Opinion & Analysis

So You’ve Been Relegated…

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Chris TebbuttOpinion & Analysis
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The playoffs are upon us, the teams who made it through get to taste glory as they leap on into the postseason.

Now, on the other side of the coin, there are those who are bidding farewell to the division they started the 2021/22 Uniball season in and heading down to the struggle of division 1 or the toil of division 2, with dreams of reclaiming their spot in the division they have just departed.

Premiership

Swansea Titans – South

The Titans are going to be heading down to Div 1, finishing with a sole victory over the UEA Pirates in their first game of the season

Since that game where the Titans won 14-12, they only had one other game in which they scored any points, a 6-26 defeat to the Cardiff Cobras, every other game was a shutout loss, leaving them with a -199 point differential for the season.

Compared to their 2-5-1 season in 2019/20, you can see that the struggle for top billing in the prem isn’t new to them.

They will most likely be slotted into South Western Divison 1, so they will be going up against Exeter Demons (if they don’t get promoted) and Bristol Barracuda, so it will be interesting to see if Swansea have the skills to get back into the Premiership level.

Leeds Gryphons – North

Now what I feel is a much more interesting case for their chances in Divison 1 is the Gryphons, they finished 0-8 with five shutout losses, one walkover and six points scored all season.

They were moved up to the Prem after an 8-0 season in Div 1 Yorkshire & Lancashire in 2019/20, but the year out due to covid has seemed to have hurt them more than most teams.

So their relegation to Div 1 could either allow them to cement themselves as a powerhouse again or could be reminiscent of how the team they replaced, the Coventry Jets are in their Div 1 journey.

Division One

Derby Braves – Northern 1

You can’t say it’s been a catastrophic season for the Derby Braves as during the 2021-2022 season they had many close losses against teams that would eventually make the playoffs such as a 20-14 loss to the Sheffield Hallam Warriors and a 26 – 27 loss against the Sheffield Sabres.

The Braves didn’t go winless, however, winning a walkover victory against the Manchester Tyrants in week one and drawing a game 18-18 with the LJMU fury in week two.

It was only in the second half of the season that the Braves started to show signs of faltering as they lost 60 – 25 to the Sheffield Hallam Warriors in their second meeting. And 12- 54 in their only actual meeting with the Manchester Tyrants this season.

I think with the score lines being close with teams that made the playoffs, the Braves, have a good chance to go to division two and restart their engines to gear up for another crack at div 1.

York Centurions – Borders 1

The York Centurions may have one of the best social media departments in Uniball, but their record makes it a tough job for the social media manager to chat nonsense at other teams.

York finishes with a 2-5 record, a point differential of -82 and 4 shutout losses. The Centurions two victories came against the Northumbria Mustangs with the score lines saying 24-6 and a 35-22.

Hopefully, next season will see the social media manager have a much easier job of chatting bollocks if they can rattle off a few wins, but considering they will most likely have Edinburgh Napier Knights in their division next year, it could prove a hard task to achieve Div 1 status again soon.

On the other hand, the Hull Sharks also finished with a 2-6 record with both their wins coming against the Centurions, but their point differential being -80 and beating York twice have saved them from relegation this season, though the Sharks might be chum in the water for relegation next season as they fell 12-0 to the Division 2 Lincoln Colonials in their varsity game.

Leicester Longhorns – Midlands 1

The Leicester Longhorns end their season 0-8, with the worst point differential in Division One of -242.

Having three shutout losses this season and losing to teams also struggling like the Coventry Jets. shows that Leicester were probably victims of the break that COVID made uniball have in the 2020/21 season.

Though they’re coming back down to division two, they aren’t doing so without controversy. As in their last game of the season, two players were sent off for being unregistered.

Coventry Jets also seem to be in freefall as their time at the Prem level seems like a distant memory, beating Leicester twice and shocking Warwick Wolves in a 6-2 victory, unless the Staffordshire Stallions can’t handle the heat it could see the Jets departing Div 1 altogether.

ARU Rhinos – South Eastern 1

What’s most unfortunate for the ARU Rhinos apart from the coming relegation, is that this season they were only able to play half their fixtures. Giving walkovers to the Brunel Burners, QMBL Vipers and twice to the Imperial immortals.

In the four games, they did play two of them were shutout losses, one to the Essex Blades 10- 0 and 58- 0 To the Burners.

It’s not particularly difficult to establish what the Rhinos need to do. To get back up to Div 1 and it’s to simply play all their games. Obviously, there are issues that arise that cannot be helped, but that is box number one that needs to be ticked for the rhinos in the upcoming season.

Surrey Stingers – Southern 1

The Surry Stingers end their season 1 -6- 1, with two walkover losses. They didn’t start the season out horribly. Drawing 14-14 with the Royal Holloway Bears and then going on to defeat the Sussex Saxons, 6- 0, which would end up being their lone victory of the season.

The Stingers, however, did have flashes of greatness, putting on performances against the Hertfordshire Hurricanes, which would see them lose by one point in their first meeting and then 11 points in their second, which is admirable considering the Hurricanes were favoured to win the division at the start of the season.

But maybe due to injury, the second half of the season is where the Stingers suffered as they suffered a 54- 6 loss to the Sussex Saxons and a 40-0 shut out by the Portsmouth Destroyers.

I believe with the flashes of great football being played by Surrey, a stint in a division at two could give them time to work out all the kinks and renew their confidence for another stab at Div 1.

Bath Killer Bees – South Western 1

The Bath Killer Bees are the first casualty of SGS Pride joining Div 1 South Western as Pride joining this division meant two teams were going to be relegated.

Bath finished with a 1-6-1 record, coming hot out of the gate in their first match with the Bristol Barracuda where Bath won 6-2, Both then went on to lose their next four games until they faced the Reading Knights which ended in a 6 all draw.

Despite the Bristol Barracuda coming back and giving them an 8-0 loss, the Killer Bees is the biggest surprise of the season. Was a 6- 8 loss to the Exeter Demons, who made it to the semi-final of Div 1 championship, proves that Bath have got the ability to match up against the big boys.

Reading Knights – South Western 1

The Reading Knights, on the other hand, have what only can be described as an Arctic start, as their first five games were all shutout losses until their 18-6 loss against the Bristol Barracuda.

The Knights, however, did manage to get one victory against the Southampton Stags beating them 13- 12.

Unlike Bath, Reading were going to get relegated anyway, as they had the second worth point differential in Div 1 at -211.

I believe that going down to Division two can be a fresh start for the Reading Knights and a restructuring could prove fruitful for the Knights.




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