Pulling The Flag

Preds and Oilcats Going To Britbowl

The Sheffield Predators and Aberdeen Oilcats will be representing the North at Britbowl after eventful victories in Newcastle this weekend.

The Oilcats stunned the favoured Grangemouth Broncos in one semi-final, securing a 32-6 victory against a team that had beaten them in both of their previous meetings this year. In the other game, Sheffield took advantage of the ejection of Woodham Warriors QB Elliott Holt to pull away late on for a 40-19 win.

They will meet the Cardiff Hurricanes and Leicester Eagles in a battle for the big prize on Saturday September 20 in Doncaster.

The Sheffield Predators went into the day among the favourites to progress, and shook off the Newcastle Blackhawks 25-14 in their first game. They then faced the Woodham Warriors, who had dispatched the rookie Mansfield Honey Badgers 33-13 in their tie.

The game was nip-and-tuck in the first half, with Woodham holding a slender 7-0 lead. However, their early lead was wiped out by a pick-six by Sheffield’s Dean Whittingslow. Late in the half, Elliott Holt reacted angrily to Preds blitzer Max Verlint, who was accused of making contact each time he came in to blitz. An exchange between the two escalated when Elliott pushed the Sheffield player to the turf, and last season’s Britbowl MVP was sent from the field.

James Brown stepped in and kept the score tight at 20-19 late in the game. But then he went down after a collision on defense. In the meantime, the Predators were using new signing David Saul to great effect. David hauled in three TDs from Matt Lollar and got another on the ground, allowing Sheffield to pull away in the waning minutes.

Aberdeen’s route to Britbowl was surprisingly comfortable. The HNC’s third seed got past the Sheffield Vipers 39-12 in the opening game, where they were pitted against the Grangemouth Broncos.

The Broncos had bested the Oilcats twice this season, and had just wrapped up a comfortable 49-12 win over the Calderdale Knights. It had been several years since Grangemouth had graced a playoff game, but one more win against a familiar foe would book their passage to Britbowl.

However, the Oilcats came out of the blocks like they were on fire, exploding on offense and adding a pick-six to stack up a 26-6 lead at halftime. Aberdeen added another score in the second half to make it 32-6, and make the long journey home a lot more bearable.

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Pictures 1 and 2 by Gary Elliott. Picture 2 by Jimmy Thomson

 

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