2017 BAFA National League Structure Announced
Preparations for the new season continued on Monday night with the announcement of the Rams’ opponents in BAFA NFC1 North.
Division One, the second tier of British American football, will be split into four divisions of five teams each for 2017, with a mix of new and old foes awaiting the Rams in the Northern Division, Northern Conference.
The Manchester Titans and West Coast Trojans remain from last year’s league. Like the Rams, the Titans made the play-offs last season and will once again have designs on promotion, and a repeat of May’s dramatic game at John Charles Stadium would be welcomed by players and fans alike. West Coast will be looking to build from last season under experienced coach Gary McNey, while the Rams will look for a repeat of last season’s double over the Scottish side.
The Doncaster Mustangs, a traditional rival of the Rams, have moved over from the former Midland Conference while the Newcastle Vikings – who hosted the Rams in an enjoyable pre-season outing last year – have been promoted from NFC2 to complete the line-up.
The promoted Edinburgh Wolves and relegated Gateshead Senators have left the division, while the Clyde Valley Blackhawks withdrew from last year’s league and have reformed down in NFC2 North.
The top two teams in our division will go ahead to the northern semi-finals against the leading pair from NFC1 South, comprised of Midlands-based quintet the Sandwell Steelers, Nottingham Caesars, Birmingham Bulls, Coventry Jets and Leicester Falcons. The northern champions will then take on their southern counterparts for the Division One championship.
Details of our fixture schedule are still to be confirmed, though the plan announced by BAFA is for a 10-game regular season.
Edinburgh join the Tamworth Phoenix, Merseyside Nighthawks, East Kilbride Pirates, Lancashire Wolverines and the rebranded Sheffield Giants in Premiership North, with Gateshead entering a seven-team NFC2 Central – one of six regional divisions in the third tier. Clyde Valley, one of six teams moving up from associate status, join the all-Scottish NFC2 North.