Tomorrow is the first weekend of the Sapphire Series for the newly formed 2A Division. This Division is formed of teams who have made the jump up to 7v7 football for 2018, including our very own Women’s team! A total of six teams have moved up the formats and have been split into a North and South Conference for the Series.
The North Conference welcomes familiar faces in the Teesside Steelers and Chester Romans. These teams, and Sandwell, all competed against each other in #Sapphire17 with Teesside taking home the trophy for the Conference. Chester Romans took home spot number two with Sandwell right behind in third.
Despite this Conference seeing repeat performances from 2017, these match-ups will be difficult to predict based on last year’s results. Veterans Teesside Steelers secured the Conference title with an almost perfect season record. The surprise of the Series was in the last game of the season, when Teesside fell short against Chester, losing 18-12.
Chester were ecstatic with the result as this assured second place for the Romans and represented their first competitive win against Teesside. Meanwhile, our ladies ended the Series in a respectful third place. Although we failed to take a win away from Teesside, we did take a very hard-fought win from Chester in the third round. With these teams trading wins all last season, anything could happen this weekend!
This version of the game adds more O line and D line players which makes things a lot more fun up front! The QB is also allowed to run the ball adding another component to the offence. A new format necessitates a new playbook too; it will be interesting to see how teams have developed from last season to incorporate the additional players within their scheme.
Chester are well known for a strong run game with their RB Helena Lasok-Smith. Rumour is the Romans have added even more talent to the backfield in rookie Jo Craze too. We suspect defences will have a tough job against this running back duo…
Meanwhile, Sandwell’s defence are a hard-hitting bunch. Sydney Green, has re-joined the ranks at the Steelers as linebacker for the season. She joins defensive stand-out Shannon Perry making this one seriously mean LB unit.
Teesside are great all-rounders and dominant on both sides of the ball. We’d put our money on them taking to 7’s like a duck takes to water. Having had the opportunity to work out some kinks against Division One competition in the pre-season, we expect this to be a great opening tournament!
Game 1 Chester Romans vs Sandwell Steelers
Game 2 Sandwell Steelers vs Teesside Steelers
Game 3 Teesside Steelers vs Chester Romans