With a shock defeat for the first time in a decade last year, the Lions were out for revenge. But the question on everyone’s mind was: could they perform flawlessly on the new Bournebrook pitch against the freshly promoted Portsmouth Destroyers and get their revenge?
The Lions gained possession from kick-off, and made no mistake, scoring on their first drive with some electric run plays. Unfortunately, they missed the PAT, making it 6-0. However, not to be outdone, the Lions’ defence quickly made an inspiring play, picking off the Portsmouth Destroyers’ Quarter Back inside their own 20 yard line. The offence got the ball back in excellent field position, again made no mistakes, as Louis Haines ran the ball in from 12 yards to make it 13-0.
The Lions dominated first half, with the defence forcing another turn over (this time through a fumble) before Elliot Walters connected with a fantastic pass from Rohan Sandhu, catching it in the End Zone over his right shoulder. A mighty 20-0 only after the first quarter!
During the quarter break, the BUDS to centre stage on the pitch to entertain crowd with a scintillating routine. The crowd was on their feet which added all the more to the spectacle of the event, before the Lions returned to their hunt.
By half time, the score was 26-0 (with the last points of the half being added by Elliot Walters, this time with a run play), with mistakes, in an otherwise effortless display, being the missed PATs.
After a rousing display from the Birmingham Pussycats at half time, the Lions kicked off into the second half, eagerly hoping to further their domination. However, the Destroyers soon scored on their opening drive, making it 26-7. But just as the momentum looked like it was starting to shift, Ben Thomas received the ball from kick-off on his own 10 yard line… Cometh the hour, cometh the man; he stormed down the wing, breaking two tackles on his way to the End Zone. A masterclass on special teams, and a great individual performance immediately restored the Lion’s roaring lead and empowered the home support back on their feet. 32-7, and no way back for the Destroyers.
Birmingham had a quieter second half. The only UoB score came about from a fabulous run play from the QB Rohan Sandhu, who had to improvise after the planned play fell apart shortly after the snap. Portsmouth did also score before the end with Sam Chance making another great catch, after the Portsmouth QB did some improvising of his own when the snap went over his head.
The final score of 38-14 was a fantastic result for the Lions who had a taste of what life in the Premiership is like for Portsmouth. Both head coaches will take positives and negatives from this game into training on Monday, but for the thousands that gathered on the bank to watch the Lions roar to victory, there were only positives.
What the highlights of the spectacular game here: