A whole host of fixtures even without the plenty of postponed fixtures this week.
Thankfully, some of the Somerset faithful won’t be on my back due to lack of information about their games and there is only one Bristol team playing so i wont have to talk about them too much.
Oxford Saints are trying to find a partner after the London Hornets were forced to withdraw due to Covid issues.
Leicester Falcons were able to find someone that “swiped right” and the Birmingham Bulls will face them in a cross divisional match after the Hereford Stampede couldn’t play ball.
Other fixtures that hit the dust are Northumberland Vikings vs Gateshead Senators, Sussex Thunder pulling out from the season means Rushmoor no longer have a game and South Wales Warriors wont be beating the Worcestershire Black Knights this week. Ho hum.
Let’s get to the fixtures that are playing then, and it seems like an absolute age since the last time we saw some of these teams.
The Wembley Stallions fit that criteria and in what is one of the standout fixtures of the weekend the Thames Valley division will crown it’s winner from this game and it’s all or nothing for these two teams. The first fixture in week 1 (17-9 to Stallions) is going to be totally different compared to today and anyone in the Harrow area, GET YOURSELF DOWN! Should be a cracker and as I say, the division crown up for grabs. Don’t ask me what happens if that ends in a tie. Stalions have a game in hand (vs Oxford Saints) but a win for Herts would see them finish at 7-1 whereas a win for the Stallions gives the a 5-0-2 record. Now I am doubting myself whether a Stallions win gives them the title. Let’s assume yes because if they (somehow) lost to Oxford, that would see them end 5-1-2 which equals a 6-2 record for the Cheetahs but the Stallions get the head to head? Oh we’ll just wait and see. Moral of the story is, get yourself down to the game.
As it stands we have all four teams playing in the London division and it’s the London Blitz’s turn to get hammered by the London Warriors whereas the Kent Exiles get a chance at retribution and revenge and to try and win a game this season after coming so close in numerous games this year, going down 13-15 to the Olympians last time out. Positions in that division pretty much all tied up regardless of results this week.
The Bournemouth Bobcats, who’ll we have on the podcast next week (barring any last minute changes) will be travelling slightly east to go face Solent. Bournemouth one of the more impressive teams this season going in against some of the bigger boys and more than holding their own. I don’t seeing them scaling the heights of Solent in this one but cant wait to get talking to them and get their views on the season and how far they have come from 2019 where they reached a Div 2 bowl game. Solent with a win will continue their unbeaten year and finishing off with a trip to Rushmoor next week.
Couple of fixtures in the South East sees the East Essex Sabres looking to try and bounceback after a bad run of form which saw them defeated by the Squadron last week. Easier assignment here as they travel to the Thunderbolts and a “get right” game for them. Or perhaps Sussex pull off a massive shock? East Kent Mavericks host the Essex Spartans where a win for them clinches the division after the Sabres’ loss last week. Mavericks with a win will pull them back to .500 and a chance for a winning season with a win here and a win against the Squadron next week.
In East Anglia, Cambridgeshire Cats have already won the division by a distance but also have a shot at an unbeaten year and welcome the Ipswich Cardinals who are fresh off their battering given to them by Norwich in one of the more eyebrow raising scorelines of the year. This one finished 32-6 to the Cats last time out and one would fully expects the Cats to not lose any of their lives (to shoe-horn in a metaphor) once this is said and done. Saying that, my record in predicting Ipswich games is not good. Pretty confident this one ends in defeat for Ipswich. Go on Cardinals, I double dare you!
The other fixture sees Ouse Valley travel to Colchester as the Eagles look to try and play for pride in their final game. Colchester secure second spot with a win. Colchester won 21-0 in the corresponding fixture back in July.
In the Central East, the Nottingham Caesers return to the field after their impressive showing on Twitter. They host the Scunthorpe Alphas who have seemingly lost their way after 3 straight defeats, the first of which was against Nottingham. Can they put in a final performance and run Nottingham close?
