with a need to improve dramatically to save the job of the current GM, Jeff Ireland.

In Cleveland new General Manager Mike Lombardi (yes, him off NFL Network) moved to restock their defence and eat up some of their spare cap space with the additions of former Raiders Defensive Tackle Desmond Bryant (ranked #33 5 years $34m) and Superbowl winning outside linebacker Paul Kruger (ranked #7, 5 years $40m with $20m guarenteed). They're also due to host former Cardinals linebacker Greg Toler.

Miami made improvements on both sides of the ball with the addition of Mike Wallace (ranked #1, 5 years £60m(!)) to give their offence a deep threat that has been missing since they traded Brandon Marshall to Chicago. On the defensive side of the ball they picked up Ravens middle Linebacker Danell Ellerbe (ranked #39, 5 years £35m) and then promptly released Carlos Dansby to restore some cap space.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Irish Scoring Charts and League Tables

Shamrock Bowl Conference

Another weekend in the SBC and a somewhat disappointing one. Not for the games played but for the two postponed games due to waterlogged pitches. Cork-UCD and Dublin Rebels-Belfast Trojans fell victim to the weather but Carrickfergus and Craigavon played on, with the Knights grabbing a 20-0 win thanks to a Spencer McDowell TD and a pair of scores by Darren Montgomery.

League Tables

Scoring Charts


In the IAFL-1 a single safety separated the teams for the second week in a row as the Dublin Dragons made experience count, beating the DV-8s graduates, the Meath Bulldogs 2-0.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Shamrock Bowl Conference and IAFL-1 Preview

Shamrock Bowl Conference

The Irish leagues are moving quickly! Too quickly!

The weather has already taken its toll upon the Shamrock Bowl Conference with the season opener between Trinity and UCD being called off a few weeks ago. And so the same has happened again, with probably the most anticipated game of the season so far. The reigning champions, the Belfast Trojans, were scheduled to head to Dublin to take on the Rebels, the first team to notch up 100 IAFL wins last weekend.

With that in mind we turn our attentions to the other games. First up the clash of two Northern teams as the Craigavon Cowboys head to Carrickfergus to take on the Knights.

Photo by Ariane Boudias

The Cowboys opened their season with a 46-13 loss against the reigning Champions, the Trojans. But those numbers are encouraging. They led the game early on and managed to score twice on a Trojan defence that was nigh on impenetrable last year. They’ll rely on quarterback Peter Loughran’s ability to pass and run the ball himself to mix this game up and keep the Knights’ defence on its toes.

Friday, 8 March 2013

National Championship Predictions

Stirling Clansmen vs. Birmingham Lions

Our writers unanimously picked Birmingham, however I think this game is less of the foregone conclusion that it might appear to many to be (judging by the perceived weakness of the Saltire division by many). Birmingham hammered Leeds Met in the wild card round, and seemed to dominate on all sides of the ball, scoring on O and D. However, rumours have been flying about an injury to star QB Tristan Varney, with news of apparent reinjury to his knee being rife. While its not possible to know until Sunday whether he will play or not, his absence could hamper the team somewhat. That being said, they got to the final last year without him, and they have plenty of backups on the team to take his mantle and make plays.

Stirling have been posting scores this season that have some people shifting uncomfortably in their seat. Grant Isdale scored numerous touchdowns for Team Europe at Houston, and they have depth all across the board. I think the Clansmen will be very much looking forward to getting their teeth into this game, but their lack of experience against quality opposition (especially along the OL and DL) might hamper them significantly.

Prediction – Tough one, but we think the Lions will edge it.

Hull Sharks vs. Bath Killer Bees

Bath pulled out the biggest upset since David beat Goliath in the bible! Seems some people were genuinely upset too, with a 4th and 33 being converted being somewhat reminiscent of Ray Rice against the San Diego Chargers this year (ok, it was a pass interference penalty, but let’s ham it up). Bath are now turned from the underdogs to the favourites by our writers, with only Rich and Piachaud going for Hull over the Killer Bees. 

Hull are somewhat less impressive than some other conference champions in the posting of their scores, but they are still deserved of the position, and this should turn out to be a great game. I think the question must be, how can they stop spectators eyes bleeding with the kits on show?

Prediction – Hull to rely on home field advantage and win by a score.

