Pulling The Flag

The Quick Slant – Week 12

With everyone fighting over each other to avoid writing the QS this week, I’ve stepped up and am here to give you one of my ill informed rambles.

So without further ado, lets see what’s rattling around in my brain…

ROLL ON THE WEEKEND

I don’t know about you readers, but I cant wait till this weekend! We finally get to find out once and for all who is going to be running around playing the sport we love and who is going to be preparing their kids to go back to school wearing that garish school uniform that we all have to pretend makes them look as cute as a button.

It’s halfway to the weekend
LIONS HOPE THE SHARKS BLOW UP
Just a little recap from last week. Reading or Chichester?
As was previously stated, one of these teams is going to feel like somebody has smacked them in the face with a wet fish come the end of the regular season. The Lions are 11-3-1, the Sharks are 10-2 and have three games left this weekend against the London Rebels, Westcliff Storm and London Blitz. I’m no rocket scientist, but the later two have managed to combine for a messily four wins all season.
Damn it Reading, why didn’t you put more effort in when you played out that amazing draw against the London Rebels, then you wouldnt be banging the floor in rue of needing a Sharks loss!
Lions after getting the best result of the season
THE BATTLE FOR NUMBER ONE SPOT
So after that reminder, the weekend served us up a amuse-bouche, leaving us an almost full playoff picture for the South.
Cardiff and Leicester played possibly the only meaningful fixture over in Merthr Tydfil on Sunday. Up for grabs? The number one seed from the SWC!
The Eagles went into this game with a defence as tight a teenage….. leave it!
Until their 56-39 win over the Thunder Ducks they had only given up 78 points all season. Perhaps it was a preview for how they would match up against the Hurricanes? They gave up 40 points for the first time this season losing 40-12 and in doing so will be placed as the #2 seed.
Whilst that loss looks a little one sided, surely the elder league members will be smiling at the sight of seeing the Eagles swoop back into the playoff picture after a few years circling the skies looking on with envy.

Joe and Mik after the regular season finished
PROJECTED PLAYOFF PICTURE (SOUTH)
1# Cardiff Hurricanes (SWC) v 4# Northants Titans (SEC)
2# Leicester Eagles (SWC) v 3# Reading Lions or Chichester Sharks (SEC)
1# London Rebels (SEC) v #4 Buckinghamshire Blitz (SWC)
2# West Essex Showboats (SEC) v #3 Solent Thrashers (SWC)
Solent claimed their playoff berth with a 44-26 win over Coventry Jets and a 13-13 draw with the Coventry Cougars.
The Northants Titans could finish on an 8-8 record with the Ware Wolves, however they claim the berth due to head-to-head and division record.

Playoff time baby
DOES ANYONE HAVE A RULE BOOK?
We heard last week that Woodham Warriors were unlikely to be able to field a team this weekend up in Grangemouth due to a death in the family. The news sparked off a debate that Woodham would then forfeit their playoff place due to missing two games. There is a kitted rule that states this, however there’s no such rule for flag, well not that anyone seems to be aware of.
The likely recipients of Woodham being kicked in the balls would be the Edinburgh Outlaws on a 3-8-1 record. The Outlaws would sneak in the back door like a milkman awaiting for hubby to drive off to work, so he can give his Mr’s a good going over!
Whilst I’m sure the Outlaws would be happy at the thought of playing playoff football, perhaps we should all take a breath, look at the reason Woodham are unable to commit and say “with all due respect you deserve your spot and a family funeral is possibly the best reason ever to miss a game” It’s not life or death is it!

Anyone who thinks Woodham sould forfeit
I’D LOVE IT IF THEY BEAT THEM
Possibly the only team having a good reason to kick the cat this weekend, is the Glasgow Hornets. A walkover win was awarded to the Hornets this coming weekend because of a family bereavement which prevented Carluke players from attending, and they followed that up with a victory over the Edinburgh Outlaws.
However, Woodham’s withdrawal gives the Grangemouth Broncos and Aberdeen Oilcats a walkover each as well. Whilst you might think that has evened up the score, Glasgow were widely expected to beat Carluke anyway. The Broncos and Oilcats beating last years finalists, perhaps not so much.
So step up Newcastle!
All eyes will be on the Blackhawks to see if they can play spoiler  They play both Grangemouth and Aberdeen this weekend.  A win for Newcastle against either of these teams would likely see the other and or Glasgow make the playoffs. Phew think I’ve got that right? Why can’t one of you just be crap and make my life easier?
As a footnote, Newcastle will be looking to nail down the #3 seed as well. Get me a plane I want to go to Grangemouth this weekend!

Mighty Mouse would love a Newcastle win and so would Glasgow
SNAKES IN THE GRASS
Instead of wishing my life away, I am instead travelling up to Sheffield this weekend to watch the Sheffield Vipers try to take advantage of some fortunate rescheduling and an impressive fairytale story the likes of Disney would be proud of.
Earlier in the year the Vipers were in a MEC South, frankly getting an ass whooping from the Predators, Honey Badgers and Mayhem. They sat at 0-4 and looked like their season was a year for learning and building for 2015.
Now they sit at 4-4 in the MEC North, await the playoffs and a match up against the Calderdale Knights for the division title. Quite a turn around!
How has this come about? Well the Yorkshire Rams flag team, if they even exist, never showed up for their first game week and were ceremoniously booted out of the league. The Vipers got moved, they got over the shock walkout of their quarterback and rebuilt the squad in quick time, the rest is history!
What about Calderdale?
The Calderdale Knights should also be applauded for their playoff birth. Last season, in their rookie season they didn’t win a game. This year they still have a realistic shot of winning their division. They have games against the Sheffield Predators and Mansfield Honey Badgers, plus the Vipers.  This may just turn out to be like trying to solve a Rubix cube whilst being colour blind. 
PLAYOFF PADDING
For my final scribe, I ask you the reader what you think to playoff padding?

Predators sign an absolute beast
With the playoffs around the corner, some teams are taking advantage of the kitted season coming to a close and roping in some talent from elsewhere to bolster their squads. It would seem injuries and unavailability have brought about this about, so I ask…
Do you think its right?
Is your team doing this?
Should you play with what you’ve got?
Should you have to play in a minimum amount of game weeks to qualify for the playoffs?
Are you stat whores now concerned about the new guy taking your reps?

Are you trying to sign this guy?
NOTE: An earlier version of the Quick Slant commented on Carluke’s withdrawal from the weekend’s fixtures, but did not mention that this was due to a family bereavement. We have edited the piece to clarify this.

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