Pulling The Flag

BAFA Flag 2015: Season Teasers

Every great blockbuster has one of those trailers that gets you wondering and drooling for the action ahead. And the 2015 flag season is no different.

Only this time, you won’t have to wait until the summer to feast your eyeballs on it.

With the format of the BAFA flag league set to be announced tomorrow morning, we’ve got some hints from the tireless organisers as to what might be in store.

And like any good teaser, you may have to wait for some of the best bits…

1) 12 NEW TEAMS

Last year, 38 teams competed for the Britbowl crown (we’re not counting the Yorkshire Rams in this – because if they even forgot they were in the league, we can’t be bothered to remember either).

This year, we’re saying goodbye to a few friends, and saying hello to a freshly-baked dozen. Over the last few months, the Scottish have been breeding like rabbits, and we’ve got a whole bunch of new teams emerging now. There’s talk of “second teams” both in the north and south of the UK. But we’ll have to see who’s made the cut for 2015.

2) MINIMUM OF 13 REGULAR SEASON GAMES

Some teams had slightly more busy schedules than others in 2014. While the MEC North completed a 10-game season, the SEC North put in the extra miles with a 16-game bonanza.

This year, teams will get their hooks into at least 13 games, which should give some rookies a chance to grow into their roles, and some of the veterans a few months to get their legs warmed up.

3) POTENTIAL TWEAKING TO PLAYOFF HOSTING PROCEDURES

This one has popped up a couple of times in discussions between players in the season…and beyond.

Last year’s playoff hosts – Northants and Newcastle – didn’t set make the teams play in a Labyrinth of Terror or put them up in the Bates Motel overnight, so that’s a positive. But neither were the #1 seeds.

Looks like something about this is coming up when the details are released on the new season. Will seeding also determine hosting? Or will it go down to who has the best selection of bars for the night out afterwards?

Watch this space.

I'm voting for this place. Pic by Bryce Edwards (Creative Commons)

I’m voting for this place. Pic by Bryce Edwards (Creative Commons)

4) POTENTIAL CHANGES TO EJECTION/PUNISHMENT PROCESS

It’s not easy to get sent off in flag. But it happened more than once last season (including once in the playoffs).

So what’s going to happen to those that fall foul of the law in 2015? There’s talk that BAFA may address this in the upcoming season, so should evildoers beware?

5) NEW FORFEIT RULES

For a variety of different reasons, tournaments didn’t always go to plan last year.

Whether it was down to a lack of players, or just a team forgetting to set their alarm FOR THE WHOLE OF 2014 (Yes, Yorkshire. We’re looking at you again), fixtures had to be scrabbled around, and tournaments called off.

That sucks for all involved, and BAFA is looking at changing the rules that are currently in place.

BRING BACK THE STOCKS

BRING BACK THE STOCKS

6) NEW GUMSHIELD RULES

This may not seem like a big deal to the outsider, but the whole gumshield thing tends to pop up every now and again at tournaments.

At the minute, they’re required for tournament play, but not always seen on the pitch. BAFA has specifically mentioned they’re tinkering with this rule in 2015, but you’ll have to wait and see which way it goes.

7) NEW “EVOLVED” SCORESHEETS AND STATS SYSTEM

Of course, you’ll all fondly remember the PTF stats update for the 2014 season not so long ago, where we ran through some of the big hitters of last season. Of course, a few stats may have gone missing here and there, due to errors in paperwork during tournaments…and some occasions where they may have got lost or eaten by a bear.

BAFA is slightly changing how all this is collected this year, and will reveal more in a memo to teams very shortly.

And, of course, Pulling the Flag will be with you all the way in 2015, giving you all the news that’s fit to print. And shoving about 240,000 unnecessary gifs underneath it.

See you in the (official) pre-season.

soon

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