Thursday, 17 January 2013

BUCS Predictions

Could these be the most pointless predictions we've ever done? With snow covering much of the country and more to come on Friday, it seems likely that most of this weekend's four games will fall by the wayside, adding to the already mangled fixture list.

No matter - we have made a promise to our readers, and we shall deliver. Here our our writers' picks and predictions for this weekend's games, starting North of the Wall...

Big North Western Conference

Staffordshire Stallions (1-2) v #8 Sheffield Sabres (4-0)

Sunday marks the first game back since the Christmas break in the Big North Western, as the undefeated Sheffield Sabres travel south to play their re-arranged match against the Staffordshire Stallions at the Stables.

The Stallions are yet to win at home this season and entered the festive period with a 1-2 record, losing to the Manchester Tyrants and conference leaders, the Derby Braves. Their sole victory came on the road after recording a 28-13 win over the Liverpool Fury.

Historically, the Stallions have the edge in this fixture winning the previous four meetings; however the only previous encounters came back in the 04/05 and 05/06 seasons, with Staffordshire claiming victory on all four occasions.

The Sabres have had little to complain about in terms of getting the results in the first half of the season, but with the league rescheduling this game during their exam period, followed by two games against local rivals and division leaders Derby in quick succession, they will have a lot on their plate in the coming weeks.

The Sabres could hand a start to quarterback David Saul in this fixture, after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction on his throwing arm in December. According to reports he was back throwing at training last week, but Head Coach Tim Mullinar says it will be a game day decision whether he plays;    

“He's recovering well and it will likely be a game day decision. I would be very surprised if he didn't kit up. Even if he is out, I have a lot of faith in Jacob Hardy at QB and we have a lot of physical players and athletes on the offense to complement either of them.”

Historically, the Stallions have always dominated this fixture, but the Sabres are now a very different prospect compared with that 05/06 team and even without the services of David Saul under centre should be too much for their opponents.

Sabres by three scores  


Nottingham Trent University Renegades vs Wolverhampton Wildcats

Is this prediction even worth writing? With two games forfeited (including one this weekend just passed) and five still to play, the story of the Wildcats in 2012/13 is reminiscent of Britball in the 1980s, when teams would spring up, enter leagues, run out of players and fold - all within a matter of months.

If Wolverhampton can muster the league minimum players, they can expect a heavy defeat as NTU look to cement their position as the MAC's third best team ahead of their Varsity game in early February.

The weather may well come the the Wildcats' rescue, potentially prolonging the drawn-out saga.

NTU by 40


Gloucestershire Gladiators vs Worcester Royals

The game that used to be a local wooden spoon bowl has turned into quite a different monster this year, with Gloucestershire exceeding all expectations whilst Worcester carry on much as they have done previously.

Worcester and Cheltenham (yes, they don’t play in Gloucester) are only separated by 25 miles of the M5, but the gulf between these two teams is much wider than that.

Worcester will up their game for Varsity, but I still see Gloucestershire coming away with a handsome victory.

Gloucestershire by 25.

Tarannau Aberystwyth vs Bristol Barracuda

A battle of 2-1 teams sees Cuda make the long trip across the Valleys to meet Tarannau.

Aberystwyth went into Christmas riding high on the crest of the Welsh Bowl wave, with a thrilling exhibition of passing football leading to a 2-0 victory over their bitter rivals. Bristol looked less than impressive in their last game before Christmas, getting eviscerated 52-15 by a resurgent Plymouth Blitz side.

Expect Aber to ride their momentum into this matchup, but I still see the big fish coming back across the Severn with a narrow victory under their belts.

Bristol by 7


Portsmouth Destroyers Vs Brunel Burners

This is a rearranged game that was cancelled at the end of last year due to a flooded pitch. If we had had predicted this game back then, we’d have given less kudos to Portsmouth and more to Brunel, however the tables are turned slightly.

Portsmouth have had time to adjust to being without Head Coach Russ Hewitt, and also scraped a one point win over OBU. Brunel however, have struggled after their first game.

Portsmouth by a score.


SEC Canterbury Chargers vs Imperial Immortals

One of the unknown factors post-Christmas is whether teams have lost or gained any key players, thus making the first week after Christmas hard to predict accurately.

Imperial have a chance of making the plate playoffs this season, their first in the SEC, but they have to play well down the stretch and win out. Canterbury might have buried any chance they had of improving on last year’s performance by not being able to win the close games.

Imperial by 3 scores.

SEC Kent Falcons vs KCL Regents

Kings are another team that haven’t been able to pull it out of the bag in close games, and they will undoubtedly struggle against Kent who have been scoring points for fun prior to Christmas. I think this game will be closer than expected but Kent will still prove to be the better side.

Kent by 2 scores.

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