BAFA Playoff Preview

By Tim Monk – @Tim_MonkF10Y

The post season is here! Knockout football. The stakes are high as are the rewards. Division 1 and division 2 kick us off this weekend with some intriguing fixtures. We’ll be dropping a special podcast on Saturday morning interviewing a few teams ahead of some of the big games. Here’s what is on the whole Britball menu and my predictions…

Division 1

(#5) East Kilbride Pirates @ Sandwell Steelers (#1)

East Kilbride will be looking to revert back to their usual self as they travel south of the border to West Midlands as they face the #1 seed in the Sandwell Steelers. The Pirates’ high flying offence which put up over 350 regular season points will need to put their recent shutout performance behind them to beat the undefeated Steelers who also have a stingy defence, conceding just 48 points so far this year.

Prediction: East Kilbride by 1 point

(#6) London Hornets @ Solent Thrashers (#2)

Solent have had a marginally more potent offence and home advantage but in the regular season but both teams have had stingy defences so don’t be surprised if this turns in to a slug fest in the trenches and a game that is settle by 1 score. Some good battles between the 4 teams in the playoffs from the SFC 1 East and Central teams this week.

Prediction: Solent win by a TD

(#8) Shropshire Revolution @Northumberland Vikings (#3)

Northumberland Vikings should take care of business in this fixture and the defence will be licking their lips once more after only conceding 37 points all regular season. Shropshire squeezed through at the expense of Lancashire in the NFC 1 South but it’ll be one and done for the Revolution.

This one is live as usual on the YouTube channel! No blackouts from Sky either, yippee!

Prediction: Vikings by 3 scores

(#7) Sussex Thunder @ Cambridgeshire Cats (#4)

As with the Thrashers/Hornets game, this should be a feisty one between the SFC 1 East and Central teams. Fancy a high scoring game here as Sussex will bring the Thunder to Cambridgeshire and the Cats will have to try and keep clawing them back. Home advantage could prove vital but it’ll be the fans that win in this entertaining affair.

Prediction: Sussex win by a TD with both teams scoring 25+.

Division 2

North

(#8) Staffordshire Surge @ Birmingham Bulls (#1)

The Surge are going to have to pull off something miraculous here to breach a Bulls defence that has only conceded 13 points all regular season and posted 6 shutouts in 8 games, the best in the UK. The 3-5 Surge are surely big underdogs here with the Bulls wining by 21 points and 28 points in their 2 regular season meetings this season but when it comes down to one postseason game, who knows…

Prediction: Bulls with a 50-burger shutout

(#7) Dumfries Hunters @ Halton Spartans (#2)

The undefeated Spartans welcome the Hunters and Halton will be looking to continue their undefeated year with the same formula of explosive offence (368pts in regular season) and stubborn D (48pts allowed). Dumfries have put in a few decent efforts this term including a recent draw with the Blackhawks but I feel that the few hours trip down the M6 for Dumfries will seem like a lot longer on the way back.

Prediction: Halton by a few scores.

(#6) Leeds Bobcats @ Clyde Valley Blackhawks (#3)

Talking of M6 journeys, the Bobcats could probably wave to the Dumfries Hunters as they travel to Beltane Park and the Clyde Valley Blackhawks. Clyde Valley synonymous with low scoring games (average of 14-6 final scores) this season will be looking to blunt the claws of the Bobcats. Going to go for an away win here in a squeaky bum affair.

Prediction: Bobcats by a Field Goal.

(#5) Inverclyde Goliaths @ Lincolnshire Bombers (#4)

Inverclyde make the one of the longest trips of the weekend to Lincolnshire where both teams have a 6-2 regular season record and similar points differentials meaning this could be a close one. Have to wonder whether travel will play it’s part but Inverclyde will be relying on their star running back to avoid the bombers and score a few TDs. Going to be very tight and as such, give the win to the home team.

Prediction: Bombers by less than a Field Goal.

South

(#8) Ipswich Cardinals @ Essex Spartans (#1)

In a repeat of last week’s final regular season game, the Cardinals will try and get revenge on the number 1 seed. It’s a tough ask and I can’t see anything but a home win here with the Spartans defence being the main difference between the two teams.

Prediction: Essex Spartans by 2 scores.

(#7) Bristol Apache @ South Wales Warriors (#2)

In another game with 2 teams from the same division, the Apache lost by 25 points in their previous meeting in May so look to be up against it. The Warriors seem in no mood to let up after their crushing performance last week which is a sign of a focused team. Time can change things however and Bristol have put in some decent performances of their own this season. Not sure it’ll be quite enough to get a result here.

Prediction: Warriors comfortably.

(#6) Torbay Trojans @ London Blitz B (#3)

The Trojans seem to have one of the most difficult assignments as they travel to London. The Blitz B  have put everyone to the sword this season, almost AVERAGING 50 burgers and single digit defensive performances each week. Their appetite will not wain in their quest for the semi finals and the trojans, who have posted 3 of their own shutouts this season and had their own 50 burger last week will give it their all.

Prediction: Blitz by a wide margin.

(#5) Bournemouth Bobcats @ Norwich Devils (#4)

Last up we have the Bournemouth Bobcats travelling to the east coast (enjoy the M25!) in what looks to be a tight one. Bournemouth have not been afraid of the endzone this season tallying almost 300 points and this could be the difference in a game where defences are likely to be on top. Bournemouth had the Blitz B in their division and are likely to be stronger than their record suggests and this could be a slight step up here for the Devils.

Prediction:  Bobcats by 10.

Good luck to all the teams playing this weekend, we’ll be back next week with the roundup of the results as well as a preview to the big boys entering the post season.

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