Kingbowl returns for it’s second outing on the 28th & 29th April, and if all participants manage to get over their hangovers from King Day prior, then it should prove to be a great tournament. The tournament will definitely crown a new champion as neither of last years finalist are able to participate. The Hyenas have scheduling conflicts, while Bobby Black has temporarily retired the Mayhem.
So, with both of them out, who will be the front runners for this years title? Let’s have a look.
Group A – London Smoke, Aberdeen Oilcats, Winterthur Warriors, Utrecht Dominators, Uni Vechta, Andenne Bears, Rheda Minotuars
A host often suffers an organisational disadvantage with players being needed to help out the overall running of the tournament and being put into a group with London Smoke & the Winterthur Warriors will not help their campaign. However it is not all bad for The Dominators as we understand the Aberdeen Oilcats will be short of major key players and therefore a good showing against the Warriors will likely see them through the group, but will have to rely heavily on their big guns in Bud Pongers & Ilja Tersteeg if they want to challenge the London Smoke.
London Smoke pushed German champions Waldorf to the limit at last years Pink Bowl and have some major talent in the speed of Henry Williams. We see them coming first in this group and most probably a good bet to feature in the Final.
Group B – Reckless Russians, Carnegie Football, Charleroi coal Minors, Dusseldorf Bulldozer, CROCS – Wild Hogs Kocevje, Apeldoorn Monarchs, Niederschelden Miners
This group is wide open and includes the team completing last years top 3, the Charleroi Coal Miners. The Belgian side played a strong tournament but came up short against eventual winners Hague Hyenas I. We expect the Miners to play another solid tournament but they will have to survive a group with the Russians, Carnegie and Kocevje Wild Hogs. Carnegie will have a few ringers, including three Grangemeouth Broncos players that will pose an interesting threat if they can click from the offset.
The Russians were somewhat disappointing at Flagging New Year, but the experience they picked up will be invaluable. They also figure to travel better than they did to the UK. Slovenian side Wild Hogs are bound to be competitive, as the level of play in the country is very high. It is always hard to predict Slovenian sides, we have seen some major talent at Big Bowl from these teams so dependent on talent could be a major dark horse.
Group C – Glasgow Hornets, United Athletes, Villeneuve Vikings, London Stormers, Wiesbaden Phantoms, Mainz Elecorns, Iserlohn Boozers
This is probably the toughest group of them all. With 5 teams capable of notching the top two spots. Scotland’s Glasgow Hornets have just started their 2018 campaign going 2-0, and put in a very decent display at FNY, drawing their game with eventual winners Walldorf. They defeated some strong international opposition on their way to a 5th overall finish. However we understand they have a smaller squad and may struggle in the latter stages.
The Dutch band of flag football mercenaries, United Athletes, on their day are all able to easily ruin each other’s top tier tournament dreams but we see all competing heavily for a spot in the top tier. United Athletes pose an interesting squad of players including former Dominator and Dutch Lion Reda Laamroui who is lightening quick on defence. They will also boast Jeno Van Opstal, a former youth National European champion at QB. This will be an interesting team to watch.
We understand the Villeneuve Vikings have a league game over the course of that weekend so we are not sure how strong the side might be, but if all players are accounted for, they’ll have a strong passing game which could push them into a playoff spot. The Stormers are a tournament team and therefore hard to predict who will be in the squad as they tend to import personnel dependent on availability, however they have had impressive showings and are likely to offer some stiff competition.
Group D – Mainz Legionaries, Manchester Titans, Oviedo Madbulls, Kaiserlautern Eagles, Den Haag Hyenas 2, Cologne Pandas, Warsaw Wombats
This sees another tough group and a team to watch out for is last years #6, the Mainz Legionaries. After King Bowl the Legionaries played a very strong DFFL season, finishing as Germany’s #3 at the National Championship finals. The Legionaries however won’t be able to cruise during the group stage as they are facing strong competition from the experienced Titans coming of a very impressive start to their domestic season, beating the divisional favourites although we understand they are also missing some key players.
Now to our predicted winners! We understand the Eagles are coming off an undefeated Irish Tournament and are made up of former Mayhem players/American air force personnel based in Germany and therefore strongly feature as favourites. Watch out for blistering speed on the wide receiver front should the QB be able to utilise his personnel to their strengths.
Hague Hyena’s II recently turned heads in Netherlands beating Purmerend Barbarians I (last years #4) during league play, so will be a threat to the main three contenders.
So who do we think will take King Bowl 2? Here is how FFW think it will go.
Top 4 Men
The tournament organisers will maybe feel a little disappointed by the lack of female interest but nevertheless the ladies group will mean each team will fancy their chances of a podium finish. However in terms of outright favourites, we can not see past the Red Foxes, hailing from Russia. They’ve got a number of trophies in the cabinet, more than the other ladies teams in attendance, so we turn our attention to the battle for 2nd. We think that a close battle between the Dominators and the impressive East Kilbride Pirates will be the showcase. The Pirates impressed during last year’s regular and have amassed a quality group of players. The majority of their squad have been part of the successful Glasgow Hornets program, and have plenty of experience for We look forward to watching how some of their star players perform on the international scene! They’re bringing a strong squad to Utrecht, and could put their name on the map. The Dominators will have home field advantage, so this could have a telling impact on the final standings.
The Dudelange Steelers are a newer team on the scene, and will be looking to make a good first impression
Top 4 Women