The University of Birmingham 5s dominated their semi-final rivals, University of Nottingham 6s, in a competitive clash for a place in the Cup final.
Birmingham opened strongly off a Nottingham centre pass and immediately took control over the court from an interception made centre court. The Lioness attack dominated possession throughout the first quarter as they racked up 5-0 within the first 5 minutes. Nottingham struggled with possession centre court and were pushed into unforced errors by the domination of UoB’s pressure. Half way through the first quarter, Nottingham gained a degree of impulsion and energy as both the GA and GS capitalised on goals given any opportunity. A crucial blocked pass by Brum GK, L.Welch disrupted Nottingham passage of play and turnover ball returned the dominating possession to UoB before the end of the quarter. The Lionesses held onto their confident early lead bringing their score to 17 compared to Nottingham’s 8.
The second quarter commenced with a Brummie centre pass and was almost immediately turned over by Nottingham’s WA giving them early possession in the important opening minutes. Although Nottingham secured the first points of the quarter, scoring becomes slightly delayed with both teams intercepting and game’s the pace changimg regularly. After an early lack of rhythm, Birmingham gained composure quickly and managed to disrupt the passages of play in the Nottingham attacking D, making it difficult for the Nottingham GA, GS and C to maintain any quick ball in and around the D. UoB then took control of the court once more and the structure of play reverted to what was seen in the previous quarter. As momentum swayed in favour of Lionesses, they called time and subbed the GA, for the remaining minutes of the second quarter. At half time, Birmingham were leading 31-17.
With the second half of the game commencing, it was clear that a largely one-sided game meant Nottingham were on the underfoot from the start and needed to capitalise in the early moments of the third quarter to give them any chance of gaining momentum and possession throughout the second half of this cup semi-final. Unfortunately, Nottingham struggled to find their way back into the game and seemed unable to gain any composure, losing control of their set passages of play and they were pulled up for contact by the umpire.
A fairly uncontrolled quarter by Nottingham gave the Birmingham’s attack reason to open the court and take the game into their hands, stretching the lead even more and looking unlikely that their opposition would be able to come back. The energy on the Nottingham side was still prominent but mistakes made at crucial moments of play enabled UoB to use to their advantage and with their GA, L.Blackburn, and GS, L.Dodd’s, consistency, they rarely failed capitalise upon Nottingham mistakes and score. At the end of the third quarter, it was 49-20 to Birmingham which clearly indicated the Lionesses dominance of this semi-final game.
Several changes to both teams were made going into the final quarter which changed the flow of the game momentarily but reverted quickly back to the fast paced play. UoB continued to control the court and once more take possession and capitalise on any loose balls or errors. Although Nottingham gained 10 goals in the final quarter, it was met fiercely by Birmingham’s 19 goals and meant Nottingham were unable to close the point difference enough to their opposition who strove ahead in the early stages of the game and crept further and further ahead throughout a high paced 60 minute game.
The final score was 68 to Birmingham and 30 to Nottingham. The Lionesses plaued a truly magnificent game and have dine so throughout this entite season. They are now continuing their cup tournament and confidently leading themselves into the Cup final. From us all at BURN FM, best of luck!
By Harriett Rhodes