The women's rugby team pose for a celebratory team photo between the rugby posts at University of BirminghamCategoriesStudent News

Double Victory for Birmingham Lions at Engage

After dominating performances, UoB’s men’s and women’s rugby clubs triumphed over Nottingham Trent and Loughborough at Engage.

Opening the second Super Series event of the year with the women’s match, the event looked fated to be a spectacular one. The pre-match build-up heard a lot of talk about the talent in Loughborough’s squad, especially with their impressive undefeated league record heading into the game. For other teams, they may have felt defeated before the match had even begun. But for Birmingham, they seemed to thrive under the pressure. Within the first six minutes, Amber Swinglehurst had broken through the Loughborough defensive line and scored the first try of the match, which was swiftly converted by Sophie Jones to make the score 7-0 Birmingham.

A stunned Loughborough team then made several mistakes in quick succession, allowing for Charlotte Daley to make a fantastic run down the left wing to score the second try of the match. Once again, Sophie Jones was cool under pressure and made a difficult conversion with ease. Loughborough managed to sneak in a lucky try off a loose ball but, heading into half time, Birmingham looked to be in control.

The second half was where the real fireworks began. Charlotte Daley once again stormed down the left wing, dodging three opposing players before she dove over the try line. Another collected conversion by Sophie Jones, followed by tries for Vice Captain Sophie Jarett and Molly Chidzey, brought the score up to 31-12. With the end of the match in sight, Charlotte Daley made an incredible interception to score her hat-trick in the 81st minute of the game.

The final score: 36-12, with Charlotte Daley winning a well-deserved Player of the Match.

It was a tough act to follow, but the men certainly lived up to expectations. Like the women, they made their mark quickly, with Matt Harrison scoring within the first five minutes and leaving Nottingham Trent scrambling to keep up. Despite an equaliser soon after, the Lions took this in their stride with Harrison scoring his second of the night which was coolly converted by Nick Blain. Birmingham barely played a minute in their own half, scoring two more tries in quick succession before Trent finally managed to score again, making it 24-14.

With half time looming, Will Pearce made an excellent run through the Trent defence, diving over the try line much to the crowd’s excitement. A successful conversion by Blain saw Birmingham heading back to their dugout firmly in control with the score at 31-14.

After half time, the tries just kept coming. Some fantastic play from Traynor and Bugg ended with tries for each of them, the Lion’s score creeping higher as the minutes went on. As players began to tire, Nottingham Trent started to make a small comeback, scoring two tries quickly to bring the score up to 50-37. But the Lions had the last say, finishing the game with a bang by scoring and converting their last try in the dying seconds of the match.

Final score: 57-42, with Will Pearce winning Player of the Match for his excellent contribution.

With Engage over for another year, both teams can reflect on their success as they start to think about recruitment once again for next season. There’s never been a more exciting time to play rugby and it’s safe to say that this year’s event will go down as one of the most successful Super Series events ever. It was certainly a night to remember.

Seven of the women's cricket team stoof with their bronze medals at the National Indoor FinalsCategoriesStudent News

UoB Women’s Cricket Third in Country at National Indoor Finals Day

In front of a home crowd at Edgbaston Stadium, UoB’s Women’s Cricket secured a thrilling third-place finish at the National Indoor Finals Day on Saturday.

The day was already set to be a spectacle with eight university teams from across the country heading to Birmingham in the hopes of securing the title. Competing in Group 2, Birmingham faced off against Kent, Edinburgh, and Cardiff Met in three matches to make it through to the semi-finals.

Match 1 against Kent got Birmingham off to a good start with Kent batting first and making 85-5. Tilly Mason bowled incredibly well, finishing with figures of 3-12 off her two overs. When Birmingham came to bat, they cruised along, knocking off the runs required with no wickets lost. Batting highlights included Gemma Porter’s 27* and Tilly Mason’s 24*.

Birmingham’s second match against Edinburgh was more of a challenge. After batting first, Birmingham put on an impressive 82-4 with Mason again scoring freely, making 28*. She was well supported by Ellie Harris who defied Edinburgh’s bowlers and scored an extra 11* runs to Birmingham’s total. Once again, Birmingham bowled well with Mason taking 2 wickets and Captain Sophie Hoyes also taking 2-22. But Edinburgh just managed to chase down the runs with only five balls to spare.

Match 3 saw Cardiff Met bat first and scoring an incredible 121-1. It was always going to be a tough ask to chase such a huge total and, unfortunately, Birmingham were unable to catch up. However, Holly Reeder’s 21 and Becca Woodnorth’s 12 would prove useful and gave all the Birmingham fans something to cheer for.

After suffering two losses and drawing on points with Edinburgh, a tense waiting game ensued as the match umpires discussed and calculated the run rates to decide who went through to the semi-finals. Eventually, after what was described as “the closest tie they’d seen”, the umpires declared Birmingham through to the semi-final.

Birmingham batted first, making 63-6 with Porter once again showcasing some incredible and scoring 35 runs. Loughborough’s bowlers performed well and restricted Birmingham’s total. It was a difficult innings in which to score however the end total was very defendable.

When Birmingham came to bowl, they started off strongly and managed to contain Loughborough’s famously destructive batters. Hoyes and Porter both took wickets, making Loughborough work hard to chase the runs down. Sadly, Birmingham’s final dreams were not to be as Loughborough managed to win the match with an over to spare – a close game worthy of a semi-final.

Loughborough would go on to win championship, however Birmingham’s performance meant they achieved third in the table. Sophie Hoyes, Birmingham’s Captain, expressed how proud she was of the team.

“We went into the finals with zero expectations,” she said. “But I was massively proud of how everyone performed individually and as a team.” Hoyes went onto say how grateful the squad was for the crowd’s support at Edgbaston. “It really boosted everyone,” she added. “We’re now looking forward to taking our success into the outdoor season!”

The performance in the indoor competition certainly bodes well for the summer’s outdoor championship. With Birmingham already preparing for their next matches, it is safe to say we can expect a lot more excitement from this squad in the months to come!