Pulling The Flag

Remaining Fixtures and Predictions – SEC

Then on the third day, they gave us the SEC!

SEC North

West Essex Showboats 6-2

Remaining Fixtures: Aylesbury Vale Spartans, Bedford Blackhawks, Ware Wolves, London Rebels, Baker Street Buttonhookers & Reading Lions

Predicted Finish: 10-4 – SEC North – Champions

Image courtesy of James Brewerton

Comments: Playoff football isn’t quite done and dusted, but it’s as good as secured. That said, the Showboats do still have a scrap on their hands for the division title. The key game being the first one against the Spartans, whereby a win will give them the double over their nearest rivals.

They need to make hay whilst the sun shines, as their last three games are against the London Rebels, Baker Street Buttonhookers and unpredictable Reading Lions, who if they turn it on can easily play spoiler.

Aylesbury Vale Spartans 5-3

Remaining Fixtures: West Essex Showboats, Ware Wolves, Bedford Blackhawks, London Rebels, Reading Knights & Baker Street Buttonhookers.

Predicted Finish: 8-6 – SEC North  – Runners Up

Image courtesy of Chris Wayman

Comments: The Spartans have really impressed us this year. They are surely playoff bound again this time around. It’s just about them finding that level of consistency that will propel them into the top echelon of teams that awaits us.

We predict that they will split their remaining games 3-3, with wins over the Wolves, Blackhawks and Knights, but fall short against the Showboats, Rebels and Buttonhookers.

3: Ware Wolves 1-7

Remaining Fixtures: Aylesbury Vale Spartans, West Essex Showboats, Bedford Blackhawks, Hackney Cougars, Victoria Park Panthers & Solent Thrashers.

Predicted Finish: 4-10 – SEC North – Third Place

Image courtesy of the Ware Wolves

Comments: A really tough year for the Wolves this time out. With just a solitary win over the Bedford Blackhawks to show for their efforts so far, they will be keen as mustard to finish strong.

We think that they will pick up some wins, notably against the Blackhawks, the Hackney Cougars and finally the Solent Thrashers.

Bedford Blackhawks 1-7

Remaining Fixtures: West Essex Showboats, Aylesbury Vale Spartans, Ware Wolves, Hackney Cougars, Chichester Sharks & Victoria Park Panthers.

Predicted Finish: 2-12 – SEC North – Last Place

Image courtesy of jennalouphotography

Comments: Well, they have banked a win, however that win came to them on a silver plater, by virtue of a forfeit from Solent. So this campaign has been a bit of a bust for the Blackhawks so far.

We don’t envisage that it will get much better for them, however the bright spark may just come against the Hackney Cougars, who have yet to record a win.

SEC Central

Baker Street Buttonhookers 8-0

Remaining Fixtures: Victoria Park Panthers, Hackney Cougars, London Rebels, West Essex Showboats, Reading Lions & Aylesbury Vale Spartans

Predicted Finish: 14-0 – SEC Central – Champions

Image courtesy of James Brewerton

Comments: It seems rather impudent of the Buttonhookers to just waltz on in here and beat everyone they face in their rookie year. Although, I guess the Birmingham Lions set that trend back in 2015. But they didn’t do it in the same manner as the Baker Street boys are doing it this time around or did they?

Back in 2015, the Lions conquered all that came before them in the regular season, whilst giving the then champions, the Cardiff Hurricanes a shellacking just before the playoffs started.

The Buttonhookers have dealt a similar blow to the reigning champions, the London Rebels. They will meet again soon enough and the game will no doubt decide who wins the Central title. It will also have implications on who is likely to host the playoffs come August.

The Birmingham Lions will be watching with absorbed interest.

London Rebels 7-1

Remaining Fixtures: Hackney Cougars, Victoria Park Panthers, Baker Street Button Hookers, Aylesbury Vale Spartans, Reading Knights & West Essex Showboats.

Predicted Finish: 12-2 – SEC Central – Runners Up

Image courtesy of Rudi Halfmann

Comments: If the Rebels can pull off a win against the Buttonhookers and take the head-to-head, they will be enraptured by the ability to have pulled off the turn around.

It almost seems unnatural to be talking about champions in these terms, but if they lose, they lose the prestige of being London’s top team. Of course they would still be in with a massive shout to reach finals and repeat, but it would be a minor blow for them.

We have predicted a Buttonhookers win, but would happily play stand corrected if proven wrong.

Victoria Park Panthers 6-2

Remaining Fixtures: Hackney Cougars, Baker Street Buttonhookers, London Rebels, Ware Wolves, Solent Thrashers, Bedford Blackhawks.

