The second round of the 2014 Buce League is fast approaching and it’s time to get those outrageous predictions sorted. Take heed punters and pundits alike. I, Eddy Downtown, would like to invite you into another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the… I’m-Right Zone.
The first matchup of round two pits Team Venture against The Hawks at 2:30pm this Sunday. Team Venture is coming off a hard fought 3-0 win against Blek and is tipped as the favourites by bookies. The Hawks are progressing from a 4-4 tie with the Wu-Tang Clan which helped springboard the form of many players, especially the exciting rookie Matthew Lee. This will be an undoubtedly fierce match between two strong teams with exceptionally skilled players.
Both teams relied heavily on fighting to establish a midfield dominance to control the pace of the game and we can assume that this upcoming match will be no different. The most exciting prospect of this match will be the midfield battle between partnerships Charlie Rogers/Chris Beavon and Matthew Lee/Andrew Shakespeare – a very even contest. I would imagine, however, that tactically the clash lands in Venture’s courtyard as the experience of Rogers will provide counter-plays to Lee’s midfield ability. I expect some tight, physical man-marking on danger man Lee.
A major difference comes in the form of the defensive duties of each team. Whilst Venture was fortuitous not to concede against Blek they had the benefits of a strong backbone in Alex Conway and withstood more sustained attacks to keep a nil scoresheet than fortune would excuse. We see, however, that The Hawks conceded 4 single points to the Wu-Tang Clan which included sometimes unguarded and sloppy defensive work. The Hawks will have to tighten this end if they wish to walk away with three points.
At the final whistle I would have to land my prediction on Team Venture to win albeit by a very tight margin. They have a more reliable squad depth and the experience to formulate gameplans as the sack moves. The physicality of Lee can be matched by Ashley Everson and midfield responsibility can be spread amongst three or four exceptional players. I feel this is the game to test The Hawks. Their biggest hope lying with captain Nick Allan to provide organisation and knowledge that could possibly counter Venture. He’s outgunned and the odds are against him but if any man has the pieces to construct a victory it’s Allan. (editor’s note- Tim Abel is captain of the Hawks for the 2014 Buce League, not Nick Allan)
Prediction Venture 3 – Hawks 2
The second matchup of round two has the tested Wu-Tang Clan facing the rested Toecutters at 4pm. Wu-Tang Clan have the advantage of playing last week and establishing a dynamic that worked in securing 4 points against a tight Hawks outfit whilst the Toecutters are coming from no preseason matches and a first round bye with a relatively new team. I don’t expect much from the Toecutters but they have experience and supreme match intelligence in the leadership of Drew Cowen who could provide some inventive counterplay from the underdogs.
Wu-Tang have proven their strong attacking presence and organisation with Theo Rogers and Flynn Comerford. They are an aggressive and attack orientated team and this will place the Toecutters under intense pressure. I expect many points to be leaked by the Toecutters before the first half. Dominance of the midfield will be easily obtained by Wu-Tang which will leave the Toecutters in a position of distanced counter attacks. The fabled ‘Tomahawk’ will most likely be utilised by the Toecutters frequently.
The Toecutters by all accounts have their backs against the wall and could not face a harder challenge for their first league match. However, I believe Drew Cowen will know this and provide inventive counterplay for his team. The Toecutters will most likely rely on a quick counterattack which will aim to achieve long shots for double points as the Wu-Tang have committed forward. With an untested and rusty team this may not prove as successful as could be thought but may help relieve attacking pressure from Wu-Tang.
To put my prediction in simple terms: Wu-Tang are simply too strong of a team. They have the firepower, speed and numbers to severely outplay a dilapidated Toecutters. The Toecutter’s biggest hope is that they have secretly registered Keith Rogers and Matthew Hair to surprise a supremely confident Wu-Tang Clan.
Prediction Wu-Tang 10 – Toecutters 0*
Do you agree with Downtown? What are your thoughts?
*Match has been postponed two weeks to accommodate both teams