The business end of the season is here. Knockout football has started and I can tell by the twitter feeds from each of the teams that this is life or death stuff.
We have upsets, we have comebacks and everything in between and the Premiership Playoffs haven’t even started.
Let’s get in to the weekends playoff action and see how well I did with my predictions…
Division 1 – NFC
(#5) East Kilbride 20 @ 21 Sandwell Steelers (#1)
The Pirates seemingly didn’t have any travel hangover as they stormed out to a 21-0 lead and kind of took the Steelers by surprise.
I don’t know what the coach said to them at half time and we’ll try and find out for you but the Steelers managed to blow up the pirates’s ship and managed to come from behind and take the win right from under the pirates noses, scoring inside the 2 minute warning and then shutting up shop.
The prediction of a 1pt game was spot on, just for the wrong team!
(#8) Shropshire Revolution 0 @ 35 Northumberland Vikings (#3)
I had the Vikings to win by 3 scores in this one purely because of the potency and stubbornness of the Vikings and that proved to be the case. A shutout in the postseason has the hallmarks of an excellent team.
Vikings in total control of this one at home and will face the Sandwell Steelers next week. These two will serve up a feast for the eyes, they were only separated by 1 point in the playoffs last season.
Division 1 – SFC
(#6) London Hornets 0 @ 31 Solent Thrashers (#2)
Talking of shutouts, this was the 2nd of 3 in total over the weekend. Slowish start to the game, but the thrashers by all accounts dominated the 2nd half to take this one comfortably in the end. My result prediction was correct as I had Solent, by only by the one score so not perfect.
(#7) Sussex Thunder 15 @ 27 Cambridgeshire Cats (#4)
The Cats managed to outrun the thunder in this one, getting out to an early lead.
The Thunder did threaten a comeback of a similar ilk to the Sandwell Steelers, with the Cats getting out to a 21-0 lead. The Thunder roared back to make it 21-15 but the cats clawed themselves into next week’s semi-finals where they will face the Thrashers away from home.
Got my predictions wrong in this one, I went for a Thunder win with both teams scoring 25+, just needed the thunder to continue that fightback but it was a good, tense and feisty game none the less.
Division 2 – North
(#8) Staffordshire Surge 6 @ 43 Birmingham Bulls (#1)
I predicted a 50 burger shutout here for the Bulls and that went straight out of the window on the opening drive as Staffordshire “surged” in to a 6-0 lead. Birmingham, somewhat sluggish out of the blocks then never looked back once they had their scare and returned to Bull rush the visitors almost getting to the 50 burger. So not far away all told. I’m not sure Birmingham will be able to get away with another slow start next week as they face the Goliaths.
(#7) Dumfries Hunters 7 @ 37 Halton Spartans (#2)
A fairly straight forward game here for the Spartans at home. You have to wonder if the travel down the M6 and the beautiful stadium caused them to be a bit in awe like the GM Ian Derbyshire mentioned on the podcast last week. From all accounts, a straight forward victory was on the cards and that’s how it turned out, just like my prediction.
(#6) Leeds Bobcats 8 @ 26 Clyde Valley Blackhawks (#3)
You can see from the tweet what the view would have been like for a Blackhawk, prior to the swooping down and nabbing the said Bobcats.
I went for an upset here in this one, taking the bobcats but the Blackhawks swooped down and caught their prey. Clyde Valley on the field had things in control for the most part and they must be impressed with a 3 score victory in this one. Clyde Valley will be looking to extract revenge for their neighbours Dumfries and restore the Scottish pride as they now head down the M6 to face Halton.
(#5) Inverclyde Goliaths 22 @ 18 Lincolnshire Bombers (#4)
Cracking game here in Lincolnshire with the lead changing multiple times and it coming down to the last play/drive. Inverclyde got on the scoreboard first, missing the 2pt attempt afterwards to make it 6-0. RB Elliot Harvey rushed one in prior to half time to give the Bombers a 7-6 HT lead.
After the break, the bombers extended their lead to 10-6 with a FG in the 3rd quarter but the Scottish porridge started to kick in and so did the Goliaths. They converted the 2pt attempt to take it to 14-10 Goliaths and the lead was further extended, making it 22-10. The Bombers got late reinforcements as Ryan Wakeling made it 18-22 to give the Goliaths something to think about and the Bombers even got the ball back when Inverclyde fumbled with a minute left on the clock. They were unable to find the endzone and a thoroughly enjoyable game sees the Scots take the win by 4pts. Not many travelling teams won this weekend so cracking effort from Inverclyde.
Division 2 – South
(#8) Ipswich Cardinals 0 @ 21 Essex Spartans (#1)
In a rematch of the final regular season game, the Cardinals were unable to overturn the regular season result. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to trouble the scoreboard either as the Spartans posted the 3rd shutout of the weekend. The defence has been solid all season and as I said earlier, a post season shutout is something to savour. I went for a 2 score win by the Spartans and they won by three. Why do you have to be like that guys?
(#7) Bristol Apache 3 @ 28 South Wales Warriors (#2)
We predicted a comfortable game here for South Wales and The Warriors continued their fine form, trouncing the Apache 28-3. Warriors scoring a TD in each quarter kept the Apache chasing for most of the game and could only muster a field goal consolation in the 4th quarter.The Warriors now host the Blitz in one of the ties of the week.
(#6) Torbay Trojans 7 @ 37 London Blitz B (#3)
The Blitz continued what they did all regular season, making light work of teams and the Trojans were no different. The prediction was the blitz by a wide margin and I constitute 4 scores a wide margin. It will be interesting to see how they travel over to Llanharan, Wales in what should be a game worth watching! Certainly worth a #EyesPeeled there!
(#5) Bournemouth Bobcats 30 @ 6 Norwich Devils (#4)
Not sure you can call a #5 seed beating a #4 seed an upset, but as previously stated, winning away from home, especially in the playoffs, is hard to do so congratulations to Bournemouth who take a convincing victory on the west coast. We fancied the Bobcats to win by 10 and win by 3 scores!
That M25 can’t have been too bad! Good for them is that they’ll be on that beautiful car park next weekend too. They’ll face the #1 seed Essex Spartans.
So there we have it, results are in and the top 3 seeds in both divisions are through to the semi finals some with closer shaves than others. Here is how next week’s fixtures shape up, including the Premiership coming in to play!
Semi Final Lineup
Manchester Titans @ London Warriors
London Blitz @ Tamworth Phoenix
Division 1 – North
Northumberland Vikings @ Sandwell Steelers
Division 1 – South
Cambridgeshire Cats @ Solent Thrashers
Division 2 – North
Inverclyde Goliaths @ Birmingham Bulls
Clyde Valley Blackhawks @ Halton Spartans
Division 2 – South
Bournemouth Bobcats @ Essex Spartans
London Blitz B @ South Wales Warriors
Check back later in the week for another podcast and a Semi Final preview! Don’t forget to check out the IFAF Women’s European Championships, live on YouTube all week!