Win against Durham shows encouraging signs for Birmingham 1st XV | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Win against Durham shows encouraging signs for Birmingham 1st XV

Olli Meek reports on the Birmingham 1st Men's Rugby Union team putting in a solid showing vs Durham to take a home win on Wednesday 25th October

The Men’s 1st XV Rugby gained a hard fought win against the Durham 2nds on Wednesday afternoon as one of the first fixtures to be played on the brand new Bournbrook 3G pitch.

It was a game of the metaphorical two halves, with the majority of Birmingham's points being scored in the first 40 minutes, and the half-time break facilitating a Durham turnaround to pile on some second half pressure.  Birmingham made a lively start, kicking off in red, and second row Jared Harvey immediately made his presence felt on the Durham receiver.

It was a game of the metaphorical two halves, with the majority of Birmingham’s points being scored in the first 40 minutes

It was a game of the metaphorical two halves, with the majority of Birmingham’s points being scored in the first 40 minutes. This was to set the tone for how the half was to continue, the Birmingham pack clearly frustrating any and all Durham attempts to gain possession.  This pressure was quick to show both in terms of field position, as well as who was winning the mind games; Durham were down to 14 men after just five minutes when one of their forwards was sent to the sin bin for his part in sabotaging the break-down.  The resulting penalty could not have been in a more inviting position for inside-centre James Chaumeton to choose to kick for the posts.  He duly converted, and Birmingham were the first team on the scoreboard with a 3-0 lead to reward their efforts.

They weren’t left waiting long for their next set of points as well, as winger Ali Wealthall set off apace down the wing from around his own 22-metre line, and with a combination of Durham missing tackles and being distracted by Jake Attwell’s supporting run from full-back, finished off an excellent solo try in the corner.  Due to its proximity to the touchline, Chaumeton failed to convert though, pulling his effort just shy of the posts- the score remained at 8-0, with just over 10 minutes gone.

Durham were clearly keen to get back into this match, and were by no means pushovers with two scores against them in quick succession.  They returned pressure on the Birmingham defence for the next 10 minutes at least, however emerged the other side of these attacks with, other than a missed penalty attempt on 15 minutes, to show for it.

It was to be the Lions who next drew blood, with another try just shy of the 25-minute mark.  Whilst play was more centred around the halfway line, multiple kicks were exchanged at intervals from the respective rear-guards.  Frustrated at this, the Birmingham forwards started moving more laterally, but gained few positive yards of ground.  Their persistence did pay off eventually however, when Chaumeton was released down the right and he broke through the Durham defence to finish unperturbed under the posts for Birmingham’s second try of the match.  This time, he made no mistake with the conversion, coolly slotting the 14th and 15th points of a successful half for the number 12.  This was how the half ended, and with 15 points to Durham’s 0, the boys from Brum were cruising.

Maybe there was something to do with the end that they were playing from, because the Durham team made a strong start to the second half, replicating the initial surge that Birmingham had made 40 minutes previously.  Possession, as well as field territory, was comfortably in Durham’s favour in the opening exchanges, and their team-talk at half-time had clearly persuaded them that they yet had something to gain from the match.  It did take them a little longer to score than it had taken their opposition in the first half, but nevertheless on 60 minutes a rolling maul went over the try line for Durham in the corner, although not doing a huge amount of damage to the deficit, which was now 15-5, especially without the conversion.

The Durham team made a strong start to the second half, replicating the initial surge that Birmingham had made 40 minutes previously

Maybe there was something to do with the end that they were playing from, because the Durham team made a strong start to the second half, replicating the initial surge that Birmingham had made 40 minutes previously

As if on cue to remind Durham who was in charge, Birmingham wasted no time in sending Adam Waring over the white line for Birmingham’s third try of the game, and one that looked to wrap up the spoils at 22-5 with a successful conversion.  One must give Durham credit where it is due though, as they did not give up at this latest setback.  Their reply was to utilise their pack as they had done so for their previous try, gaining a penalty five metres out and subsequently choosing the scrum.  They proceeded to push the home side back until it was Birmingham’s weakened discipline that caused the referee to award Durham the penalty try for their efforts just seven minutes later, on the 70-minute mark.  At this point the score-line was 22-12, and despite the 10-point gap, this Durham side were showing enough belief to worry Birmingham.  The contest was by no means done and dusted, especially when Durham then added a penalty to bolster their morale at 22-15, just a converted try away from salvaging a game that looked beyond them within the first 25 minutes.  It was not to be their day, however, and the Birmingham resilience paid dividends come the final whistle.  They had demonstrated their metal in the face of a couple of questionable refereeing decisions- as those on the touchline repeatedly reminded the massed crowd- and a resolute Durham game-plan.

They ended the game second from bottom of the North A league, with a challenging fixture up next of Newcastle, and a less testing but equally as serious match against Bishop Burton in 2 consecutive away league fixtures.  Five and six points adrift of the next teams up the league, it makes for challenging reading for Brum, however there is still much of the season remaining to build on this encouraging win.

 

(@ollimeek)



Published

27th October 2017 at 11:00 am



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