With three quarters of the National League season now played, several teams have confirmed their playoff spots and another division champion was crowned. In the NFC 2 North the Aberdeen Roughnecks extended their win streak to 6 with a 35-0 triumph over the West Coast Trojans to seal their position as division champions. Last season the Roughnecks finished second to the Glasgow Tigers who gained promotion to the NFC 1 North.
The unbeaten Solent Thrashers travelled to the Berkshire Renegades in the SFC 1 Central. The Renegades were playing for more than honour as they sought to improve their placing in the division and surprised their opponents with a 45-34 victory. Never behind, the Renegades win keeps them in contention for second place behind the division champions.
In the NFC 1 North, the Northumberland Vikings beat the winless Leeds Bobcats with quarterback Eric Poindexter the star of the show having a hand in every score in the first half when they took a 34-0 lead. The Vikings finished with a 48-0 shutout to stay top of the division at 6-0.
In the same division, the Lancashire Wolverines shut out the Glasgow Tigers 20-0 to stay in touch of the Vikings at 6-1. The Vikings can consolidate their position at the top of the division next week when they host the (2-4-1) Gateshead Senators while the Wolverines are on a bye.
The Sandwell Steelers have been advised by BAFA they are unable to rearrange their cancelled game from the previous due to lack of medical coverage. The game has been posted as a 0-0 tie.
At the weekend, the Steelers shut out the Nottingham Caesars 47-0 to seal the #2 seed in the NFC 1 South while the “Green Machine” that are the Leicester Falcons continued to dominate the division. The Falcons stay unbeaten on seven wins as they outclassed the Shropshire Revolution 53-7. The Steelers two victories during the season over the Revolution confirm they win any tie breaker.
In the SFC 2 West two unbeaten teams fought a close battle with the South Wales Warriors coming out 14-6 on top of the Torbay Trojans to go 6-0. With the Worcestershire Black Knights playing out a 21-21 tie with the Somerset Wyverns, the Trojans appear to be heading into the playoffs with the Warriors. At the bottom of the division, two teams without a win faced each other with the Cornish Sharks registering their first win by a 14-8 margin over the Jurassic Coast Raptors.
The Hertfordshire Cheetahs found the long, hot journey to the south coast rewarding when they shut out the Bournemouth Bobcats 42-0 to extend their unbeaten streak. With potentially the division title on the line the (6-0) Cheetahs return south next Sunday to face the (5-0) Portsmouth Dreadnoughts.
Last season, the Cheetahs were unbeaten at 7-0 until they played the Dreadnoughts and lost. The Cheetahs then suffered two more losses, including another defeat by Portsmouth and missed the playoffs. This will be a big game for both teams as neither will want to see their unbeaten streaks broken, though all will not be lost for the defeated team as they face each other again in week 15.
The Norwich Devils did their playoff hopes no harm while keeping the Maidstone Pumas winless in the SFC 2 East with a 33-12 victory. In the same division, the battle of Essex between the Spartans and the East Essex Sabres saw the Spartans overcome their local rivals with a 32-15 win.
The battle for bragging rights in Kent saw the Exiles increase their playoff chances with a one-sided 48-0 win over the East Kent Mavericks. The score was a repeat of the week 4 game between the two teams.
The Birmingham Bulls fell behind in their game against the Staffordshire Surge, but clawed their way back to triumph 15-11 and move ahead of the Surge atop of the NFC 2 South with both teams confirming their playoffs spots.
In the Premiership North and South divisions, the only game played was the wooden spoon affair between the Merseyside Nighthawks who travelled to the East Kilbride Pirates where the Nighthawks left with a 25-12 win.
Next Sunday with see the (6-0) Tamworth Phoenix host the (5-2) Manchester Titans when a win for Tamworth should seal the North division title. The Titans were destroyed 60-7 by the Phoenix in the season opener so will be seeking revenge.
Be aware that teams may bring this Sunday’s kickoff times forward because of the World Cup final, so if going to a game, please check.
Last year’s photos of the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and the Hertfordshire Cheetahs courtesy @SteelUK.