Friday, 19 April 2013

BAFANL Week Two Predictions

Week two of the Season and it's time for one of the big dogs to step into the ring, as the London Warriors play their first game. We'll have to wait a few weeks to see how their North London rivals fair in domestic competition, as they are competing in the EFAF cup.

Premiership North

Nottingham Caesars vs Doncaster Mustangs
A repeat of last weekends fixture with Donny taking the journey south to take on the Caesars in Nottingham. If the last game was anything to go by, this could be a painful 0-2 start for the Premiership new boys.

Doncaster were imperious running up a four score victory over their Premiership North rivals with wide receiver Martyn Lee scoring three touchdowns from a wishbone formation. The Caesars will have to find a way to cap Lee to stand any chance of winning this game.

The Caesars are slightly hamstrung last week with the absence of a few NTU Renegades, but will be hoping those players can play a second game in 24 hours after their game in the National Trophy game on Saturday in the BUCS University finals. If the NTU players can play, Marcus Boswell at corner may be the man to keep Lee quiet. 

The Caesars offence will have to do much better in the red zone with two picks thrown last week and field goals missed as well. Convert those chances and stop the passing game and they could reverse the result from last week!
Prediction: Closer than last week, but still a Doncaster win by a score.

Premiership South

Cambridgeshire Cats vs. Ipswich Cardinals
An old rivalry renewed here. Ipswich took a beating last weekend versus Bristol when they conceded 54 points. It wasn't a great start to the season, however it is indicative of a strong Bristol side. Have the past season and a game given Ipswich the edge against their previous opponents in division one?

Cambridge were a bit of a disappointment last year, with the scrapping of the American cap in participation it was theorised that they would tank up on American ballers from the surrounding army bases and take a shot at taking the division. Aside from the Saxons who got promoted from Division 2, one might venture to say that Cambridge were most likely the weakest Division 1 team to be promoted. Hopefully good offseason recruitment will have them back on the ball again.
Prediction: Ipswich to win by 2 scores both teams scoring more than 3.

Bristol Aztecs vs. London Warriors
Start as you mean to go on will be the theme in the Bristol changing room after this past week’s dressing down of Ipswich. Although the win needs to be taken with a degree of caution as Ipswich were continually getting beaten by those kind of margins last year and Bristol were still unable to stop the Blitz and Warriors from beating them.

If one looks back to the first year the Warriors were in the premiership, a road game to Bristol, second game of the season, the Warriors lost marginally to the Aztecs. Since then there has been no doubt as to who has been on top of the rivalry, however it can be said this is the best Aztecs team the premiership will have seen in a couple of years with the additions of some key personnel, and the return of Kenny Saro.

The Warriors must still be reeling from the embarrassing final loss last year, and will want to come back strong and make a statement this year. No warm up games for them, straight into the action against the Aztecs and then a London derby versus the Olympians. Don’t be surprised to see the Warriors start off slow and build as the season progresses.
Prediction: A closer one than you might think. Warriors by a score.

National North

Gateshead Senators vs. Clyde Valley Blackhawks
Last week I’d have said the Senators would take this game with their small but resilient squad. However the Clyde Valley Blackhawks destroyed last year’s division winners, the Edinburgh Wolves, last weekend (before “destroying” the away dressing room…*cough*) in a 26-0 victory that goes a long way to saying how the Blackhawks have developed in the offseason.

The Senators have started the season in a rough manner, announcing that their junior side won’t be able to compete in the League this year. However they are a team that always seems to overcome adversity to perform well. Last year they faced an uphill challenge to finish with a 0.500 record but managed to do so with style.

It’s the Blackhawks second game on the road in a row and they’ll be facing a tough defence, I’ve got to give it to the Senators.
Prediction: Gateshead Senators to win by one score

National Central

Manchester Titans vs. Lincolnshire Bombers     
The Lincolnshire Bombers gave a very spirited display last week against the Shropshire Revolution who had come down from last year’s Division One. The Bombers have developed well in the last few years and could well be a force in the division this year.

However the Manchester Titans have been developing themselves. They narrowly missed out on the playoffs last year, by way of a tied game, but with new players and Britball legend Nigel Dias in as Head Coach they are ready to go after postseason football once again.

