UoB’s Men’s Rugby Union 2nd XV would have gone into Wednesday’s game vs Bedford 1st XV high on confidence after winning their opening three games of the season in emphatic style, with scores of 60+ in two of them. But they came up against a resolute and physically dominating Bedford side, who overcame the home side 27-19.
The first half was a scrappy encounter, devoid of any real quality as both teams struggled with ball in hand and at the breakdown, with neither sides forwards being able to make telling contributions and the backs constantly forced into kicking possession away. It was Bedford who drew first blood, from a penalty right underneath the posts which came about through handling the ball in the ruck. But from then Birmingham did have the chance to lead, but it was fly-half Rory Chatterton who wasted both of these chances- kicking two penalties wide. A late try for Bedford capped off a poor first half from UoB, who went in at the break trailing by eight points to nil.
The second half went from bad to worse for the home side, as Bedford were rampant for a short period- scoring three tries in quick succession to take them into an unassailable 27-0 lead. Each of the tries were similar in a way, as the Bedford centre’s each broke several tackles before off-loading to provide an easy score for their teammates, the Birmingham backline where simply unable to deal with the pace and power of the Bedford centres.
It was at this point, things started to turn around for Birmingham who played a largely flawless last 20 minutes, scoring three tries of their own- the first coming from front-row replacement Harry Higgs who barrelled over to score, before some smart passing play brought the next two- Craig Bonnar, the chief thorn in Bedford’s side. But ultimately it was not enough for Brum- as they could only make it up to 19-27, a score which perhaps flattered them considering their first half performance, but there were definite positives to take from the final 20 and they should not be too hard on themselves considering the blistering start to the season they have made.