The first of the CNFA semi-finals was played yesterday in Paris, with the two Paris Cocks teams – the Cockerels and Cockatoos – clashing for the right to go to the grand final in coming weeks. The result saw the Cockerels prove too strong for their sister club, ultimately taking the match by 33 points.
A tight first quarter saw the Cockerels with a narrow 2-point lead. The second quarter belonged to the Cockatoos as they restricted the Cockerels scoring whilst hitting the scoreboard frequently themselves. However, after half time, the Cockerels just shut down the Cockatoos scoring options as they continued to attack without mercy, eventually running away to a comfortable winning margin.
An historic round of football in Scotland saw two unexpected but refreshing results as both of the “new kids on the block” – the West Lothian Eagles and Tyne Tees Tigers – enjoyed tremendous debut victories in their new leagues. It sees a large broom sweep through the SARFL competition as the previous status quo of the league is under threat – in a very positive way for football.
The fact that the two new teams defeated last year’s grand finalists in their respective games cannot be underestimated.
The West Lothian Eagles are in a holding pattern for 2018. Their games this year do not count for premiership points – being development games for their entry in 2019 if all goes to plan on and off the field. Well, they have answered many questions already. To down last season’s runners-up in their opening match speaks volumes about their list of players and their off-field organisation to date. Their challenge now – with their debut win behind them – is to maintain the rage and keep performing.
The opening round of the AFL London season saw two convincing wins for the North London Lions and Wandsworth Demons. Both clubs have got away to the ideal start, and in the process sounded a warning to all other teams. Only three points separated them in last year’s grand final, with the Demons prevailing, and evidence after the opening round is that they could once again be headed to the big match in 2018.
The North London Lions hammered the London Swans, brutally racing to a 133-point win. It sees the Lions on top of the ladder with a very handy percentage boost that may come in handy later in the season. The Swans will be disappointed and have to regroup quickly for their next match.
On the one hand, the Wolverhampton Wolverines gave the Merseyside Saints a fearful mauling in their opening round clash. On the other, the Nottingham Scorpions played out a tough, tight slog against the Huddersfield Rams to get over the finish line. The contrasting results, however, mark the beginnings of some stories for each of the teams after just one round, hosted by the Huddersfield Rams.
Just what the Wolverines take from their 204-point victory over the Saints is problematic. Certainly, they won and won extremely well, but whether such a lopsided match prepares them for tougher upcoming assignments is yet to be determined. Players gained some goal kicking practice, the team put their training to the best possible use and played themselves into form and their percentage is off to a flyer. But, the question will stand as to whether or not their form against the Saints will be good enough for the Mozzies or Scorpions…or Rams, for that matter.
Both the Edinburgh Bloods and Glasgow Sharks got away to perfect starts to their respective home and away seasons with important wins on the weekend. Whilst much of the pre-season hype centred around t new teams in the league – the Tigers and Eagles – come match day, the real season began and the two most experienced teams in the league got down to business.
In Edinburgh, the Bloods wasted no time in giving a hearty Scottish welcome to the new kids in town, the Tyne Tees Tigers. A big six goal opening term from the Bloods set the scene for a big first half and from there the Tigers were always behind the eight ball. By game’s end the Bloods had increased that lead to a 107-point victory, establishing their own credentials for the season ahead and letting the Tigers know where they stand – at least initially. But it was a tougher battle that the score line suggests.
Harley Vague on tour in Europe gives us his observations and opinions on footy in France.
Yesterday Toulouse hosted an Australian Football double-header. The Blagnac Aviators from Toulouse played a catchup game against Les Coyotes de Cergy-Pontoise followed by the top of table clash in the Toulouse Hawks Vs The Paris Cocks.
It was a good time to reflect on Australian Football as played in France. I had driven 2.5 hours to Toulouse but that paled against the long journey of the players from the two Paris football teams who had rolled the dice with the striking SNCF railways and arrived.
The eastern province of Leinster has taken out the first Province Of Origin tournament to be played in Ireland since 2012. In an exciting re-addition to the Irish footy scene, the tournament – hosted by the Galway Magpies from the Connacht province and sponsored by Life Pharmacy – has the new 2018 ARFLI season off to a great start in Ireland.
A previously reported (see Province Of Origin Clash To Return To Ireland) it has been a long time between drinks for the provincial battle where players born in any of the four provinces (Leinster, Ulster, Munster or Connacht) can represent that province with pride in a similar way to “state of origin” style pride and rivalry.
With the home and away season completed, the CNFA competition will now move into finals mode. After the weekend’s matches, eyes will now turn to the next two weekends as the semi-final battles will commence in Paris and Toulouse.
First up will be the Paris Cocks derby where the Cockerels, undefeated across the home and away season, take on their little brother the Cockatoos. The Cockatoos won two years ago, taking the 2015/16 title. The Cockerels last flag was the year before in 2014/15. It will be a huge game, on neutral turf for both teams – but one of the Paris teams will win on the weekend and again play in the grand final.
The following weekend, May 12th, attention will turn to the city of Toulouse when the Hawks take on the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes. Once again, the Coyotes will play finals and will be desperate to have a crack at that elusive premiership. Having played finals every season since their rise from the Development League in 2012/13, the Coyotes have just once reached the big day – going down to the Cockatoos in 2015/16. The Coyotes will want to change that.
(Picture: Kenny Darcy surrounded by his new Hamburg Dockers team mates)
The great dream. Travel around the world. Maybe settle in a location for a period of time, visa permitting, and become a “local” for a while. Become part of the fabric of community, and perhaps join a local sports club whilst there – provided the body and mind can still cope. Ensure that your registration is within the league’s rules and a new horizon may open up in front of you.
Enter Kenny Darcy. Once a gangling redhead (actually, he still is) with precious talent as a key position player, Kenny cut his teeth with local Cairns club, Pyramid Power. After going through the motions of junior footy, changing clubs, injuring knees, adapting to life after school and general getting a handle on adult life, Kenny eventually set off on the great adventure with his partner – Europe.
In a wonderful display of trans-Atlantic football, Sweden’s Port Malmö Football Club hosted both men’s and women’s teams made from players in the USA and Canada in the Arctic Cup. The match caped off a very international fortnight with players from four nations gathering in the southern Sweden city in the name of footy. The following report from the Maulers’ Facebook page gives a brief overview of the event.
“Last Saturday, in the glorious sunshine, the Port Malmö Football Club proudly hosted the second Arctic Cup at our home field in Limhamnsfältet. In a great fun, high quality 12-a-side game the Maulers got up over a joint USA/Canada team with the final score of 21.15.141 – 4.8.32.”
“It was a great all-round team effort from the Maulers led by captain, Chris Mårtensson, carrying a shoulder injury spending the game ‘resting’ at full forward where he bagged a 10-goal haul. While Will Symmons was outstanding in the midfield for his first appearance in the Black and Blue.”