Despite a rousing pre-match routine from the Birmingham Pussycats and a spectacular half time show from the Red Devil parachute team, University of Birmingham’s Rugby 1XI were unable to respond to a strong performance from the visiting University of Nottingham side, who came out on top in the pre-season friendly.
The Lions got off to the worst possible start as UoN scored three tries in the opening 10 minutes. The Nottingham backs looked in fine, free-flowing form from the very first whistle- but it must be said they were helped by a poorly organised and perhaps slightly nervous Birmingham defensive line. As they twice failed to pick up the man over which resulted in a try being scored, and the home side were 0-17 down after the first 20 minutes.
UoB then staged a mini-recovery, following this fast start from the away side, with two front-rowers scoring tries. Their replacement tight-head prop Harry Higgs bustled over for the first score, before hooker, Mike Norman found himself in space to go over. At this point Birmingham found themselves at 10-17 as fly-half Craig Bonnar struggled in windy conditions, missing both conversions.
However, this was as close as it got for the Lions, as Nottingham scored two late first half tries to give them a welcome cushion going into the half time break, with the scoreline at 29-10.
After an exciting first half, the Red Devils had a lot to live up to, and they certainly did not disappoint. As six veteran soldiers parachuted onto the Bournbrook pitch, drawing great pleasure from the sizeable crowd.
The second half was a much cagier affair, though it was Notts who stretched their lead with another try, following a great attacking play in the backs following a scrum, which allowed their outside centre to scythe through and stretch their lead to 26 points as the conversion was slotted home.
The rest of the second half was largely fragmented, as several errors from both sides meant the game broke up considerably. However, following several good phases of play from the Birmingham forwards in the opponents 22, Jordan Cranton, crossed over to earn UoB their third try. Taking the score to 15-36, as Bonnar again failed to make the conversion.
But it was Nottingham who got the last laugh as they scored a try as the final whistle went, making the final score University of Birmingham 15-41 University of Nottingham. Birmingham battled hard throughout, and have several positives to take from the game, but ultimately on the day Nottingham proved too strong.
Listen below to the highlights of our commentary from today’s game.