Birmingham hold out against staunch Nottingham attack
There was a bit of dampness to the pitch as the match kicked off at 6pm to a healthy crowd at Borunbrook.
Nottingham struck first when after 10 minutes fly-half James Chaumenton kicked the ball out of the Lions’ 22 only for the Nottingham’s left-hand winger to catch the ball, scamper through some weak tackling to score in a swan dive fashion that Chris Aston would have been proud of. Nottingham’s Flyhalf converted and the score was Birmingham 0 – Nottingham 7.
This match had a very good tussle between both forward packs and power in the scrum and rucks were prevalent. Birmingham launched another attack against Nottingham and after a series of discrepancies from Nottingham, the Lions were awarded a penalty 5 meters out from the visitor’s the try line. The Lions decided to opt for the penalty kick at goal which Chaumenton converted successfully to make the score Birmingham 3 – Nottingham 7.
Birmingham then decided to hit back scoring a try of their own. After being awarded a series of penalties, the Lions kicked for the corner and opted for a line-out 5 meters from the Nottingham try line. The Lions won the line-out and set up a driving maul and barrelled their way over to score in the far corner. Chaumenton missed the conversion, but the hosts took the lead Brimingham 8 – Nottingham 7.
Both sides were very competitive and the end of the first half showed that. With 10 minutes left to go the home side grabbed another try. As if straight off the training ground, Birmingham kicked a penalty to the five meter line on the right hand side and scored another driving line out try. Chaumenton was mightily close with the conversion, the ball hitting the cross bar. Unfortunately however, it didn’t go through the posts meaning Birmingham now lead 13 points to Nottingham’s 7.
Just before the break, Birmingham were awarded another penalty which Chaumenton slotted making the half time score Birmingham 16 – Nottingham 7.
The second half started with controversy with the decision making of the referee. After conceding 6 penalties in a row, most of them were not the correct decisions from the referee, the referee gave a yellow card to Birmingham’s Blindside Flanker. Nottingham slotted a penalty early on bring the gap to only 6 points.
There was more controversy with Nottingham getting away without two players being sent to the sin bin for reckless challenges, one a high tackle, and the second tackling a man in the air and leaning with his head. However Birmingham seemed to soak up all of the pressure from the attacks Nottingham tried to put together.
The Lions crucially did not concede any points when they were down to 14 men on the pitch as Nottingham were not able to capitalise with the extra man. Chaumenton stepped up to the plate in the last 20 mins by slotting two more penalties and Birmingham were able to grind out the victory, Birmingham 22 – Nottingham 10.
Birmingham will be disappointed they allowed the first try in. However the Lions have now shown this season that they can win determination to grind out the game, as well as the flamboyant style they showed last week. Perhaps they need to work a little harder to create more opportunities for tries, as they averaged 3 tries per game, but only scored 2 on this occasion. The real challenge will be to take the home form away, which will be key when they travel to Leeds University next week.