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  • Writer's pictureArran Harrison

NFFL Week 4-5 Preview

NFFL Week 4-5 Preview

Photo: Inside Britball Media


Just as we are starting to digest the impact of the cross-conference round, we charge into the next round in a quick-fire fashion.  We see the Division 1 North B and Midlands play their cross-conference games this weekend, whilst all others return to inter-conference matchups.  The last round brought some interesting results which made for some interesting changes to the tables. Can some of the teams hold their nerve and solidify their position or can the fallen redeem themselves in this weekend’s fixtures?

 

Premiership

 

Highlands

The Glasgow Hornets remain the only unbeaten team in the conference with an impressive 7-0-1 record. This weekend they face struggling Renfrewshire Raptors, and buoyant Aberdeen Oilcats and Edinburgh Outlaws. This will be a good test for the Hornets as they have an opportunity to create some daylight between them. The Outlaws will be looking to cause an upset, as will the Aberdeen Oilcats as all three teams play each other.

 

Moray will return to the fixture list this weekend and will be looking to capitalise on an inconsistent Grangemouth Broncos and the Renfrewshire Raptors. The latter game is an opportunity for either team to get a win on the board.

 

Grangemouth can get their season back on track with both their games being against the bottom two teams which is a good indication of how close this conference is.

 


North

The Manchester Crows have a great opportunity to dig their talons into the top spot with fixtures against 2nd-placed Manchester Titans, and 3rd-placed Wigan Bandits.  This will by no means be an easy weekend for the Crows as the Titans have an NPPG of 23.8 which shows that they are a solid all-round team. The Wigan bandits will want to sure up their defence if they have any chance of beating the Crows.

 

The Warrington Revolution have a tough weekend ahead of them, they have lost every game that they have played so far and face a tough test with games against the Bandits and Crows.

 

The Titans Bees and Salford Scorpions are quietly going about their business with 3 wins on the board, but they will meet each other this weekend so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

 

Premiership South East

The headline fixture must be Reading Devils against London Smoke. Both teams are 8-0 and was a very close contender for my Game of the Week. If we look at the net points per game and previous performances then London should be favourites for this match, however, the Devils are having a great season and cannot be discounted in this game.  Both teams will face bottom-half teams in their other matchups in London Rebels and London Flash respectively, where both will be expected to win.

 

Chichester Sharks are lurking beneath the wake of the Smoke and the Devils, with 5 wins so far this season. They face two teams beneath them and if they secure wins in these games, it could help their silent assault on the top two.

 

London Spark and Flash also play each other, which will give us a good idea as to who is the better team out of the two this season. It also allows them to start the separation between each other in the table. I suspect this is going to be a very competitive game.

 

Premiership South West

Cardiff Hurricanes continue in their impressive form and remain undefeated thus far. Whilst they won’t take their fixtures against both Coventry teams for granted, their focus will likely be on the top-of-the-table clash against the Northants Titans who they are yet to play. Another credible contender for Game of the Week.

 

The Cheltenham Neptunes will be pleased to return to inter-conference games this week following a tough cross-conference week last time round. This week they face all three teams below them in the table: Coventry Phoenix, Coventry Panthers, and Keynsham Kings.

 

Of the bottom three, Keynsham Kings have the kinder fixtures, however, this is most definitely not an easy weekend for them. Coventry Phoenix have a very tough fixture list and they will need to be on fire to have any chance of getting something from this weekend.


Division 1


Highlands

As we step into Week 5 for Division 1, the Highlands conference kicks off tantalisingly with a bottom-of-the-table showdown between Glasgow Killer Bees vs Edinburgh Gunslingers. Both teams would have hoped for better results last time around but unfortunately, both teams lost all their games. There is a bit of daylight between the Killer Bees and Gunslingers and will therefore be the favourites for this match-up. Killer Bees arguably have the tougher schedule facing off against both Grangemouth teams.

 

At the other end of the table, we finally see the matchup that we have all been waiting for. The West Lothian Chargers and the Grangemouth Mustangs are neck and neck in the table on both win % and Net points per game (NPPG). Both offences appear to be highly efficient so will defence performance be the determining factor in this game. The top spot will be the spoils for the winners.

 

North A  

This season’s surprise package the Wirral Vikings are sitting at the top of the table after some good results in the cross-conference weekend. They will have a tough task to maintain this spot though as they face fellow league contenders Border City Centurions, Manchester Ravens and West Lancashire Serpents all on the same day.

 

All top four teams in this conference are in with a shout of the top spot and will have a laser focus on obtaining results this weekend. Arguably Border City have the better run of fixtures with games against the bottom two teams and then a match-up against the Vikings.

 

At the bottom end of the table, Manchester Titans Tridents against Chorley Buccaneers will be seen as Chorley’s best shot at getting a win this season however the Tridents have 3 wins under their belt one of which was a close fought 1 point game against Chorley.

 


North B / Midlands (NBM) Cross Conference

The North B and Midlands conference heads into the first of their back-to-back cross-conference game days.  With arguably little travel involved compared to the other cross conferences, these series of gamedays could be forgiven for being thought of as a home-from-home gameday.

 

The only unbeaten team between these conferences are Waveney Wolves who have an impressive 11-0 record, and what better way to test this record than by kicking off the game day with a match-up against the North B table toppers Newcastle Blackhawks. Both teams have some daylight in their respective conferences, however, the Blackhawks have the one blot on their record sheet with a loss against Nottingham Bears in the last cross-conference weekend.

 

Alongside the top-of-table clash, we also have a 2nd place clash in Sheffield Giants (Blue) vs Lincolnshire Longhorns.  Whilst both teams have been handed losses this season, them and arguably, Leeds and the Honey Badgers remain the only credible contenders to the second spot in their respective tables and therefore still have something to play for.

 

Calderdale Locomotives will be expecting a tough time this weekend with matchups against the Honey Badgers, Waveney Wolves, and finally Leeds Samurai.  Still searching for that elusive win, their offence does have scores in them, but they are losing games by an average of 5 touchdowns per game indicating that defence is the area that they will be wanting to improve upon.

 

South A

Following the removal of Berkshire Renegades from the league we have a shorter fixture list for South A inter-conference games. Top of the table Buckinghamshire Wolves will have a tough test when they meet Victoria Park Panthers this weekend.  Wolves have the head-to-head following a 31–7 win against VPP in Week Two, however, this is VPP’s opportunity to turn the head-to-head around.

 

With a clear divide between top and bottom in the conference, the conference will seemingly be fought out by Wolves, VPP, and Chichester Sharks. Although the Sharks are at a disadvantage this weekend with only one fixture vs VPP and Wolves who both have two.

 

South B

With this conference all but over, the Swansea Hammerheads continue to sit at the top of the division let alone their conference. They continue in their impressive run winning games by an average of 5 touchdowns per game.  They face off against closest rivals Gwent Gators, mid-tabled Exeter Falcons, and team rivals Swansea Frenzy and this weekend we could see them crowned South B Champions.  They won’t be resting on their laurels though as they continue their quest for the number 1 seed. They will have eyes on the Blackhawks vs Waveney game to see if they can get one step closer to that top seed.

 

With all the hype around the Hammerheads, you would be forgiven for missing the game between Exeter and Cardiff Bay this weekend. Both teams will be battling it out to become the credible contender for the second spot in the table and this fixture, along with a return fixture in the next gameday will be an interesting watch to see who comes out on top.





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