by Twm Owen
The South Wales Warriors have advanced to the semi-finals of the British American Football league play-offs after their first round opponents cried off.
The Worcestershire Black Knights, who the Warriors defeated 48-0 twice in divisional play this season, were due to travel to Llanharan for the first play-off round on Sunday to face the number one ranked Welshmen.
But the Midlands side announced, via its Facebook page, it was unable to fulfill the fixture due to a player shortage.
The Warriors, who finished the regular season with a perfect 8 and 0 record, said the British American Football Association (BAFA) has confirmed they will receive a bye into the Division Two Southern Conference semi-final.
The Black Knights only sealed a post season place at the weekend with a 24-40 victory away in Dorset at south west bottom side Jurassic Coast Raptors.
But it seems a further Sunday in south Wales was one game too far for the Black Knights who had qualified for the play-offs for the first team in their short history.
The statement said: “It is with deep regret that the club announces that it is unable to compete in the play-off fixture against South Wales Warriors this weekend.
“The decision was made by the club committee, coaches and the few players that were available for the fixture.
“Due to several injuries sustained against Jurassic Coast Raptors on Sunday, and player availability, player safety became a key factor and for that reason the club have informed both BAFA and South Wales Warriors of the situation, and that due to these factors we are unable to take part in the weekend’s fixture.
“As a young club, to forfeit at this stage is a huge heart break but we are proud of the progress we have made as a team.
“We would like to thank all of our players, supporters, coaches and sponsors and look forward to next season.”
We’ve received notification that the @WorcBlkKnights have forfeited our playoff game on Sunday.
As a result, the league have confirmed that we’ve been awarded the win and receive a bye into the next round.
— South Wales Warriors (@swwarriors) August 8, 2018
Warriors coach Geraint Roberts said he will now use this Sunday as an extra training session for the semi-final, which will be the Warriors’ first post season action since defeating Scots the West Coast Trojans to win the 2011 Division Two Britbowl final at Crystal Palace.
“We’re obviously very disappointed,” said Roberts but expressed sympathy for their divisional rivals: “We can appreciate how tough making the decision was, and hopefully they are stronger in 2019. We’ll now use Sunday to prepare for the 19th.”
The semi-final on August 19 will also take place at the Warriors’ home at Llanharan RFC’s Dairy Field where as the number one seeds the Warriors will face the lowest ranked side still in contention.
Whoever has to travel to south Wales to reach the final will have to face the Warriors after what is likely to have been a tough opening round this weekend.
The other play-off fixtures sees second seeds London Blitz B host the Norwich Devils, Hertfordshire Cheetahs play the Ipswich Cardinals and the Torbay Trojans, who were south west runners up behind the Warriors, travel to the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts