*Burn FM would like to apologise for confusing Durham for Loughborough in the commentary.
The UoB W1 rugby team arrived at Bournbrook well aware that a severe challenge lay in front of them and that they had to step up their game from previous weeks against the strong divisional rivals, Durham. The strong bitter winds added to the intrigue of this match as the conditions were not favourable either side.
Unfortunately, the wind blew away Birmingham’s chances of winning as they were defeated 107-0, but they displayed an impressive might against two forces of nature. This result however, was irrelevant for the Brummie fan as they witnessed the Lion’s courage, determination, and a team spirit that shone through even through the toughest times. The players still ran hard into contact, still fronted up for their tackles, and still fought right until the very end which is truly a credit to their squad. Furthermore, the unity of the Lionesses became even more evident when out on the sidelines, Birmingham was out in support, chanting, singing, and creating a fantastic atmosphere for rugby. At the end a spirited rendition of the team song was heard by all around as they fought against the howling winds.
In terms of the match itself, in the first fifteen minutes, UoB conceded three tries.The key areas where Durham had the slight edge of Birmingham was their ability to shift the ball wide to their electric back three, their ability to win the “battle of the breakdown”, and their willingness to run from depth onto the ball which ensured gain-line success and go forward ball.
But what must be remembered is that this is a team without some of its key players. Nonetheless, there were admirable individual performances from Abi Roberts (starting out of position), Sarah Didier who provided control in front of an aggressive Durham pack, and Zoe Bennion who before she was forced off with injury, created great yards in the midfield with some barnstorming runs.
Yes, this was a tough day for the Lions, but the squad has real potential with a lot of young players and they need to keep their heads up and play on for next week. This match is only going to make them stronger and make them come back fighting harder and stronger. Best of luck next week, Lionesses!