Predicted Finish: 10-4 – SEC Central – Third Place

Image courtesy of James Brewerton

Comments: The Rebels have to be wary of the Victoria Park Panthers though. They only sit a game back at 6-2. Those two losses coming against the Buttonhookers and Rebels.

Should they do what they did at Big Bowl and beat the Rebels and results go their way, they could conceivably oust them. Theoretically, they could still win the division, as unlikely as it seems.

On paper they do have an easier run in than both the teams above them, with the two games against the division rivals being what could be make or break for them if they are to shoehorn themselves in and avoid second tier football next year.

We’ve gone with the rather predictable Buttonhookers and Rebels, however, we cant wait to see how this develops!

Hackney Cougars 0-8

Remaining Fixtures: Victoria Park Panthers, London Rebels, Baker Street Buttonhookers, Bedford Blackhawks, Ware Wolves & Chichester Sharks.

Predicted Finish: 0-14 SEC Central – Last Place

Image courtesy of the Hackney Cougars

Comments: Damn harsh on the Cougars, being in the toughest division in all of football. They’ve been around for a while, but probably didn’t expect to find themselves without a win in their first BAFA league season.

They are better than their record suggests, nevertheless, we are not sure they will record a win in their rookie season now.

SEC South

Chichester Sharks 6-3

Remaining Fixtures: Reading Knights, Reading Lions, Solent Thrashers, Bedford Blackhawks & Hackney Cougars.

Predicted Finish: 10-4 – SEC South – Champions

Image courtesy of James Brewerton

Comments: The Sharks sit nicely at 6-3 right now, in what could be the most unpredictable division to work out who is going to go through to the playoffs. With none of the two Reading teams or Solent Thrashers on a winning record, it would seem they are using all their expertise to take advantage of their foes woes to boost themselves to a division title.

We are sticking our necks out right here and saying we believe the Sharks will go the rest of the season with just one loss and win the South with a 10-4 record.

Interestingly though, the Sharks are the only winning team in the league with a negative points differential, which might just suggest they are susceptible to a wee wobble…

Reading Lions 3-6

Remaining Fixtures: Chichester Sharks, Reading Knights, Solent Thrashers, West Essex Showboats & Baker Street Buttonhookers.

Predicted Finish: 6-8 – SEC South – Runners Up

Image courtesy of James Brewerton

Comments: Don’t be fooled by the Lions record, they lost three straight off the bat, due to not being able to field a team on game day one, which happened to be Easter Sunday.

We can foresee a mini run at the table to get themselves back into contention, especially as they are at home for one of their game days.

They have had a bit of a mixed bag, but when they field their strongest line-up they can mix it with most, A 48-45 loss to the Rebels highlights just that.

Reading Knights 4-5

Remaining Fixtures: Chichester Sharks, Solent Thrashers, Reading Lions, Aylesbury Vale Spartans & London Rebels.

Predicted Finish: 5-9 – SEC South – Third Place

Comments: The Knights have the potential to be a very good side and they have picked up wins over the Ware Wolves, Bedford Blackhawks, Hackney Cougars plus a forfeit win from the Reading Lions. That said, they lost to the Thrashers in their division opening round of fixtures and lost by a point to the Sharks, having lead at half time by three scores.

We think that they might just lose out in to their neighbours, the Lions and that one game could be the deciding factor as to who goes through to the playoff and who has bragging rights for at least a year in the top flight.

Image courtesy of the Reading Knights

Solent Thrashers 3-6

Remaining Fixtures: Reading Knights, Chichester Sharks, Reading Lions, Ware Wolves & Victoria Park Panthers.

Predicted Finish: 3-11 – SEC South – Last Place

Comments: Had they not had to give up three forfeit wins, they might be in the mix for top two. That being said two of those were against the Buttonhookers and Rebels, so to mitigate that, they were probably better off. Though they could and should have picked up a win over the Blackhawks, which could have had themselves at least one win better off.

A pretty tough run in will no doubt mean that is academic now, so a decent start has gone to waste unfortunately for the Thrashers.

Image courtesy of the Solent Thrashers

Predicted Playoff Placing: 1: Baker Street Buttonhookers (#2 seed behind the Birmingham Lions -First round bye) , 2: Chichester Sharks (Head-to-Head over Showboats), 3: West Essex Showboats, 4: London Rebels,  5: Aylesbury Vale Spartans & 6: Reading Lions.

So who’s your pick for the 2017 Playoffs?

Check in with Pulling the Flag this week for more remaining fixtures and predictions from across the league.



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