The 2015 British semifinals kick off today and feature the same four teams in exactly the same groupings as last year. The London Warriors, who finished first in the Premiership South division with a 7-1 record, will host the Tamworth Phoenix who head down to London from central England, after placing second in the Premiership North with an 8-2 record.
The other semifinal will see the London Blitz take a seven hour trip north to Scotland to face the East Kilbride Pirates who finished first with an 8-2 record.
The Warriors appeared to be on the way to waltzing through the regular season undefeated as they did in 2014 until their crosstown and bitter rivals the London Blitz handed them a physical 13-7 defeat two weeks ago. Although the Blitz needed to win by 29 points to overtake the Warriors in the South Division and finish first, the defeat served notice that they are not intimidated by the two-time defending British champion Warriors.
In the 2014 semis, the Warriors had no trouble knocking off Tamworth, firmly establishing the South as the much stronger division in British American football.
This year, despite the one loss, they enter the game intent on keeping the crown they have held for two seasons. The Phoenix lost last year’s playoff battle to the Warriors 44-14 and they are facing a Warriors team that only gave up a total of 29 points all season.
The East Kilbride Pirates have won the North Division of the BANFL for the third season in a row and are by far the highest scoring team in the British top league amassing 366 points in their 10 games. However, they face a tough test in the Blitz. The Pirates have lost to the Blitz the previous two outings in the playoffs and the London squad is entering this game coming off a big win against the powerful Warriors.
In 2014, the Pirates were overwhelmed 44-0 by a Blitz team that was peaking and who went on to almost beat the Warriors in the 2014 BritBowl. The Blitz look no less daunting this year after their successful British season and semifinal appearance in the IFAF Europe Champions League tournament.
Listen to the game live here being announced by Kyle Garlett. Kick off is 1 PM in Great Britain (8 AM EDT).