Dominant display. Disappointing draw
WURL's first home game of the season saw the arrival of Birmingham to Cryfield Pavilion. Yet more new faces were making debuts for the team as injuries and reading week took its toll on the player pool available to select from. Despite this, WURL were optimistic about their chances of getting their first win of the season.
Even during the warm-up it seemed clear that due to the weather conditions it would be an attritional game. The pitch was sodden. The ball was wet. The players were cold.
However, as the game kicked off in the bog, it looked as though Brad Sheridan had different ideas. A solid opening defensive set was followed by some strong ball carrying before Brad chipped in to the in goal area for Ben Dyson to collect and get the opening score. The second try was even better as a chip from inside Warwick's own half was caught by Ben again before he evaded the covering defence and ran in from 50 metres and it was 10-0 with just 5 minutes on the clock. It was beginning to look like a comfortable day for the home side but the wet conditions hampered any chance of clinical finishing despite lots of time spent in the Birmingham half. While at the other end of the pitch, Birmingham were able to squeeze in twice despite some very strong tackling from WURL and the teams went to half time level at 10-10.
The second half started just as strong for Warwick as another Brad cross field kick was collected in the in goal area by Tom Palmer and a spectacular conversion from the touchline made it 16-10. It wasn't long before Birmingham hit back and took advantage of good field position from a dropped ball to score out wide and move within 2 points. The pattern of the game continued as Warwick always looked more likely to score but couldn't quite finish with Joe Laverty held up as he almost forced his way over to score and kicks just about being cleared up by the Birmingham backs as they clung on. Eventually, Tom scored again in an exact repeat of his first try and the score was 20-14.
Heading in to the final minutes, Birmingham were pinned down in their own half before eventually escaping up the left touchline. An excellent cover tackle from Yousif Shehabi forced them in to touch and prevented a try at that time but Birmingham forced a turnover and scored a last minute try. The conversion was put over and the game was drawn.
It was a strong performance put in by a team who very clearly deserved to win but the smattering of dropped balls and mistakes let Birmingham back in to the game. The team will hope to be more clinical from now on and come out of close games like this with a win.
Man of the Match was given to Adam Cox but it was a very close call as lots of players carried and tackled relentlessly for a full 80 minutes due to the lack of subs.