Improving Shropshire Revolution are setting their sights on a potential season-defining head-to-head showdown with local rivals Staffordshire Surge.
The high-spirited Telford College of Arts and Technology outfit are enjoying an upward curve of confidence and fortune with two victories from their last three games.
Shropshire Star, 27/6/16
Revolution currently stand third in the five-strong NFC II South standings with a record of three wins and three losses, with two of the losses coming in the opening weekends of the season.
But after a victory and a defeat against Surge, who Revolution will play three times against due to an odd number of teams in the division.
And coach Stephen Tonks will hope his side can edge a crucial final clash with the Staffordshire club.
Should they be victorious on July 17, Revolution’s 2-1 head-to-head record could prove vital should should the remaining games go to form and the two sides end with an identical 6-4 record overall.
Runaway leaders Leicester Falcons are flying high at the standings’ summit and are predicted to sail through the 2016 campaign with an unbeaten record of 10-0.
Second place would mean an end of season play-off spot, where the eventual prize would be a dramatic final at Leeds with both sides landing promotion.
While the permutations are hypothetical, the Revolution hierarchy have targeted three wins from clashes against Surge, Lincolnshire Bombers and Humber Warhawks after next weekends visit to leaders Leicester.
The Revolution’s James Tomlinson said: “We did the maths and we can both finish on 6-4, but we didn’t begin to think about play-offs.
“Not making them wouldn’t mean it wasn’t a successful season. We’ve had a very good season and nobody is too worried about not making it.”
The Revolution are still on a high from their last match, a narrow 28-24 victory against Surge which leaves them a fighting chance at hitting the play-offs.
When taken into account that the Shropshire outfit went the whole of the 2015 without a win as they were relegated from the NFC I, their turnaround in fortunes is notable.
Coupled with the fact that many of the squad was put together throughout a winter period full of hard-work and commitment then you have to applaud their current status.
The side hosted a number of rookie days in a bid to drum up local interest and the efforts are paying off.
Offensive co-ordinator Neil Holtshcke also played a big part in compiling the Revolution’s new playbook, which has served them well.
“It’s a steep learning curve but we have a good unit and we’re improving every match – it’s quite nice really.
“It’s a combination of the coaching we have and experience, you can only get that by playing.
“There’s been a lot of hard work on and off the field and you get out what you put in. It’s not like Sunday League football where you just turn up.”
Dunkerley reckons the Revolution have developed as a side and are enjoying a change of identity on the field.
The Leicester leaders visit Oakengates this Sunday in Revolution’s final home game of the season.
Tonks’ men will be hoping for an upset but they will know that end of season glory is still achievable.
He added: “It can be in our hands. We always start slow, it’s just a Revolution thing. It’s going to be like a showdown (against Surge).
“We used to be known as a throwing and passing side but now we are incorporating a lot more running into our game.
“It’s a balanced game and we try and balance our stats. After the game we will have 51 passes and 48 runs, or something like that, and that’s what we’re looking for.
“I’m loving it. It was very tough last season but you try and put it aside when you’re attracting new guys. We were re-building and we wanted to give a positive message.
“There’s a completely different feel here and it’s a happy team. We’re all bonding and getting to know each other.”
The recent clash with Surge was a match played in the right spirit with both teams wearing bright orange socks in aid of Meningitis Now.
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With the help of supporters a total of £479.20 was raised for the charity.
To support the Revolution in their final home outing, head to Oakengates Leisure Centre on Sunday where gates open at 1.30pm. (Free entry, Kick off: 2:30pm)
Read more at http://www.shropshirestar.com/sport/other-sport/2016/06/27/on-field-shropshire-revolution-pays-off/#g2AQhHMOJsLHmRvW.99