Opinion & Analysis

Uniball Power Rankings Week 15: Premier

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Chris TebbuttOpinion & Analysis
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The last week of the premiership regular season looms. (If some postponed games aren’t replayed after this).

Four games on Superbowl weekend, though the top of the division is pretty much locked up, the playoffs can still be affected from this weekend.

1 – UWE Bullets – South

With no surprise to anyone, the Bullets have topped what could very well be the second to last regular season ranking, though they didn’t play this week against Cardiff Cobras due to a waterlogged pitch.

I can’t see anyone else on top of the premiership in terms of pure domination. No points scored against them; in four of their five games, they’ve put 50+ points against their opponents.

Obviously, they have made the playoffs, and I believe the number 1 seed is theirs due to Nottingham Gold’s loss.

Their “last” game of the season comes with them going against the UEA Pirates, wherein their last meeting, the Bullets, put 62 on the Pirates and a re-scheduled match on the horizon with Cardiff.

I cannot see the Bullets not continuing to shoot down all challengers as they head for the playoffs.

2 – Nottingham Gold – North

The fact that there is no longer a zero in their loss collum must have motivated the Gold as they came out and smashed the Stirling Clansmen 39-0, not like the poorer performances we have seen the Gold have after the Christmas break.

They have finished their season in week 15, finishing with a 7-1 record, 14 BUCS points, and a +237 point differential, which, compared to their 2019/20 season, has shown a massive turnaround for the Nottingham side.

Being one of the lucky teams to come back from a cancelled season stronger, they finish top of the table in the North, which was a far cry from their 4-4, +68 season they had last time around.

I do have faith the Gold can cause a real scene in the playoffs if they can bring the same energy they brought to their final game against the Clansmen.

3 – Birmingham Lions – South

For the first time since week one, the Lions are at the top of the Prem south, though only due to the postponement of UWE vs Cardiff.

It should still show Birmingham that they are still a great team and can cause damage in the playoffs.

Their season hasn’t gone as well as the 2019/20 season, mainly due to that season having a Lions win over the Bullets, putting them at 7-1 for the 2019/20 season.

Though this year’s Bullets seem unstoppable, the Lions have been solid every week they didn’t face the Bullets. The Lions regular season ends with a 6-2 record, 12 BUCS points and a +53 differential.

Very respectable as they should look forward to causing problems in the postseason with an eye to show the reason of the league they aren’t just second place.

4 – Leeds Beckett Carnegie – North

In writing about uniball this season, I have found some teams that I have become fans of; Leeds Beckett Carnegie is one such team.

They were feeling like the Birmingham Lions of the North could beat everyone else but the top record Gold, and after a loss to Durham Saints, it seemed that LBC was destined for the middle of the table.

But a week 14 victory over the Nottingham Gold shook the uniball landscape; in my opinion, they were able to step out of the shadow of the top-ranked Gold.

When looking back to the 2019/20 season, the most significant premiership improvements have to go to the Gold and LBC, both 4-4 in the last season, with LBC having a -4 point differential.

Now sitting at 5-2 and +46 and with one game left to play against the soon to be demoted Leeds Gryphons, LBC are no longer the underdog and are going to be looking to make a splash in the playoffs.

5 – Durham Saints – North

The Saints aren’t a team to sneeze at either; they currently sit at 4-3 beating the Clannsmen, and the Gryphons might not be as impressive as it once was, but their victory over Leeds Beckett Carnegie shows that the Saints have something to fear in the Playoffs.

Despite their success this season, it has to be a disappointment for the Saints that they couldn’t repeat their record from the 2019/20 season.

The Saints came first in the prem north in the last season, having a 6-2 record and a +92 differential; though they are through to the playoffs, it can’t have the same lustre as it did two years ago.

The Saints season isn’t over, but their hopes of winning the division are that they face the 2-5 Stirling Clansmen on Sunday, where I predict they will increase their record to 5-3 and take a chip on their shoulder in the playoffs.

Three To Improve

Stirling Clansman – North

I really wanted the Clansmen to repeat their run from the 2019/20 season, where they finished second after starting the season 1-2 and won their final five games, including getting a win back from the eventual winners, the Durham Saints.

They currently have a record of 2-5 and a differential of -115; they aren’t going to go down a division because of a team I will discuss further down. Still, hopefully, it gives the Clansmen a chance to reload for the next season, as I can’t see them making a splash in the playoffs.

They still have the chance to spoil the momentum for the 2-win streak Durham Saints, but I really can’t see it happening given the last score from these two eas 45-19 to the Saints.

Swansea Titans – South

Unless there is a vast, almost impossibly one-sided victory by the Titans against the Cardiff Cobras on Sunday, the Titans are heading down to Division 1.

Holding their sole victory over the UEA Pirates in week 1, it has been downhill from the Titans from there as they sit with a -177 differential and future fighting to get back in the Prem.

Their 2019/20 season didn’t end in a pole position, but they still managed to stave off relegation as they went 2-5-1, as the Hurricanes went down that season going 1-6-1.

Hopefully, this break from the Prem will allow the Titans to work out the premiership puzzle.

Leeds Gryphons – North

Does anyone else find it weird that all these teams who aren’t doing well have a green and white logo?

Overmatched is the word I’d use for the Gryphons; the covid season really showed its scars when it comes to this team.

This team is confirmed to go down, as they can’t match the Stirling Clansmen 2-5 record with the one game they have left.

This season at Prem was due to the Gryphons dominating performance in the 2019/20 seasons they went 8-0 with a differential of +182 in the BUCS 1A Yorkshire and Lancashire divisions.

It’s a far cry from that now. The Gryphons have a 0-7 as of writing this and have only scored 10 points all season.

They have proven they can break through to the Prem before, which will be a task they will have to accomplish again.

I, for one, look forward to what is next for Leeds, but can they close the season out on a high against Leeds Beckett? I don’t believe so.

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