Conditions were far from ideal for rugby at Bournbrook as Birmingham took on top-of-the-table Loughborough. It was cold, wet and windy- all the ingredients for a forwards game of rugby, and that is what my co-commentator, Sam Bernard and I were treated to. As Birmingham came back from two tries down to beat a previously unbeaten in the league L’boro, with a magnificent performance, combining forward grit with a resolute defence.
It took about 20 minutes for the game to spring into life, as both sides struggled to adapt to the difficult conditions, a greasy ball making handling difficult, leading to multiple knock-ons from both sides. Though it was the away side, Loughborough who made inroads first, with two tries in the corner following strong rucking from their forwards following several phases. However, their fly half was only able to make one conversion of the two on offer, giving them a 12-0 lead.
However, just moments after L’boro’s second try Brum struck back- Number 8, TJ Akinjobe, breaking several tackles on his way to the line following a quick line out attack from Brum, with fly half James Chaumeton slotting the conversion, a man who was in fine kicking form, especially given the tough conditions. Though, the Lions perhaps had a slice of fortune in the scoring of their next try- Chaumeton attempted a relatively easy penalty kick, which he would have been disappointed to see cannon back off the post. However, some quick thinking from Riven Earle meant he could catch the ball as it rebounded, and run at the Loughborough defence- from the resulting ruck, flanker Alex Ozegovic was able to sidestep a few oncoming defenders and score. Chaumeton was this time able to kick the conversion, and Brum went in 14-12 up at half time.
The Lions momentum only continued to grow following the break, as Chaumeton scored a penalty, in-between two more tries! Jonny Lea managed to go over for both these tries, following excellent rolling mauls and equally excellent rucking work from Birmingham’s forwards. Sam Roe and Barnaby Hayward looked particularly strong in the rucks for Birmingham, who dominated L’boro’s forwards all day. So with the score at 29-12 to the Lions, they looked certain to cause an upset and end Loughborough’s run.
And it was to be, despite a mini-revival from Loughborough who scored a converted penalty try and a try from open play in the final minutes, Birmingham’s defence ultimately proved resolute, and they were able to close out the game to claim a huge victory. And following this massive win for the Lions, they will go into their final two league fixtures against Bishops Burton College and the University of Manchester high on confidence.
Matt Bullin – Head of Sport.