One of Birmingham’s biggest sporting events has rolled around once more. xpLosION is back as the Birmingham Lions get set to take on the Kingston Cougars at the Bournbrook pitch this Saturday, in what is set to be a bumper evening with Birmingham Pussycats and Birmingham, Dance squad featuring too.
In recent years, it’s fair to say that this show piece football event has been fairly one sided, with the Lions beating the Hertfordshire Hurricanes last year 23-0, and the Nottingham Trent Renegades the year before that, 38-7; but this isn’t a game Birmingham can take lightly.
The Kingston Cougars have enjoyed a remarkable run of successes since they were founded as a University franchise in 2012. Last year was their best year so far, winning the South Divisional Cup, beating Surrey in the final 42-9, after going the season unbeaten.
Their first fixture in the highest BUCS division was a tough matchup, coming up against a veteran team in the Hertfordshire Hurricanes. However, the Cougars were able to upset the odds storming to a 26-13 win, seeing them move up to second place in the division, heading into this weekend.
They sit behind Birmingham, who have also got off to a flying start this season, beating the Imperial Immortals 47-0 in a strong showing on both the defensive and offensive sides. The Lions passed and rushed for a total of 339 yards, whilst the Immortals were held to an overall loss of 2 yards over the course of the entire game. The Lions’ defence was particularly strong against the run, pushing the immortals back 18 yards over the game in rushing attempts.
The Lions will be looking for a stronger showing this season after falling short of their potential last time out, crashing out in their first play-off game against Stirling. Expectations are subsequently much higher this year. Many see them as favourites for the division, if not the championship as well.
Looking to the night itself, as stated before, the Lions cannot afford to take this game for granted as the Cougars have shown last week that they are more than willing to pounce on any lapses by their opposition. The confidence in the Cougars’ camp will be high, heading into this matchup, with an 11 game win streak behind them, but I fear it may come to an end this Saturday. The Lions are always strong at home and more specifically in front of a big crowd, and I expect that trend to continue as the Lions, once again, continue their quest for BUCS glory. It will not be easy though, and it will certainly be competitive.
xpLosION begins at 4.15pm at the Bournbrook rugby pitch with kick-off at 4:30pm. Attendance is free with a bar and food vendors on site during the game, as well as a special appearance from the Jacksonville Jaguars truck.