The Peterborough Saxons open the 2012 season in one of the 4 games
played on Saturday 14th April. After the dreadful events of last
season in the Saxon camp and with the League reshuffling again, the
Saxons find themselves in the strong Division 2 East. Without much
doubt, the Division 2 East looks the hardest conference to try and
claim top prize this season. With the Saxons and Colchester Gladiators
dropping down from Division 1, the Watford Cheetahs and Milton Keynes
Pathfinders both winning 7 games last season, there are going to be no
easy games. Bedfordshire Blue Raiders and Maidstone Pumas round out
the 6 team conference.
The Saxons open up against the Bedfordshire Blue Raiders and will look
to take the good pre-season form into the first game. It is often
shown that teams change dramatically from season to season so you can
never tell what any team will be like purely going on last seasons
form. Bedfordshire will prove a stern test for the new look Saxons as
no player, coach or supporter wants all the pre-season work to end
with a game one loss. Bedfordshire won 3 games last season, 1 over
Maidstone and 2 wins over the Norwich Devils who pulled out of the
league (as 1-0 walkovers).
A couple of weeks later the Saxons get to host the Milton Keynes
Pathfinders at our new home, the Lions Den. MK will be riding high
after last season, winning 7 games and making the play-offs for the
first time in their history, before losing to the West Coast Trojans
in the first round. This has all the makings of a great first game at
our new home whilst also marking the first double header of the
season. The Saxons head back to MK the weekend after, which is sure to
heap the pressure on the losing team to get revenge and turn the
tables after such a short turnaround.
After the double header the Saxons hit the road again for the 3rd time
to play the Watford Cheetahs. They will be undoubtedly upset after
just missing out on the playoffs last season, whilst still winning 7
games and conceding less than 100 points. I said it before, but the
champions in this division will have been made to earn it the hard
way. Watford will hope to bring that D out again this year to help
them to keep improving as they have done over the past 5 seasons in
division 2; and will be aiming for the playoffs as a minimum aim.
Whilst this is a double header game for Watford, the Saxons squeeze in
Bedfordshire at the Lions Den on the start of three home games which
will be vital for the success of the season.
Quite possibly the juiciest match-ups of the division comes in the
form of back to back weekend games against the Colchester Gladiators.
Publically letting it know that they were unhappy with being demoted
from Division 1 for this season, the Gladiators will be in the same
boat as the Saxons in wanting to erase that season from the history
books, and winning promotion back to Division 1 this season.
Colchester did not have an issue scoring last year despite only
winning 1 game, if they have managed to build on from last years
squad, they could be a tip for the title. There is no other way to put
it, these games will either make or break either team’s season. Coming
into the critical tail end of the regular season, and with 4 games in
a row, it’s vital for the Saxons to get results here.
Games 9 and 10 see the final double header against the Maidstone
Pumas. After only winning 10 games in the past 9 seasons, the Pumas
will hope the appointment of new Head Coach Roty Hunte and some
positive rookie recruitment days can help turn their fortunes around.
Despite conceding nearly 500 points last year, the Saxons expect them
to post a different challenge this year, but we have the benefit of
all season to see how results go. The final game is at the Lions Den,
and the Saxons hope to draw a large crowd to this and be in a position
to give the crowd more Football in Peterborough in the post season.
With 24 teams battling out to get to the play-offs in Division 2, only
the top 2 from each conference will make it through to the play-offs,
regardless of win percentage. The “Southern” bracket sees Division 2
East and West pitted against each other, with the #1 in East playing
#2 in West and visa versa. This would see potential teams as the
Cornish Sharks or Oxford Saints playing teams from the East. Both
winners then face off at the home of the highest ranked team, with the
prize of facing the team which won the “Northern” bracket (Division 2
Central and North) in the 2012 Finals. This year the Finals are hosted
at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield on August 25/26.
There will be no easy games, and taking any team lightly would be
foolish and potentially could cost the season. The Saxons know the
road they have to travel this season, but are not looking past the
opening fixture against Bedfordshire Blue Raiders. There is only one
certainty, British American Football is back
By Sam Deakin