Redbrick Sport's writers offer an alternative Team of the Year, compromised of various names across Europe who were left out of the official PFA team.Written by Leanne Prescott & alexalton on 5th December 2017
XpLosION: Birmingham Lions Destroy ‘The Destroyers’
Sport Editor Olli Meek discusses Saturday's American Football event, XpLosION as the Birmingham Lions defeated 'The Destroyers'
Saturday saw the return of one of the highlights of the University of Birmingham's sporting calendar: the annual American Football match 'XpLosION'.
This year it was the turn of the University of Portsmouth "Destroyers" side to take on the Lions. The fixture was both eagerly awaited and well-attended, with significant crowds turning out in the chill to support the team. They also had the opportunity to enjoy the barbecue and bar that were in operation throughout the afternoon, as well as getting their last fix of pyrotechnics-inspired Snapchat stories for the year watching the succeeding fireworks display
“'It was a bright start from the Lions, immediately showing their attacking prowess having taken possession from kick-off.'
It was to be the first outing for the squad in an XpLosION on the new 3G pitch at Bournbrook, alongside the other new sensation that the players needed to contend with: going into the game without being defending champions for the first time in ten years. The stinging last-minute loss to Bath Killer Bees was still fresh in the minds of all who were there and Birmingham were very keen to set the record straight and get back to winning ways.
It was a bright start from the Lions, immediately showing their attacking prowess having taken possession from kick-off. They quickly made this opening pay off, despite the best efforts of the referees' flags, with the first score from Derius Price. This made the score 6-0 without the Points After Touchdown (PAT)- or conversion. Whoever had given the influential pre-match team-talk to the Birmingham players before kick-off certainly knew how to make them tick, as after the touchdown the defence went at Portsmouth all guns blazing, evidently trying to outdo the offense.
The next score was also Birmingham's when Louis Haines dashed over, the PAT was successful and inside the first quarter Birmingham found themselves 13-0 ahead.
The more time went on, the more the "Destroyers" were being destroyed by a blitz attack from UoB and a defence that was all over them like a rash. Elliot Walters was the next man to score a touchdown on the carousel of attacking players who were adding their names to the score-sheet. Rohan Sandhu was the provider, sending through an excellent pass for Walters to collect in the End Zone. Birmingham were 20-0 up inside the first. They were also in dreamland.
The men in red were streaks ahead, the crowd were in good spirits, and it was the perfect time for Birmingham University Dance Society, or BUDS to take to the pitch and put on a spectacular show for the crowd at the quarter break. An additional six points were added with another Elliot Walters touchdown in the second quarter to make the score an impressive 26-0 at half-time.
The second instalment of entertainment during the match came at half-time, this time the Birmingham Pussycats Cheerleading Team putting on quite a show on the pitch further to their efforts on the sidelines throughout the match.
“The more time went on, the more the 'Destroyers' were being destroyed.
Portsmouth needed a significant turnaround in the second half to have any hope of salvaging some pride from the match, and it looked, at the start of the second half, as if this may be on the cards. Ben Myers scored a touchdown for the visitors with their first effort of the half and put a good kick over the uprights to make it 26-7.
Elliot Walters was soon to redress the balance after this scare however, touching down for his hat-trick and boosting Birmingham's deficit.
This was further reinforced by another significant contribution by Quarter-Back Sandhu who made sure of the finish with some quick thinking and improvisation.
Portsmouth did manage to score again before the conclusion of the match, but it was little consolation with the final score coming to a handsome 38-14. A fantastic afternoon for Birmingham supporters and players alike, with many positives to take forward into the rest of the season.