The cross-conference games are over until the playoffs now, and the HNC had another fine showing against their MEC counterparts. Here’s the 5 things we learned from the past weekend’s action!
Broncos all but done
We’ve mentioned in the past that the Grangemouth Broncos have one of the smaller premier squads in the league, but they also have their developmental side, the Colts, to draw from if they need bodies. After Kevin Woods made his regular season farewell at the last game-day, and Fraser Thomson was written off for the season after Big Bowl, the Broncos were down to to the bare bones already. Star safety and receiver Liam Fleming was another late scratch, and an absence that the Broncos could not overcome.
The Broncos were on fire in Newcastle, going 3-0 on the day and kept their season alive. In Edinburgh however, it’s all but over – they need the Hornets to go winless for the rest of the year, and the Oilcats to pretty much match that output if they’re to have any hope. A somewhat expected loss to the Sheffield Giants was compounded by a shock loss to the Sheffield Vipers, leaving the Broncos at 6-4 for the season.
They host next in mid-July to save their season, but if the Hornets or Oilcats pick up expected wins over the Outlaws and Comets, then they’ll be resigned to the plate.
Oilcats keep pace
The Oilcats finished the weekend at 9-1, still one game back from the Hornets, but with the Broncos flagging, its mission accomplished as far as they’re concerned. The Oilcats have managed to reload their chamber after we wondered if their championship window was closing. With new strength at QB with Scott McDonald, and massive contributions throughout the season from Greg Sim and Bez Berry, the Oilcats look as strong as ever.
Going undefeated against the MEC, and only suffering a narrow loss to the Hornets earlier this year, tells us all that the Oilcats should absolutely be feared going into the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Oilcats will have the Hurricanes at Britbowl, which is a matchup we’d love to see!
Last of the Undefeated
The Hornets hosted this past weekend’s action in Glasgow against the Manchester Titans, Crows and Newcastle Blackhawks. After the Hurricanes’ losses, the Hornets stand as the last undefeated team in the league. A final defensive stand gave the Hornets their narrow win over the Manchester Titans, but comfortable wins over the Crows and Blackhawks followed. There’s some concern coming out of the weekend, as the Hornets showed their propensity for picking up penalties again, racking up 30 yards in one play! They also suffered a few key injuries that had them firing at less than 100%, but with an excellent crop of receivers, including Craig Murray and Tom Jeffereys, the Hornets barely missed a beat. Centre Richie Moore went off with a multi-TD performance against the Titans also. It was a day where the Hornets had to dig deep, but still came through with a perfect record intact.
Outlaws Almost Safe
The Edinburgh Outlaws were the other HNC hosts for the weekend, showcasing the fantastic Oriam facility. The Outlaws went 1-2 on the day, but that might just be enough to keep them afloat for another season. The Outlaws downed the Leeds Samurai, 31-21, before losing to the two Sheffield sides. While the performance against the Vipers was somewhat disappointing, a spirited effort against the Giants showed what the Outlaws are made of.
In truth, Edinburgh rarely seemed troubled after their springboard-win over the Comets. They approached the remainder of their schedule with new-found confidence, and are on the precipice of survival.
The Clyde Comets were one of the stories of the 2017 season, making the playoffs, and winning a game there, in their debut season. 2018 has been a year to forget for the most part however, but the Comets put in some good performances in their last stand. They had to match the Outlaws’ efforts, 2-1 was a minimum to make sure that their showdown with the Outlaws was all-or-nothing. A loss to the Crows made their task all the more difficult, but their defeat at the hands of the Titans made it impossible. The Comets couldn’t stop teams from scoring, as they conceded 72 points between those two losses. They did manage to pick up a win against the Blackhawks to keep things somewhat exciting; however that scoreline of 40-30 is still alarming given the opponents’ points total. Scoring hasn’t been a problem for them most of the year however.
Mathematically they’re not eliminated. We wouldn’t be shocked if the Comets read this and felt they were more than capable of surviving, and who can blame them? They’ve got a wounded Broncos side on their schedule, the ailing Hornets, the Oilcats, who might be thinking about the playoffs already, and of course, the Outlaws themselves. Picking up 2 wins is absolutely within their capabilities, but we’re just not hopeful based on the Outlaws’ resurgence and the Comets recent efforts.