Derby Braves vs. Portsmouth Destroyers

Could we all be having déjà vu from two years ago. The Destroyers post a quiet season, then really start to pick it up post season, with Hell week (4 games in a week) out of the way, and sweeping aside (albeit not easily at 22-18) TVC rivals Kingston, they are now well and truly on the path to the final. The advantage for a predictor in the wild card round is you can judge the relative strength of a conference based on the outcome of a game between two cross conference opponents. As Portsmouth played someone in the TVC, it’s incredibly hard to tell how they might fare outside of the conference, and on the road, especially against a team like Derby.

Now, call me old school, but the old adage used to be that the South was better than the North at football, no matter what. Although the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th seed are all held by Northern teams! Also, having seen film, it seems they have learned to throw up there too! Perhaps this is why Hallam’s double wing has been less effective this year, although Saul’s turncloak may have more to do with it!

Derby, horrible uniforms aside, look good this year, and the Destroyers must be somewhat exhausted from so much football! Only Luke (repping the TVC) thought the Destroyers would pull out the win on this one.

Prediction – Derby win this by a score.

Hertfordshire Hurricanes vs. Sheffield Sabres

The champion fixture. National champs vs Challenge champs. Sheffield have impressed this year, scoring lots, and conceding few, and if they were going into any other fixture than this, I’m sure there would be something more to be said about their possibility of victory, especially given how easily they dispatched SWAC champs UWE. However, they are playing the only remaining purple people eater team, Hertfordshire. Firstly, I’m sure the Hurricanes are Killer Bee fans allowing them to avoid Loughborough (a fixture that is always tasty). Secondly, the Herts offence has been on fire this year scoring 440, and their D only conceding 33.

I really wish I could dish out an upset prediction here if only because the Sabres have finally emerged from the Warriors shadow and are a real force, but this Hurricane is blowing all the way to the final say DC towers.

Prediction – Herts to run away with this one.

Challenge Trophy Predictions

Southampton Stags vs. Manchester Tyrants

I had the pleasure of scouring the internet for score updates on Manchester/Kent last week, and in fact I fleeced myself after someone incorrectly reported the scores based on the seedings that I had posted, and I thought this was a score! Fool to me, this game actually went into 2OT with both teams scoring! In the end, possibly the gutsiest call a coach can make, go for 2. It was a tense 2 minutes sitting at the keyboard, but Manchester scored the 2pt and went through (seems odd both teams scored twice in OT when they didn’t the rest of the game).

Southampton are probably not exactly happy with how their season has panned out. Losing to Brighton in such a close fought game (3-2) more reminiscent of a soccer score than football, and then losing out to bitter south coast rivals Portsmouth, the mood must have been a little dark in the changing room come the end of the season. However, they have the opportunity to still seal some silverware, and are probably one of the favourite to do so, our writers certainly think so.

Prediction – Stags to win by two scores

Warwick Wolves vs. Leeds Celtics

No offence to Edinburgh intended, and they have themselves admitted they were surprised to be in the post season, but can you really call playing a 2-4-2 record team a playoff game? This week is the real playoff game. Warwick have emerged this year with a tough D, however the offensive production has been somewhat lacking. This is the first game which has been a little more undecided from our writers with Willy and Simon both choosing Leeds, but can the Celtics tame the Wolves?

Prediction – Warwick edge this one by less than seven.

#TeamPHD vs. NTU Millergades

NTU may wear pink, but they handed the Pirates a good old fashioned pummelling in the wild card round, they will be running high off that impressive win. Sometimes a bye week can serve to lose focus or momentum as opposed to helping, and it could be a case of this happening this week, with NTU riding high as opposed to having extra week training.

Cambridge also beat UEA during the regular season; however the score was a little less impressive. In DCs opinion it boils down to one thing with NTU, if you want a chance to win, you have to stop Danny Miller, who consistently makes plays through the air and ground. Although even if you manage to stop Miller you need to score against a tough, blitz heavy, offence. Perhaps the Pythons can compute their way round this one, but our writers don’t think so (Pikachu has a vested interest). We will look forward to seeing this encounter through InkSpot next week!

Prediction – Expect some highlights next week as NTU leave Cambridge with the ‘W’!

Glasgow Tigers vs. BNU Buccaneers

Let’s face it, such a long journey is perfect for a team named after Pirates. Swash buckling along the M1, they aim to plunder ye olde treasure protected by exotic Tigers. BNU brought it close with Gloucester, with their Doublewing pushing through in the second half, a very physical offence that is hard to stop for all four quarters. Gloucester will most likely be kicking themselves for not being able to contain them.

