The MEC had a huge battle at the bottom of the table to mull over, while the rest of the division were essentially playing for seeding in their respective playoff brackets. Here’s the 5 things we learned!
Samurai Relegate Blackhawks
We had a sneaking suspicion this could come to fruition, but the all-or-nothing battle between the Samurai and Blackhawks resulted in a tense 19-12 victory to the Samurai. Both teams were winless in their other contests on the day, but the Samurai picked up the victory when it mattered most.
The Leeds side have had a season to forget overall, but their ballsy play-call as time expired against the Blackhawks may have saved their bacon. A running play to Jonny Dudley from resulted in the resident speedster making nearly the entire Newcastle defence miss as he danced into the endzone. Cue rapturous celebrations!
The Blackhawks just lost too much talent in the offseason, and it’s nearly impossible to replace the output they’d gotten last year. Mantas Ceckauskas, Mike Dunn and Ewan Miller all departed prior to the season starting, and they left a considerable void. We wondered if things would be okay after going 2-1 in week one, but an 0-12 run has doomed the Blackhawks to Division One. They’ll be replaced by the Nottingham Honey Badgers next season.
The Samurai will need to dust themselves off as they turn their attention to a play-off match against the Warrington Revolution for their Premier Division lives. It’s going to be a tough ask, but don’t underestimate the belief that a victory in that manner can give you!
Giants Are Playoff Ready
The Sheffield Giants have had to settle for second place in the MEC this season, after going 0-2 against the Manchester Titans. In their final week of action, they showed why they’re still a side to be feared, as they put a 47-0 hammering on the plate-bound Crows, and an 83-18 victory over the Blackhawks punctuated the message.
The Giants have plenty of playoff experience and ability throughout their ranks. The Giants also did themselves a power of good with two wins, as they improved on their potential seeding after the Hornets defeated the Oilcats in the HNC. The Giants enter the playoffs as the #3 seed from the North, and will take on the Cardiff Hurricanes, which will be an old school clash between two very different styles of play! We can’t wait!
Manchester is Maroon
With the Manchester Titans seemingly already in celebration mode, the Crows were able to pick up an impressive win over their cross-city rivals. A comprehensive 42-19 triumph, coupled with a 32-14 victory over the Vipers, sealed a winning record for the Crows as they march towards the plate. Their reward for their efforts? A matchup against the Aylesbury Vale Spartans in the plate!
The Crows made a splash with their offseason acquisition of Sergio De Paco, and have looked better with Talha Javed returning from injury. They haven’t been strong enough to compete with the Giants or Titans throughout the season, but a positive end to the year could be a platform to build on for next season. The Spartans figure to come into the Plate contest majorly under-strength, so we think the Crows could have a chance to impress.
Vipers Take On Panthers
The Sheffield Vipers played spoiler on the final game-day of the season, helping sink the Blackhawks by defeating them 20-13. Their loss to the Crows is disappointing, but given the circumstances of their season, it’s been a fairly solid campaign, as the Vipers showed to be a clear cut above being another relegation candidate.
The Vipers showed some class with wins over the Broncos, and taking part in some tight games against the Titans and Giants. Their bogeymen have been the Crows this year, as they’ve fallen twice to the Manchester side. The Vipers finish 5-10, but when you consider they started the season 0-5, you need to give them credit for bouncing back!
The Vipers have an intriguing match against the Victoria Park Panthers in the Plate competition! Both teams are lead by cerebral quarterbacks who know how to use the weapons at their disposal. The Panthers might have a slight edge on street-smarts and athleticism, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see the Vipers match up well on offence!
As mentioned previously, the Titans seemed to be in full party mode, as they knew one victory would be enough to seal their MEC Premier Division title. They were obviously confident, as they had T-shirts and even a trophy previously prepared.
Their victory parade was almost derailed however, as they lost to the Manchester Crows, who we’re sure enjoying raining on the festivities. The Titans got the win they needed – barely, as they defeated the Leeds Samurai by 8 points.
In the HNC, the Hornets’ victory over the Oilcats ensured that the Titans finished as the #2 seed, but it could have gone oh so wrong if they weren’t careful. We understand that GB Lion David McInally was absent, but we expected a little more from the rest of the Titans cast.
They might be in store for a rude awakening, as the Manchester Titans have an exciting matchup against the London Rebels in store. It’s a great story, as the Titans, relatively new to the playoff scene, take on one of the perennial Britbowl contenders! We’re envisaging an offensive shootout in this one!