The SEC continued their dominance over the SWC in the final cross-conference games of the season. Here’s how the action unfolded on the day!
The London Rebels deserve a heck of a lot of credit for their most recent game-day. Coming into the day down a number of defensive personnel, there was every chance they could have dropped another game to the surging Cardiff Hurricanes. We even saw stalwart QB Calvin Tarlton staring down at Hurricanes QB Joe Cotterill on both sides of the ball! This game was exemplary of what the Rebels are all about this season. It wasn’t pretty, of entirely straight forward, but they got the job done. Down three scores at half time, the Rebels raced into the lead. Pegged back again, you’d have forgiven the Rebels for being happy to settle for a narrow loss given the circumstances, but a late Kenny Bello TD gave the Rebels a huge win, and meant they kept pace with the Buttonhookers.
The Rebels went 3-0 on the day, and despite a little difficulty putting the Cougars to bed, it was a successful day at the office for Calvin and co.
We were probably fools for doubting the Buttonhookers. After a shaky Big Bowl showing, we moved them down to #3 in our power rankings ahead of their clash against the Hurricanes. Like the Rebels, the Buttonhookers were down at halftime against the Cardiff side, but arguably their 20 best minutes of the season followed. Down a point, the Buttonhookers scored three times in three drives, while turning to Hurricanes over on downs, and also snagging an interception. The final score of 58-37 probably doesn’t do justice to just how dominant the Hookers were in the second half, but they need to stay that way to keep ahead of the Rebels, who they have next…
Elsewhere, the Hookers put 54 points on the Cougars, before destroying the Birmingham Lions in a repeat of the 2017 final.
The Victoria Park Panthers knew that perfection was required if they had any chance of catching the Buttonhookers or Rebels, but that dream is pretty much dead after a bad day at the office. They went 2-1, but struggled to overcome the Cougars and Lions, beating the latter by 9 points. However they walked into the Hurricanes buzzsaw, losing 53-20 in a flat performance. The Panthers have the Buttonhookers to face, but with both teams trending in opposite directions, we can say with a measure of assurance that the Panthers will be playing in the plate competition. For our money, they’ll be favourites to pick up that trophy.
Smile, you son of a…
The Sharks will be playing in the relegation playoff come the season’s end. A 0-2-1 performance on game-week 4 means they won’t be able to catch the Reading Lions. The Sharks are 1-9-1 with 3 games to go, while the Lions are 5-6. It’s been a tough lesson for the Sharks in the premier division, as they’ve taken a slight step back from their success last season. A draw against the Northants Phantoms was the only half-positive on the day for the Sharks, as they fell to the struggling Northants Titans Blue, and were handled comfortably by the excellent Aylesbury Vale Spartans.
The Sharks can take another bite out of the Reading Lions on the final game-day, should they fancy it, but they might want to keep an eye on the division one games going forward to get an idea of their opponent.
With Chichester’s difficult day landing them in the relegation playoff, that means the Lions are safe. The Lions haven’t faced much resistance from the Sharks and were rarely pushed for performances, but that didn’t stop them from throwing spanners into the SWC Britbowl race. They picked up a huge win over the fancied Northants Titans Blue, but fell to the Aylesbury Vale Spartans.
The Lions are now fated for the plate competition, but will come in as a lower seed. If their pre-season Challenge Cup triumph is anything to go by however, they have every chance of winning it all. They even defeated the Victoria Park Panthers and Grangemouth Broncos on their way to winning that tournament, both of whom will be favourites in the plate…