This past Saturday saw Round 4 of the Sapphire Series. Finals Day looms ahead on May 3rd, so the race for ranking places is really coming down to the wire.
There are six teams in the Series – Birmingham Lions, Derby Braves, Hertfordshire Tornadoes, Kingston Horse, Portsmouth Destroyers and the Southampton Stags, and games see all players fully kitted and play a 5-a-aside format.
Round One was played on February 8th and it was Kingston quickest off the blocks. After beating Portsmouth in the first game, they then suffered a setback with a narrow loss to Hertfordshire. Shutouts of Birmingham and Southampton saw them lead the rankings after the first round.
Despite the loss to Kingston, it was the Lions of Birmingham who also come away with three wins on the day.
A fortnight later it was the turn of Herts to be the dominant side, crushing Southampton 37-0 and beating Kingston in a close final game. Birmingham won the battle in the North, defeating Derby 46-2. Back down South and the Stags finally got a win against a Portsmouth side that was still struggling for some consistency.
Into March, and the middle point of the Series would see Birmingham rise to the top, showing that no team would have it all their own way in this competition. They routed Derby 43-0, then also blanked Kingston, handily beat Portsmouth and defeated Herts in the final game 13-12. By now it was becoming clear who were the better teams in the Series but there could be no complacency as a dip in play could see an upset as the play was improving with every outing from the other teams.
And this is where we get right up to date with Round Four being played this weekend. Birmingham beat Derby in the North, and in the South it was Kingston who came away with the honours, beating Herts 42-21 in the days final, after strong outings against Portsmouth and Southampton.
Currently the rankings and points stand as follows:
1. BIRMINGHAM LIONS 46 points
2. KINGSTON HORSE 42
3. HERTS. TORNADOES 39
4. PORTSMOUTH DESTROYERS 27
5. SOUTHAMPTON STAGS 22
6. DERBY BRAVES 18
The last round of games takes place on April 5th and we will give you the final results from that day as well as the final rankings ahead of Finals Day in May.