Sorry for falling behind in my blogging. Health problems the whole week. Returning to last week I think the match of the season so far was the game between Enköping and Troján with Enköping failing to clinch a place in the semifinal and Troján still keeping a door open to reach that level. Remember the game at the start of the season which took 2 x 50” + 10”? My recollection was that both teams hung about the field for long periods for no clear reasons. And that this was definitely to the disadvantage of Troján who like to maintain a high tempo. They learned their lesson and did everything to keep up the pace of the return game by staking short penalties and starting attacking moves in their own 22. The referee also kept the game flowing. Enköping nevertheless used the attacking talents of their two new stars, Hernan Gispert and Cameron King, to score three well-worked tries in the first half and take a lead of 24 -14 well into second half. But Troján stuck to their strategy and with 20” to go it was clear that Enköping were beginning to unravel. Two converted tries after sustained pressure gave Troján a narrow but deserved victory. A win next week against Exiles could still give them a semifinal place, but this week sees Enköping travelling to Exiles, as the plot thickens.
Before returning to this game, we can briefly look at the other important games of last week. My estimate was that Spartacus in the South would finally give Pingvin a reasonable game. This proved wrong as Spartacus´ defense in the first half performed far below Championship level. I watched in amazement as Pingvin strolled through a paper-thin defense to score five tries in the first half. The suggestion that LUGI were also edging towards a semifinal spot were also probably eliminated as they surprisingly lost away to Malmö, a team they had beaten comfortably in their previous meeting. Göteborg will probably now get a free ride to the semis along with Pingvin. Another perhaps not so unexpected turnover was that the Skåne Ladies lost by almost as much to Göteborg as they had beaten them by down in Skåne. Still looks like Exiles – Göteborg and Skåne Ladies – Enköping in the semis.
But back to the excitement of the Northern Men.
Four of the six key games have now been played with the outcomes:
Enköping played 3 won 2
Exiles played 2 won 1
Troján played 3 won 1
Giving each team two wins against Hammarby, a sadly more or less certain outcome, the points´ table would now stand at:
Enköping P 5 W 4 Points 8
Exiles P 4 W 3 Points 6
Troján P 5 W 3 Points 6
Two games to go: Exiles – Enköping 11.9; Troján – Exiles 24.9.
If Exiles beat Enköping, Exiles will have 8 points with one game to go, Enköping will have finished on 8 points and it will then be all to play for in the final game. If Exiles win that one they will have 10 points and be ranked number 1, while Troján will miss out on the semis. If on the other hand Troján beat Exiles then all three teams will be on 8 points and points´ differences among the three clubs will determine the rankings. Exiles have a slight advantage at present as they have a 16 – 3 score while all the others are within 3 – 4 points. But obviously these differences will change as the table is completed. The present situation with two matches to go and the scenario that Exiles and Troján will win one each the points differences would be Troján -13(+),
Enköping +3(-), Exiles +10(+ -), with signs in brackets showing the adjustments to be made If for example both games were won by 10 points the points would be Enköping – 7, Troján -3, Exiles +10. Put in any figures you like and see who will come out on top.
If Enköping beat Exiles tomorrow they will be ranked number 1. Exiles will be on the same level as Troján and second place will go to them, unless Troján beat them by more than 13 points, in which case Exiles will fail to make the semis (and their ten Championships in a row).
Enough of the mathematics, who´s going to win tomorrow? The teams don´t seem to have been published, perhaps some tactics involved. I´ve seen the Exiles squad and it´s the strongest of the season. I think all 23 would walk into any other side. This strength on the bench can make a decisive difference in the last 20”. So far this season Enköping have brought on 19 – 20 year olds and that will not be enough in this game. Enköping have two excellent new players in the backs, they almost decided the game last week, but Exiles will be taking them on and hope to contain them. Exiles pack is considerably stronger and I think they can determine the result in the later stages of the game. They will be hoping for a fast free-flowing game. Let´s place our faith in the ability of the referee to permit that.