This division was always going to be a close run thing with the Merseyside Nighthawks and Edinburgh Wolves playing that fantastic Division 1 final game last year. The Nighthawks won that game and they won the game in Edinburgh earlier this season which sets the table as it is with the Nighthawks 6-0 and Wolves 5-1. The Nighthawks toughest game left is the home game against Clyde Valley Blackhawks in week 15 and providing they win here they should see out the season unbeaten. Edinburgh Wolves bounced back from the defeat at the hands of the Nighthawks with 4 wins on the road and with just one more away game this weekend I know they have a big home coming plan for the July 5th game. They picked up some great wins on the road and providing they can defend their turf against the Blackhawks they should comfortably take 2nd place and a playoff spot.
The battle between the next 3 teams is for the two remaining playoff places and Clyde Valley currently hold the toughest of the run-ins. The Blackhawks start this week (28/06/15) with a battle against Gateshead Senators. They then have to play Wolves and Nighthawks away and finish at home to Nottingham Caesars. They will need the wins against the Senators and Caesars to finish in the playoffs but they need to stay focused. Gateshead Senators have let themselves down with a 2-3 record at home and now finish the season on a 3 game road trip. They need to take care of the Blackhawks this weekend and then ensure a victory against the Chester Romans, They also travel to Edinburgh Wolves and they will need to show some fight if they want to make the playoffs. The Caesars also find themselves with a difficult run-in as they host Edinburgh and the week 18 game against the Blackhawks could be a crucial decider in who makes it and who doesn’t. This division is set up for a great last weekend.
The bottom 3 are of course in a fight now with the new BAFA set up one of these teams is going to get relegated. As it stands Shropshire Revolution will be finding a new home next year in NFC II as they have yet to pick up a win. That being said neither the Chester Romans nor Doncaster Mustangs are safe by any means. Shropshire has to play both the Mustangs and the last day against the Romans which could make for a very nervy affair. Both the Romans and the Mustangs know that one more win will effectively end any chance of relegation so they need to make sure they have that in the bag before the final day.
The SFC I sees a repeat of last years battle from the National League South West as Farnham Knights battle it out with Solent Thrashers. Both these teams are 5-1 and Farnham have the advantage as they won a close game early on in the season against Solent, the Thrashers only defeat of the season. Farnham slipped up against the Birmingham Bulls so need a win against the Thrashers in week 15 (19/07/15) to strengthen their grip on the division. Solent knows that as long as they keep winning they can take the division and they can look back on last years win against Farnham as inspiration.
If either of these teams slip up Colchester Gladiators and Ouse Valley Eagles are ready to take their chances. Both at 4-2 and the difference between them right now is the Eagles win over the Gladiators a few weeks back. Both teams know they are firmly in the playoff places as long as they split their remaining games the can make the post season.
Birmingham who are at .500 need results to go their way but a win against the Eagles on the 26th of July could propel them into the mix. They have the potential as they caused the upset against Farnham so shouldn’t be counted out, but in order to be considered they need to find that form again. Hertfordshire Cheetahs sit at 2-4 an have lost some very close games. With a little bit more experience as the season goes on those results could start to swing their way, I just feel it’s too late for the playoff spots.
East Kent Mavericks and Cambridgeshire Cats are the two teams with relegation hanging over their heads. The Mavericks have a win against the Cats and with only the one meeting between the teams the Cats need to pick up a win elsewhere with the Cheetahs seeming the most winnable game.