Northants Knights have been going great guns recently and they travel to Bourne to face the Lightning. Games involving South Lincs are usually low scorers, will that trend continue ere. All 3 games involving them have mustered 42 points collectively, something in which the Knights are used to nearing putting up each week. A win for the Knights would guarantee them a winning season, which is a fine effort from them. A win for the lightning still gives them a shot at a .500 season, with their final fixture coming against the Bombers.
Another two teams that we haven’t seen for a while is the DC Presidents and the Darlington Steam, who last took the field at the end of August when they played each other, with the Steam taking victory and there’s not really much evidence to expect anything different this week as that’s the only fixture in the Hadrians division, due to the Vikings and Senators not playing.
You have to go even further back in time to find the last time the Yorkshire Rams played a game. After 2 cancelled fixtures, they (fingers crossed) finally take the field this week in what should be a good game with the Doncaster Mustangs who have been battling hard through their games, come win or lose. They’ll hope to fare better than the 57-0 loss they suffered back in their gameweek 2 as they close out the season. A win would mean a 4-4 record and a non losing season, which isn’t a bad carrot to dangle if you ever needed one. The scalp of Yorkshire is also a decent carrot to dangle, too. A win for Yorkshire would take them to 4-0 ahead of their clash with the Sheffield Giants next week and both teams may be heading into the one undefeated.
Is it another case of pick your winning margin for the Lancashire Wolverines as they face the Leigh Miners. Leigh have nearly given up an average of 100 pts through their 3 games and this one finished 86-7 in Leigh’s first game. Leigh and Crewe face off next week which will be interesting to watch as both teams are likely going for their first win. Up and down season for Lancashire in a tough division but should be able to play with freedom in this one.
To the Mercia division and the game where Shorpshire travel to face Sandwell. Can Sandwell start to pick up some momentum heading in to the offseason or will Shropshire continue to grind out results against teams not named Tamworth. This one finished 13-0 last time to Shropshire so another low scoring punishing game could be on the cards in the final game of the season for both teams. As previously mentioned there is a cross division game between the Falcons and the Bulls with the former likely to take the win. I am unaware of whether this one counts towards W/L totals in their respective divisions.
In the Bulls division, the Sever, there is a game taking place and the Aztecs travel to Swindon to face the Storm. No more needs to be said on that (wink face).
We round off north of the border and it’s taken me to the middle of September to realise that the Scottish division seem to be alternating in fixtures. This week it’s the return of the Caledonia division and the East Kilbride Pirates will be looking for more of the same as their impressive start has seen them go 3 wins from 3, 6pts conceded and 124pts scored, 57 of which were scored in this corresponding fixture 2 weeks ago. Inverclyde have had a rough time in their opening two fixtures, scoring the 6 pts that East Kilbride have given up but took a battering against the Edinburgh Wolves last time out. Wins for East Kilbride and Edinburgh will see even more daylight between themselves and the Tigers/Goliaths.
Don’t forget, the Scottish divisions will be continuing well into October.
Predictions are below for this week as I try and improve on my poor performance last week. I am hoping to get the Bournemouth Bobcats on the mics next week so keep you eyes and ears peeled for that on YouTube and wherever you get your podcasts. Don’t forget if you are a budding GB Lion wannabe and show the national coaches what you have got, head over to our post surrounding the GB Lions Trials announcement or checkout our interview with Lions HC Jason Scott for a bit more info around that. Deadline for registering interest is 30th September but I am well informed that there are already almost 300 registrations entered.
Enjoy your football, wherever you go to get it, I’ll be back next week to review and praise another Photographer.
- Essex to beat East Kent
- Cambridgeshire to beat Ipswich
- Lancashire to beat Leigh
- Colchester to beat Ouse Valley
- East Essex to beat Sussex
- London O’s to beat Kent
- Yorkshire to beat Doncaster
- Shropshire to beat Sandwell
- Bristol to beat Swindon
- Northants to beat S.Lincs
- Hertfordshire to beat Wembley
- Leicester to beat Birmingham
- Solent to beat Bournemouth
- Nottingham to beat Scunthorpe
- Darlington to beat DC
- Edinburgh to beat Inverclyde
- London Warriors to beat Blitz
- East Kilbride to beat Glasgow.