It was an intense game played on Wednesday evening by the Men’s 1st rugby union team in their vase league cup game against Exeter. Birmingham appeared to be off to a good start as the game began: a great kick from number 9 up the pitch followed later by a skilfully darted run down the left side resulted in a UoB penalty allowed them to get the first points onto the bored. It was a lovely straight kick which slotted the ball dead centre between the post starting the score with 3-0.
Exeter quickly turned the tables with a great lateral pass down the pitch resulting in several scrums and a massive push to score through with brute force. However, Birmingham did hold their ground and stopped the try. Exeter returned with a great line play by their number 8 resulting in a try and conversion which was followed in close quarters by another try for Exeter taken by brute force which pushed the UoB defence back metre by metre. There was no conversion this time, but it left Exeter with a nice lead with 12-3.
The Lions were determined and fought back in the end of the first half. They gained another try from a decisive run from number 11 demonstrating the sheer resilience of the home team and finished with a conversion to bring the score to 10-12 to Exeter at half time.
Birmingham came out determined in the second half. Stamping their mark on the game, they were again first to score. This time a tremendous run came from number 15 who caught Exeter’s kick out and managed to drive the ball from behind the half way line passing the ball across to player 2, who kicked it up keeping the ball in play for it then to be caught by the number 9 who finished by scoring the try. It was an ecstatic atmosphere surrounding this score and was topped with a conversion allowing the Lions to take the lead 12-17.
However, as we saw throughout the previous half, Exeter had a strong line and decisive plays so clearly weren’t going to let Birmingham keep their lead and returned with two successive try’s and one conversion. Despite their best efforts, UoB’s defence just fell short of tackles as Exeter drove the ball down the far line: 24-17 to Exeter.
Birmingham managed to get another try taking back control of the game with number 10 breaking through the defence line and running from the 22 metre line to score taking the defence completely by surprise and unable to stop his play. Sadly, no conversion meaning Birmingham remained behind and their loss was sealed by a late try again from Exeter and conversion leaving the score on the final whistle to be 31-22 to Exeter. It was a great game to watch and commentate with tensions constantly on the pitch resulting in a fantastic fight and a very supportive crowed.
Unfortunately, despite putting on an undeniable display of resilience, determination, and fantastic play, the Lions have now been knocked out of the league. Birmingham should be incredibly proud of how they have played. As always, there are lessons to be learnt but our mighty Lions have put on a fantastic show and I’m sure that they will return with a renewed spirit.