Match Preview - Keele Crusaders

The Keele Crusaders come to West Park this Saturday to face the Gryphons in the final regular season game of the 2016-17 BUCS season, as both sides look to end their campaigns on a high note after impressive runs of form.

Keele came into the new year with an 0-3 record and looking doomed to occupy one of the bottom spots in the division come the season’s end. However, a shock 6-0 overtime victory over the previously undefeated Liverpool Raptors sent shockwaves throughout the conference and the Crusaders built on that by comprehensively beating Chester Legion 46-6 two weeks ago. As such Keele come into this game with a 2-3 record, still 6th in the division but with potential to move up to 3rd and a possibility of claiming a playoff appearance with it should they bag a victory over the Gryphons this weekend.

Despite wrapping up the division title and with it promotion last weekend with a 15-6 victory over the Raptors, Leeds have their own motivations for victory in this fixture too. As well as a desire to finish the season with a perfect record, an unthinkable prospect to many outside the organisation coming into this season, the result of this game will have a large impact on the Gryphons’ seeding in the Division 2 Northern playoffs which begin in two weeks time. A win, and results going Leeds’ way in the Borders division would hand the Gryphons the number 1 seed, whereas defeat could drop the Gryphons to 3rd and give them a harder, and much more travelled, route navigating the playoffs. 

How the Gryphons cope with a stingy Keele defence will have a large impact on the outcome of this fixture, the Crusaders giving up only 6 points since Christmas, and have held everyone except the Bangor MudDogs to under 20 points this season. The key will be in Leeds’ ability to stay calm against a defensive unit that will be tough to move the ball against.

Expect and entertaining tie between two sides going into this fixture on a high after respective winning streaks.

Chester Legion            W     50-0
Bangor MudDogs        W     26-24
Edge Hill Vikings          W     28-6
Bradford Bears            W     50-14
Liverpool Raptors        W      15-6

Bradford Bears             L     6-18
Bangor MudDogs         L     0-35
Edge Hill Vikings           L     6-15
Liverpool Raptors        W     6-0 (OT)
Chester Legion             W     46-6

Kickoff is at 16:30 on Saturday 18th February.

West Park Rugby Club
The Sycamores
LS16 9JR

Alternatively, you can keep track of live updates on Twitter via our page @LeedsGryphonsAF