Pulling The Flag

Flag Wars: Battle for BritBowl (Youth Edition)

Last time we left you with an update on how the future of the game was developing in the youth leagues, we jam packed all the relevant information we could gather after two rounds of fixtures, both in the North and South divisions. Since then, the South have played two more rounds of fixtures and the North are eagerly awaiting the fourth installment. Both of which take place on the 18th of July, in London and Coventry respectively.

Firstly, lets give you the reader, a little guide to how the divisions will be decided with regards tiebreakers and playoff structure.

The teams that qualify from both age groups (under 17s & under 13s) will consist of the top two teams from each division (North & South).

This will be decided by their overall standing within their respective divisions and if any tiebreakers are needed to decide proceedings, then they will be as follows.

Win percentage, Head to head, Points scored and lastly, Net points.

It seems unlike previous years, that all the teams that qualify for finals from the youth leagues will play a round robin style format on the day. The best two teams from the round robin will then qualify for the final itself.

So, who’s likely to be there come September 26th?

Under 17s South

Champions: Horsham Barbarians (16-0)

In the hunt: Buckinghamshire Wolves (10-6), Northants Titans (9-7)

Horsham have been utterly dominant this season and have raced to a division title without really breaking sweat. Sixteen wins so far and 486 points for and only 37 against screams champions in the making! Last time out in Northhampton, they only fielded half their squad and they still managed to take home three wins from three without much fuss.

The battle for the coverted second place is quite a different story though. The Buckinghamshire Wolves and Northants Titans have been trading blows since tournament one.

The Wolves currently are in the box seat with a game advantage over the Titans. The head-to-head has been shared out evenly though at 2-2, with the Titans evening up the score last time out with a 26-24 classic, which was only confirmed on the last play of the game.

For the Titans to make the finals, they will have to make sure they match the Wolves like for like in the days fixtures, beat the Wolves in the final game of the regular season and take the tiebreaker with a head-to-head. Wow, that could be one hell of a way to make your first trip to the finals in your rookie season.

The current champions, will not be beaten lightly though. All the experience is on their side, they’ve been there and done it and wont be giving up their annual trip to BritBowl without a fight.

It could all be academic by the time they play each other in the final game if results dont go to plan, but what a classic that could be if it comes down to that final game!

Under 17s North

In the hunt: Coventry Cougars (12-0), Chorley Buccaneers (9-3)

Despite the BAFANL results and standings document mistakingly stating that the Coventry Cougars are 11-1 & Chorley Buccaneers 10-2, the face for a finals place is not really as exciting as their southern counterparts.

Like Horsham, the Cougars have had things pretty much their own way after three rounds of tournaments. With only three teams so far participating in the division, they’ve not really had to get into a high gear to see off the Buccaneers and Studley Bearcats. The addition of the Coventry Panthers outfit, ran by Peter Evans at tournament four might shake things up a little, But the Cougars own all the head-to-heads over their division rivals and are all but named champions of the North.

The Buccaneers have showns signs of development though. a 24-27 loss to the Cougars in tournament one shows that they can compete with the better teams and come finals, they’ll be a tricky team to face in the round robin. With nothing to lose, they could be the dark horse for a final spot.

Under 13s South

Champions: London Blitz (15-1-0)

Runners up: Buckinghamshire Wolves (12-1-3)

The under 13s season in the South has been slighly disjointed by the non participation of the Berkshire Renegades. Tournament one also saw the Hertfordshire Cheetahs not able to take part and London Warriors didnt take part in tournament four. The South was supposed to be the organised of the two divisions, but sadly it hasn’t quite gone to plan this time around.

Despite all of the rescheduling on gamedays, there has been a incredibly competitive division in the South. The London Blitz have taken the divison with one tournament to go. Under the guidence of head coach Brian Faller, they have displayed some fine attacking football and have scored 282 points and conceded only 109. Given that six of their games are forfeit wins, thats some quite impressive numbers to take into the final round of games and beyond.

Their nearest rivals have been the steadily improving Buckinghamshire Wolves. Last time out in tournament four, the Wolves held on for a very well fought 13-13 draw against the runaway Blitz.

Given that the Wolves have already secured their place in the finals with a tournament to spare, they can go into tournament five with free abandon and attempt to get a win against the still undefeated Blitz.

Under 13s North

In the hunt: Chorley Buccaneers Redbeards (10-1-1), Leicester Huntsmen (9-3) & Coventry Cougars (6-1-5)

Unlike the South, the North is far from sorted. An upset win for the Coventry Cougars over the Chorley Redbeards in tournament three has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons going into tournament four.

The Redbeards are currently favourites to take the division. They have three head-to-head wins over the Leicester Huntsmen and are 2-1 over the Cougars on their head-to-head. Fours wins tomorrow would see them confirm a playoff place, however they would still need to finish the job in the last tournament to win the division title.

The Redbeards have played like champions all season and the blip against the Cougars may just be that. Along with the London Blitz, they are favourites to retain their title at this point.

The Redbeards strength is in their defence, only 63 points against is a scary number and one they expect to build a championship winning team around. Their offence isn’t bad either, putting up 334 points in 12 games.

Sat right in the middle of still being able to win the division and miss out on the playoffs are the Leicester Huntsmen. Three straight tournaments with a 3-1 record has them sitting at 9-3. They are one and a half games back on the Redbeards who are 10-1-1, but they are only two and a half games ahead of the chasing Coventry Cougars.

Should there be a tie at the end of it all, the Huntsmen hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cougars, having beaten them three times, they also have superior points difference going into tournament four of 120 points. However, the Cougars do present a threat to them and could potentially overtake them should they get the wins required.

The Huntsmen would likely have to win out and hope the Redbeards slip up somewhere along the line if they have any designs of winning the division. The Redbeards hold the head-to-head, having beaten them in all three tournaments to date. The Cougars could theoretically win the division, they would have to win out and hope for results to go their way, which may incliude draws elsewhere.

Keeping the Cougars alive was their spectacular win over the Redbeards. Had they have lost that game, they would have been all but out of the running to make finals. To make it, they will still have to go on a run for the ages. The likelyhood is, they’ll need to beat the Huntsmen twice and hope they slip up. As previously mentioned, the Huntsmen own the tiebreakers having won their previous three match-up and the the Cougars will probably have to defeat the Chorley Redbeards at least once over the next two tournaments. It’s not impossible and tomorrows tournament hosted by their new neighbours the Coventry Panthers will give us a clearer indication as to how things will pan out.

For all the results from tomorrows action, be sure to visit our facebook page to find out who did what and if your team could be on its way to BritBowl.

 

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