The tigers on the other hand pose a different kind of conundrum, some definitive wins against the other teams in the Saltire, but some severe beatings by Stirling pose a real thought provoker. Will Glasgow show the rest of the league the Saltire means business by pulling out a win? All of our writers say no, but we’ve been wrong before!

Prediction – BNU run wild and win by two scores

Thursday, 7 March 2013

NFL Draft: AFC Team Needs

We covered the NFC yesterday, but what will teams in the AFC be looking for in the off season?

AFC North 

Baltimore Ravens – Pick #32
The Super Bowl Champs are yet to feel the full repercussions of Joe Flacco’s new deal, but the economic fallout is bound to shape how their picks are used. Personally, I don’t see a stand out, need position player who will be available in this spot for the Ravens and think that they should look for a team willing to trade up and stockpile another second round pick.

If the Ravens were to keep hold of this pick then I think they look at either a corner or safety due to the likely departure of Cary Williams and quite possibly Ed Reed. Another position to watch for when the Ravens are on the clock is the inside linebacker spot with Hall of Famer Ray Lewis hanging up the cleats post Super Bowl.
Team Needs: WR, CB, S, ILB

Cincinnati Bengals – Pick #21
The Cincinnati Bengals in recent years have had varied success within the division but with two years of successful playoff appearances they now seem to have a solid, dependable core of players.

Putting the extra pieces into place is what is going to take this team to the next level, and that means getting help in both the safety spot as well as at running back. Chris Crocker is now an unrestricted free agent but is nothing special and the rest of the secondary is a similar story.

Upgrading the running back spot is vital as the Andy Dalton – A.J. Green connection is now overplayed and ‘The Law Firm’ isn’t exactly a game changer.
Team Needs - LB, S, RB

Cleveland Browns – Pick #6
I can tell you what the Browns don’t need, and that’s a running back! The pickup of Trent Richardson looks a surefire hit for years to come in Cleveland, now they just have to follow that up with another impact player.

Defensive end is the clear need in Cleveland who haven’t had a consistent pass rush in quite some time. Finding a edge rusher is tough in the AFC North as whoever it is needs to be very stout against the run as well as obviously getting to the QB.

The other big need that the Browns could be looking to address is finding an offensive lineman who is going to clear the way for Richardson and with the number 6 pick they’re in a perfect spot to have a star at either one of those positions.
Team Needs: TE, DE, OL

Pittsburgh Steelers – Pick #17
As with the two teams listed above, the Steelers need help at safety with both Polamalu and Clark on their way out of the building soon and a lack of top tier talent waiting in the wings. Age is a real concern all across the board in Pittsburgh who have very good players at almost every spot on the field but need a lot of young blood to develop if they are to rise to the top again.

Wide receiver is looking like an area of need with the possibility of Mike Wallace hitting free agency, so they'll need a new deep threat for Ben Roethlisberger to sling the rock to.
Team Needs: ILB, NT, WR

UAE Football: Desert Bowl

From Sport360

Image c/o Sport360
The inaugural Emirates American Football League (EAFL) comes to a close this weekend with the highly anticipated Desert Bowl.

After a grueling first season that has seen teams for the first time in the UAE participate in an organised league, the playoffs come to a close this Friday - March 8 - and only one team can take home the first ever Desert Bowl and mark their name in Emirati American football history.

The playoffs have already thrown up thrills and spills after two heart-stopping semi-final games that saw the Abu Dhabi Wildcats controversially avoid a shock defeat to the Al Ain Desert Foxes, while the Dubai Stallions marked out their championship credentials with a huge win over local rivals Barracudas.

Starting off as a fledgling idea from a few American football enthusiasts, the league has blossomed, attracting fans every week, gaining new sponsorships and creating the much needed story lines that propel any league anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

NFL Draft: NFC Team Needs

As the window for teams to franchise tag players closes we take a closer look at NFL teams needs for free agency and the draft.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers  - Pick #26
The draft gurus are telling us that the Packers are really looking for a 3-4 end, the problem here is that with the 26th overall pick, the premier names at end in the draft are most likely going to be off the board and the Packers might look to trade back for extra picks and take a project of just pull the trigger on the highest rated player on their draft board. 

