It’s been a whirlwind, but the final regular season games of the season are upon us! An unprecedented number of teams will have post-season glory to play for, but we’ve seen enough thrills and spills to keep us sated until Britbowl and the Promotion battles start! Today, we’re looking at each division, and what we should be looking out for in the final game-week!
The SEC Premier Division is done and dusted, so moving on swiftly, we’ll start with the SWC Premier!
The SWC has been handily dominated by the Cardiff Hurricanes, who look like a prime Britbowl contender. The interesting stories in this division have been happening behind them however, so we’ll start with the race for the play-offs.
The Spartans started the season off slowly, but find themselves ahead of the Northants Titans Blue on points difference. The Titans Blue looked like a lock for the championships, but after a tumultuous trip to London, their season has gone complete off the tracks. Aylesbury on the other hand, impressed on that very same day. They lost narrowly to some of the heavyweights from the SEC, but these were performances they built on, and now both teams sit at 6-7.
The Spartans and Titans have the same final day opponents – the Birmingham Lions and Coventry Cougars. These are both games that you’d expect the teams to win, and unless the Titans can overcome the 130 point deficit, they’ll be heading to the plate.
The Cougars and Lions are the other teams to be keeping an eye on. In some scheduling mayhem, both sides have 3 games on the day – talk about trial by fire! They both play the play-off chasing Titans Blue and Spartans, however it’s the Cougars who probably have the easier third contest, as they take on the Northants Phantoms, who’ve been locked into a plate position for practically the entire season. The Lions however take on the Hurricanes. While the Hurricanes have little to play for, we still expect them to put a hurting on the former champions. The Cougars are ahead of the Lions by virtue of their head-to-head victory. Honestly, we see both teams going 0-3 on the day, but either one of them is talented enough to spring a surprise! One team goes straight down, one team gets a lifeline at the promotion/relegation play-off!
The MEC got a whole lot straight forward after the last game-day, as the Titans ousted the Giants to complete the double over them, practically sealing the top spot. The Giants are pretty much locked into second place, but they could technically get caught by the Crows. A victory for the Giants over the Crows would end that debate, as they play each other on the final game-day. The Titans take on the Crows and Samurai in their bid to win the MEC Premier Division for the first time, but as we saw at the end of last season, they’re culpable of taking their foot off the gas, so keep an eye on that Crows contest! The Crows need an undefeated game-day to stay in the hunt!
All the fun is at the bottom of the table however. The Sheffield Vipers have done a magnificent job of keeping their head above water after the cross-conference games, as they now sit with 4 victories; surely enough to keep them afloat (please don’t get upset that we’re still using your old logo though). The Samurai are 1-12, while the Blackhawks are 2-10, and have three games on the day. Both sides meet in a winner-takes all battle. The Blackhawks beat both the Vipers and Samurai in week one, but haven’t mustered a victory since. They’ll have the same schedule, plus the Giants, in their bid for safety, however with the Vipers looking far stronger of late, we don’t expect the same result. Their 20-9 win over the Samurai was arguably when the Blackhawks were at their apex, so they might be seen to be underdogs on the form sheet. However, Leeds have been pretty wretched in recent weeks – a 10 point loss to the HNC’s Outlaws was arguably their strongest showing. We feel both teams won’t enjoy success in their other contests, so it’s all on this game. Excitingly, both teams are nearly identical points difference, so it’s going to be a day of pure strategy!
The HNC is pretty much done and dusted as far as intrigue goes. The Oilcats and Comets both inflicted enough self-damage to resign themselves to their respective placings, as the Oilcats can’t catch the Hornets, and the Comets can’t catch the Outlaws, as they face a 0-2 record against the Edinburgh side.
The Hornets are gunning for perfection, but with the number of injuries in their midst, they’ll be looking to just come out the game-day with no more bumps or bruises. They went undefeated in the regular season last year, but fell at the first Britbowl hurdle, so we doubt a perfect regular season means much to the Glasgow side. The Oilcats could look at their game against the Hornets as a chance to end their season on a high, but ultimately, the game is inconsequential outside of potential seeding for the playoffs. If the Oilcats win against the Outlaws, then they’ll have sealed their Britbowl place, as they could, in theory, get caught by the Broncos.
On the topic of the Broncos, they’ll be wanting to keep the heat on the Oilcats, but they need the Oilcats to go 0-2. They’ll be aiming to clinch another winning season, which is a remarkable achievement giving their own issues with injuries and player availability. A win over either the Comets or Outlaws will do that for them, as we imagine they’ll get the job done as they prepare for the plate competition.
The Comets will be facing a promotional play-off situation regardless of their final efforts, but they’ll want to get some more cohesion ahead of that game. They finally showed up with a strong squad in Grangemouth last time out, and will need to keep that ball rolling to survive.