The 2017/18 Championship season has so far unveiled a whole host of surprises and it is evident that the field has evened out in comparison to seasons past. The Championship has clearly become a developing ground for those who aspire to play in the Premiership – and playing well at this level can only open up more opportunities for players and clubs alike.
Despite having a perfect win record of 4 out of 4 this season, defending champions SCC Tankards have not been convincing enough by their own high standards. They have failed to close out games after strong starts, as the games against Bedok Kings and Saints RFC showed. However, do have an abundance of experience and talent in the side, and will definitely be aiming to take their place in the finals again.
Wanderers Gents are hot on the heels of the Tankards with 3 wins so far. They certainly are looking to try and push for a finals berth – something that they missed out on last season. It speaks volumes of the depth of the club when the Gents have the luxury to field players who’ve been capped at the international level. The game against SCC Tankards this weekend will certainly be Match of the Weekend – with all to play for and bragging rights at stake. There will be certainly no love lost between these two clubs.
The surprise of the season to date has to be the performance of Gaulois XV who are in only their 3rd year of playing in the Championship. They are currently 3rd in the table and have managed to string some impressive wins. The return of some seasoned veterans to their ranks has contributed to their fine start and we could well see them in the semi-finals for the first time since their inception.
The performances of last season’s finalists Oldham Blue have not been up to expectations – with a narrow loss to Saints RFC that ended 2017 on a negative note. The club has seen a number of departures of key players to further their national and premiership aspirations, and that could be a contributor to their performance so far. However, with the new year, they will be looking to put their disappointments aside and get off to a fresh and storming restart.
Saints RFC, who were also pushing for a semi-final slot last season, have also been hit by the departures of key players. Their comeback win against Oldham showed that they still have plenty of heart – as did their stellar second half performance against the SCC Tankards. There are still enough games for both Oldham Blue and Saints to rally back and both these clubs would fight tooth and nail to salvage the 2017/18 season.
There’s all to play for and there cannot be a more exciting way to kick off the season with some key matches to look out for this weekend. We can’t wait!
Photo Credit: Jeff Chiang