The next biggest need is the running back spot and despite this hole the Packers have still managed to win so many games, so what would happen if they get a legitimate back? Current draft grumblings would indicate that using the 26th pick on one of the drafts backs could be a little rich, but the Packers might feel the need so bad that they go ahead with it anyway.

Team Needs - DT, OL, RB

Minnesota Vikings – Pick #23
Running back, just joking!! The Vikings do need more offensive help but at another skill position, wide receiver. There’s going to be a Percy Harvin shaped hole in the teams offense because of his desire to leave due to football reasons so hitting on a receiver at some point is going to be vital. 

The next position the team will be looking at, but probably not in the first round, is a linebacker that has good coverage skills due to the Vikings defense running a lot of nickel as well as Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson becoming unrestricted free agents.

Team Needs - CB, S, WR, LB

Chicago Bears – Pick #20
Even though I’m not a Bears fan it will pain me to see the Bears likely using their pick on a target for Jay Cutler seeing as he will likely just throw it into traffic anyway. 

Tight end is the most pressing need and probably the direction that Chicago will go, but don’t rule of the potential of the Bears drafting a speed receiver to complement Brandon Marshall.

Team Needs - CB, OL, WR, TE

Detroit Lions – Pick #5
NEWS FLASH!! Lions have a top 5 pick and will take a wide receiver! *All Lions fans bury their heads in hands*

With six defensive linemen set to become unrestricted free agents the Lions will probably make the smart choice and draft a young lineman to bolster the ranks. Cliff Avril is the key party to keep an eye on in all of this because if he gets re-signed then drafting an end becomes slightly less pressing and the focus could shift to corner back.

Team Needs -  OL, S, DL, CB

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Play-offs - Loughborough stung by Bath

Commentary of the whole game can be found here

The Bath Killer Bees made history again on Sunday, beating Loughborough 14-13 in a thriller to send them to the playoff quarter finals.

Although the 8-0 Killer Bees (#6) were the favourites on paper, the 7-1 Loughborough (#11) were heavily favoured by most commentators heading into the game due to the perceived strength of the MAC compared to the SWAC. Loughborough’s only loss of the year came against the Birmingham Lions by a score of 28-19, and they had barely been challenged the rest of the season.

Loughborough’s day got off to a bad start when their coach broke down on the way to the South West – luckily this didn’t hold them up too much, and the game kicked off on time with Bath receiving the ball.

The first quarter was largely uneventful, Bath’s first drive coming to nothing and leading to an early punt. Loughborough responded with a strong drive, picking up several first downs but ultimately ending in a turnover on downs after a dropped 4th down pass at the Bath 30. Another Bath three and out led to a booming Mike Hutchinson punt which was downed on the Loughborough 1. Loughborough tried to pass on first down, but Alex Reilly timed his blitz perfectly and wrapped up GB Students QB James Slack in the endzone. Slack managed to jettison the ball just before going down, and luckily for him there was an eligible receiver in the area so there was no intentional grounding and a safety was not awarded. The first quarter ended with CB Nick Wiggett knocking the ball out of the hands of a Loughborough receiver in the endzone on 2nd down, and then Alex Reilly laying the boom on Lenkowski in the backfield on 3rd.

Loughborough started the 2nd with a 42 yard Lenkowski field goal attempt, but this was hooked wide left and the score remained 0-0. Bath QB Christoph Cox was then hit as he threw a pass, resulting in an air ball which was intercepted by Loughborough #9 and returned to the Bath 14. A heroic defensive stand was required to prevent a score, and hyper-veteran Liam Emmett obliged with a stunning pick on the edge of the endzone to return possession back to the Bees.

Unfortunately they couldn’t do anything with this possession either, and the ball was punted to around midfield. Loughborough completed a good pass for a chunk of yardage, but Lenkowski fumbled at the Bath 18 and the Killer Bees recovered it to halt another promising drive. Yet another three and out led to another Hutchinson punt, but Loughborough #42 muffed it to start a day of kick-fielding woes for the team formerly known as the Aces, and Bath got a fresh set of downs at their own 40. Some good running from Bobby Nightingale got Bath within half a yard of a first down, but predictably Bath did not make the yardage and had to punt.

