Group D at Big Bowl gives one half of the final from last year, as well as a couple of frisky teams who could fancy themselves to finish top two.
Topping the bill are the Carluke Cobras, who lost in a competitive game against the Copenhagen Barbarians (now Towers) in last year’s final. Their journey was an arduous one, but they had plenty of help as they recruited the talented SGD receiving corps, as well as some GB talent. This year they’ll be a far cry from that, as SGD figure to re-enter as a team. We’re sure they’ll still attract some good talent for the ride, but we’d be surprised if they seriously competed this year.
Victoria Park Panthers are a frequent side at Big Bowl, and always seem to punch above their weight in this tournament format. A 17th place finish last year, above the likes of the Buttonhookers and other heavyweights from the UK shows that they can put it together in crunch time.
The Panthers finished narrowly above the Moscow Tough Nuts after beating them by a single point in the plate quarter-finals last year. The Tough Nuts didn’t travel with an exceptionally strong squad, but look to be in their full compliment this year. We could see them getting revenge on the Panthers.
The Wild Hogs and Dortmund Devils both had much lower finishes in 2018. The Wild Hogs have been doing pretty much every tournament imaginable this year, including hosting their own Bear Bowl later this year. They acquitted themselves very well on UK soil with a group win at Flagging New Year. We expect them to have some members of the Kaiserslauten Eagles in tow at Big Bowl, just like they did at FNY. If they can keep their head and stay focused they could be a team to watch. The Devils on the other hand will want their day two of Big Bowl XII repeated; an 0-6 Saturday was followed up with a 2-1 Sunday.
Finally, we’ve got the Reapers from Venezuela. Aside from the terrifying name, they’ve actually got history at Big Bowl. We sourced them competing back at Big Bowl VII, coming in a respectable 15th place. The tournament has vastly improved and evolved since that event, and we’re sure the Reapers will be a completely different entity this time around.
At the top we’re going to go out on a limb and say the Moscow Tough Nuts and the Wild Hogs will go through as #1 and #2 respectively.
VPP will push hard for third place. The Cobras and Reapers are going to be a toss up for 4th, but we’ll take the Cobras just based on recent history. We wouldn’t be shocked if the Reapers make us sweat though. Unfortunately, the Devils are going to be our bottom team in this group.