This game has the potential to be a battle but Manchester’s mix of youth and experience, as well as home field advantage gives them the edge.
Prediction: Manchester Titans to win by two scores

Staffordshire Surge vs. Shropshire Revolution
The Surge had a disappointing year last year, limping along with a small squad. However they did commit to getting all their games played, no matter the obstacle. We’re yet to see how they have developed over the course of the offseason.

They face off against the Revolution who are coming off the back of a good win against the Lincolnshire Bombers. The Revs will be one of the favourites in the division after their experience in Division One last year and so they should be with a solid defence and a well-balanced offence.
Prediction: Shropshire Revolution to win by four scores

Leicester Falcons vs. Crewe Railroaders
The Railroaders impressed at times last year. At other times they should the vulnerability of a new team. They get a stern first test of the new year as they face off against the Leicester Falcons side that has been relegated from the old Premiership.

The Falcons meanwhile will be looking at regaining their place in the top flight and sit high in our Power Rankings for a reason. If they’ve managed to keep the keel of their playing and coaching structure in tact in the wake of the Bergamo 5 scandal then they should be set to do well in the division.
Prediction: Leicester Falcons to win by four scores

National South Central

Bedfordshire Blue Raiders vs. Maidstone Pumas
With a new kit to their name, the Blue Raiders got the season off to the best possible start when they defeated the newly demoted Essex Spartans 6-0.

Thanks to this early victory, the Blue Raiders will be brimming with confidence and will have high belief that they can challenge for the National South Central crown. And with the lowly Pumas coming to town, Bedfordshire should be entering the month of May with a 2-0 record.

For the Pumas, this season is all about proving they’re better than last season’s 0-10 record, and what better way to do that than claim a victory over a team they lost 42-0 and 41-20 to last season.

With new uniforms, a new head coach and a new attitude for 2013, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Pumas did find some confidence for this season and caused an upset or two.
Prediction: Blue Raiders by three scores

Milton Keynes Pathfinders vs. Watford Cheetahs
The early favourites for the South Central crown get their season underway this weekend when they play host to the Watford Cheetahs.

After their 2012 season that ended with a semi final defeat to the Peterborough Saxons, the Pathfinders find themselves as one of the favourites to be taking part in the National League final following their 8-2 season with all eight victories coming against four of the six teams in their 2013 conference. Add in the fact that the Saxons are now in the Premiership (the only team to beat MK last season), and the Pathfinders should be fairly confident this season! Whether they can live up to the high standards we’re all expecting is another thing though...

If this game isn’t a revenge/proving a point game for the Cheetahs, then we don’t know what is. Last season the Cheetahs were comfortably beaten 25-7 and 35-6 by the Pathfinders, so now it’s time for the Cheetahs to give the Pathfinders a taste of their own medicine.

If Watford are going to pull off the victory in this game, they’ll need their offence to be firing on all cylinders. Last season’s average of just over 16 points per game won’t be enough to get past a team that conceded more than 14 points in only three of their 12 (including playoffs) games last season.
Prediction: No upset in this one folks! Pathfinders to win by three scores

National League South

Bristol Apache vs. Bournemouth Bobcats
The first part of this weekend’s double bill of football in Bristol is the Saturday game between the Bristol Apache and the Bournemouth Bobcats.

Last season was a year to forget for the Apache as they went 0-8-2, scoring a grand total of 21 points while letting their opponents score 243 points on the Apache over the course of the season. But there’s a change in the guard now as newly appointed head coach Peter Jones will take charge of his first game as the leader of the Apache this weekend looking for an unbeaten start to the season.

The Bobcats season didn’t get off to the best of starts when they fell 7-0 to the new boys in their conference, the Swindon Storm, dropping the Bobcats to 0-1 in a conference that features the Farnham Knights and Oxford Saints. If the Bobcats are planning on making the post season this year, a victory over the Apache is a must as an 0-2 start will all but end their hopes of any playoff football.

Prediction: Can the Bobcats be on the receiving end of another upset? We think not! But it’ll be close. Bobcats by a score

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