The Buttonhookers are at 7-0 after defeating every team from the SWC. Truthfully, they were never really threatened – a shaky first half against the Hurricanes was cause for concern but they came through as 39-27 winners.
They’ve got hosting duties next on the 29th, and their big game against the London Smoke will either almost certainly give them the division, or let the Smoke back in. That’s because…
Smoke Slip Up
The London Smoke have suffered their first loss in the BAFA leagues at the hands of the Cardiff Hurricanes. Now there’s no shame in losing to the former Britbowl champions, but this will definitely feel like a game that got away from the Smoke. Their defence was humiliated, allowing 41 points, while QB Charlie Williams struggled with the rangy blitz from the Hurricanes.
They went 4-1 in cross-division play, but with the Buttonhookers staying perfect, they’ve got to fight back on the field if they want to snatch the #1 seed in the South.
Rebels in Peril
The Rebels looked to have bowed out of the three-way dance at the top as their tumultuous first cross-conference game-day saw them drop two games in shocking fashion.
Again, we’re not saying that the Hurricanes should be taken lightly, and actually in France we’re not all that surprised that Cardiff overcame Calvin and co. But the manner of the loss, two clear scores in a 34-18 triumph, has us worried about the Rebels this year. You add that to the 39-28 upset loss to the Titans and suddenly you have seriously cause for concern.
Their wins weren’t overly emphatic either. They beat up on the Phantoms, but a one-score loss against the Aylesbury Vale Spartans doesn’t fill you with confidence. At 4-3, they’re two clear games behind the London Smoke who sit in second, and three games behind the Buttonhookers. While there’s definitely time to catch up, the teams ahead look red hot.
They’ve got bigger things to worry about than just their status in the SEC. That loss to the Northants Titans Blue could be unbelievably costly. There’s three games that the Rebels could conceivably lose coming up, which, at best, would have them at 7-6. If the Titans win out, they’ll also be 7-6. That head-to-head loss might end up with the Rebels sitting outside of Britbowl altogether…
The Victoria Park Panthers and Reading Lions are tied at the bottom of the table at 3-5, with VPP holding the head-to-head so far after their 51-19 win over the Lions earlier this year. Both teams suffered shock losses in the cross-conference games, as VPP lost two winnable games against the Spartans and Blackhawks.
The Reading Lions meanwhile lost disappointingly to the Spartans also, who have been struggling this year. However their win over the Titans Blue has them pulling level with VPP.
VPP might just have the inside lane to survive with the H2H in their back pocket, but either team should get themselves ready for a potential relegation showdown.
Big Bowl Hangovers?
At Big Bowl this year, 4/5 of the teams in the SEC took part. The Buttonhookers or Rebels didn’t seem to show any ill effects, with the Rebels actually doing better after their trip to Frankfurt. However the London Smoke, who had a gruelling Saturday and Sunday, looked lacking during their loss to the Cardiff Hurricanes. They weren’t their usual self vs the Titans Blue either…
It was VPP who suffered the most coming back from Germany. While they can celebrate coming 20th overall after a fantastic Sunday at the tournament, they went 0-2 in the league action a week later. Do these long trips to tournaments cause your league form to suffer? Or should something be learned from the perennial tournament teams, such as the Rebels and Buttonhookers?