A lots been going on this past week, with a huge slate of games in the HNC, MEC and SEC being played. Division winners were crowned, playoff races are heating up, and some heroes and villains emerged…
High Flying HNC Squads
The HNC playoff race would always be an interesting one to follow. With two divisions having only three teams, the playoffs, and in turn a premier division spot, would be even more achievable for a couple of lucky sides. We’re saluting the teams who made things interesting today.
Grangemouth Broncos – First in our honours list is the HNC Central champion Grangemouth Broncos team. They’ve been in scintillating form so far this year, and deservedly wrapped up their division after only three game days. While it was expected that they’d win their group, we feel it’s only fair to give some praise for getting the job done so swiftly
Carnegie Steelers – The Steelers have been a far more cohesive unit this season so far. With a smaller squad, they look comfortable and well drilled. They took advantage of Dunbeth’s disastrous performance in Edinburgh in game week two and have now leap frogged them in the playoff picture.
Clyde Comets – We knew they’d come good. Clyde seem to have blown off any cobwebs, recovering from a 1-2 start to climb to 4-3. Coupled with the Renegades loss to the Dragons, the Comets are now in sole possession of second place in the Western division. Their rematch against the Renegades will definitely be one to watch…
The MEC can be a harsh division for some of the less established team. After week one we had a number of winless squads wondering what went wrong. In their second game week however, we saw a number of topsy turvy contests lead to some interesting results. The Nottingham Bears and Cheshire Cavaliers got off the schneid in week two. The match-up between the two teams saw the Bears pick up a priceless win. However it was the Cavaliers who had a banner day, notching an impressive 31-0 win over the Darlington Steam, and ousting the Calderdale Knights 41-19. Congratulations to the two teams for not being deterred by a difficult opening week and putting up some nice wins.
Victoria Park Panthers
We mentioned previously in our Team Rankings that the VPP were incredibly unlucky to be put in the same division as two Britbowl favourites. Their incredible 2016 season and efforts in the invitational tournaments seemed to be in vain as they were always facing an uphill battle. They still managed to throw the cat (or Panther?) amongst the pigeons though by rolling into their first set of interdivsion games and picking up two huge wins. They defeated the likely-winners of the SEC North, the West Essex Showboats, and the team-to-beat in the SEC South, the Chichester Sharks in impressive fashion. VPP might not make the playoffs, or the premier division, but they showed everyone that they are one of the teams to be feared from the SEC.
Still waiting. But that could be over soon…
Does anyone want to win this division? After the Outlaws and Sabers played in week one, we saw the Edinburgh side reign supreme. This seemingly set them up well to make the playoffs and premier division as they had a valuable head to head victory over their division foes. Since then, they’ve played seven games in total, and that victory is their only one. A draw against the Dragons is their only “positive” result, and even that came after squandering a comfortable half-time lead. The Outlaws still sit in second place, and have all the talent to play better, but their disjointed performances should be causing concern.
Meanwhile in Midlothian, the Sabers have been a bit of a shambles on the field. We tipped them to improve massively this year, with the additions of players such as Jared Armour and Ian Loggie. An 0-6 record is what the Sabers sit at currently, and their third game day was lowlighted by a 48-7 drubbing at the hands of the Steelers. Fortunately, it’s not too late for the Sabers, as they could well click into gear. With the HNC on a lengthy hiatus, they could use the time to get their house in order and get back on the intended track
Substandard refereeing has made an appearance here before and until players begin to treat their duties with the proper respect, it’s going to be a mainstay. We have discussed that newer teams often enter the league without fully grasping the rules or nuances of the game and may not always ref adequately. As long as they approach it seriously and endeavour to improve, we at FFW are happy to view this as a necessary evil. However, the nonchalance that some veteran teams approach their reffing duties with is unacceptable. Look, none of us look forward to reffing. We signed up to play, not to ref. However, the lack of qualified professional refs coupled with the costs of hiring them means that reffing each other’s games is part of the deal. We saw games delayed as referees were nowhere to be found come game time. Even more ridiculous, we saw one team of refs disappear at halftime and when the game was delayed for over ten minutes, their teammates who were present refused to take on their duties. Missing a call is one thing. Blatant disregard for the job is just disrespectful, both to the game and the entire flag football community. No one wants their game ruined by poor reffing so please, don’t ruin someone else’s by simply not making an effort.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below!