HRC’s regular season in the men’s championship ends on Saturday in Kuopio. The game is the last one also for Kuopio and the stakes are fittingly high.

Last Saturday’s win over the Warriors lifted HRC close to the top of the table, but home advantage to the semifinals is still not secured. A bonus-point win in Kuopio could clinch it where as losing would most likely mean a third-place finish.

Kuopio, who also host the finals’ day, have their backs against the wall. The season hasn’t been kind to them and the team has found itself in the relegation danger zone. The current bottom team Old Town Shamrocks trail the Savonians by only two points with two games in hand, so the need for points is dire in Kuopio. Only a win will do, but even that might not be enough to fend off the drop.

HRC won the teams’ July try fiesta 56-30. HRC’s game was hampered by lapses in the defense which allowed Kuopio to hang in the game for relatively long and take home a bonus point. Based on the last weekend’s Warriors game, the HRC defense is currently solid as steel and the offense can put points on the board if there’s even a hint of possession. HRC is the clear favorite, but the home side will be fighting to the last minute to escape the relegation threat. If working morale is left in the bus and Kuopio gets a good start, it could well become an extremely difficult game to win.

The Saturday’s other championship game is played in Porvoo, where the Old Town Shamrocks host Kalev Tallinn and the stakes the same as in Kuopio.

The game starts at the Puijo stadium at 15:00 on Saturday. Matchday’s Facebook event:

Remaining games: 8.9. Kuopio-HRC and Old Town Shamrocks-Kalev Tallinn; Old Town Shamrocks-Jyväskylä and Kalev Tallinn-Warriors

Teksti: Mika Huopainen
Kuva: Aki Pentikäinen