Another fantastic Hutchinson kick pinned Loughborough back on their own 5, and on the first play of the drive Alex Reilly blitzed from a potentially offside position to catch the O-line off guard and force a safety for a 2-0 lead. Loughborough were not at all pleased with the call, and the half ended soon after with Bath holding a slender 2-0 lead.

The second half started with a great Loughborough drive, with top receiver #81 making a great grab over the middle and taking it all the way to the Bees 9 for a 31 yard gain. The defense stiffened up though, and when Lenkowski attempted a 25 yard field goal to take the lead it was bravely blocked by Sean Franks. Christoph Cox and Deji Alli messed up their handoff on the third play of Bath’s drive, as the ball squirted out and was recovered by the purple to give Loughborough first and goal on the 1. Lenkowski did not require any further invitation and punched it in at the second time of asking. He kicked his own extra point to make it 7-2 to Loughborough early in the 3rd. Remarkably, this was the first time that the Killer Bees had been behind in a game this season! The rest of the 3rd was characterised by Bath’s increasing confidence in the run game, with Nightingale and Simon Vanstone combining well to gain yardage and set up a frantic 4th quarter.

Bath quarterback Cristoph Cox drops back to pass
(Image by Barnaby Brien)

O-line coach and former Ace Neal Callaghan was overheard shouting “This is our quarter!” at the start of the 4th, and initially this did not appear to be the case as Loughborough drove well with a new two back look, as opposed to their usual pistol offense. The Bees defense did not adjust to this new formation very well, and soon QB Slack ran it in for another Loughborough TD. They opted to go for 2, but a false start pushed them back to the 8. The attempted pass was off target, and the score remained 13-2 to the midlanders.

With 9:25 left in the game, Bath needed a touchdown to set up a grandstand finish, and Mike Hutchinson obliged with a 52 yard screen using the umpire as a blocker to set up 1st and goal on the Loughborough 3. Bobby Nightingale made it in on his third attempt to grab a 2 yard touchdown and make it a one score game – the two point attempt was no good, so the score was 13-8.

Bath quickly got the ball back, forcing a Loughborough three and out. This left the Bees four minutes in which to drive down the field and score a touchdown for the win. The first two plays were Simon Vanstone runs for no gain, bringing up 3rd and 10. Christoph Cox, who had not been having his best game,  stepped up and made a brilliant throw to the broken-fingered Aaron Linley who made an unconventional but brilliant grab over the middle for a crucial first down.

Vanstone then ran it again to get into Loughborough territory. Another well-thrown screen to Hutchinson brought up a first down on the 30 as the two minute warning was called. Rob Hussey made one of his patented foolish errors on the next play, drawing a 15 yard penalty for a crackback block. The down was repeated, and ended in an incomplete pass, slightly overthrown under pressure. 2nd down was again a little overthrown for another incompletion. Cox could not find an open man on 3rd down, and took a sack to leave 4th and 33 with 58 seconds and one timeout remaining and the season on the line. Cox threw up a beautiful ball to Duncan Scrivens, who was cynically sandwiched by two Loughborough defenders and the flags for defensive pass interference flew.

The 15 yard penalty and automatic first down put Bath on the Loughborough 38, and then Simon Vanstone picked up 8 on a nice run. Hurrying to the line, 2nd and 2 on the 30, Cox threw his best pass of the day to favourite target Hutchinson on a corner route, stepping out of bounds at the 5 to set up a stunning finish. With time dwindling, Bobby Nightingale took it up the middle and appeared to have won the game – but after a conference the referees decided that he was down half a yard short. 9 seconds remained, giving Bath one more chance from half a yard out. Nightingale came out and Deji Alli went in. The Blitz man did not disappoint, cannoning himself into the endzone behind Alex Reilly and Niko Rowe to score and seal the game for the Bees.

The two point was no good, and 3 seconds remained for Loughborough to get a kickoff return. The kickoff was squibbed, and fielded but an untimely inadvertent whistle meant that it had to be kicked again. Second time around, Hutchinson kicked it into the endzone, but the returner didn’t make it out and time expired to seal an incredible victory by a score of 14-13.

Bath now travel to the 8-0 NEC champions the University of Hull Sharks (#3) in the quarterfinals. A victory would make 2012/3 the deepest a Bath team has ever gone in the championship playoffs, and the Bees will be desperate to improve on their 9-0 record.

Match report and commentary by Simon Love.

Original report features here
A photoset from Barnaby Brien can be found here

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