We hope you all enjoyed BUCS Big Wednesday 2022, whether you supported in Nottingham, followed online, or of course played a match.
There was so much to celebrate yesterday, from our Squash club bringing three teams in total, to both the Men’s and Women’s Hockey first teams reaching the Championship Final, and our Rugby League 1s reaching the event for the very first time.
Our Netball 1s have been the ones to watch this season, going into their fixture against Hertfordshire with a real confidence and togetherness. From the first whistle our girls were completely in-sync with one another, and there were some fantastic partnerships on show from the likes of Harriet Sanderson (WD) and Ruth Hughes (C), just to name a few.
The whole team really stepped up for yesterday’s final, and proved exactly why they are EY Premiership Champions, but we must say a special well done to Lottie Robinson (GK) who was relentless in her defense, and Kat Short (GS) who held her nerve under immense pressure.
Another fixture which was incredibly tough to call was the Hockey Women’s 1s match against Nottingham. It looked like the game would end in penalties, until unfortunately Nottingham scored in the final quarter. Nevertheless our girls made it incredibly tough for the home side on the day, as did the Men’s 1s, giving many very proud Lions fans two fantastic games of Hockey despite the result.
Also taking to the pitch in extremely warm weather was our Rugby League 1s. Winning the National Trophy title may have been somewhat unimaginable for the team two years ago, but what they have achieved this season has been heroic and we are immensely proud of how far they’ve come in just one season. It’s also great to see a 42-24 loss to Hull didn’t dampen their spirits, and we can’t wait to get them in front of their home crowd again!
Another club to be receiving a very warm welcome back to UoB is of course our Squash Club, who took over the courts for near enough the full day. Our Men’s and Women’s 1s are now Championship Cup runners up, thanks to some fantastic performances from sport scholar Ali Khawas, player of the match Megan Van Drongelen, and many more.
Finally, huge congratulations to the new National Trophy Champions, our Squash Men’s 2s, who truly deserved the silverware yesterday. After five incredibly close matches against UWE, it was all down to Sam Sciver– who, after an extremely tense match, did not disappoint!
A fantastic weekend at the BUCS Karate Championships saw University of Birmingham place third overall among top competition.
There were strong performances all round for UoB with so many athletes pulling out their best performances across the competition last weekend. Taking place at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena, UoB’s Karate Club took twenty-two competitors to the championship, accompanied by seven coaches and team members to support them. The championship saw a range of disciplines being performed, showcasing karate at its best.
One competitor who really shined throughout the championship was UoB Sports Scholar Sukhjote Sohal who secured a gold medal in the -75kg Senior Kumite tournament (fighting). This victory set the tone for the rest of the team who went on to achieve another seven medals across the weekend.
In the female +68kg Senior Kumite, Mary Roper succeeded in her medal bid, winning a bronze medal in her event. Joseph Estruch, who is also the club’s President, also brought home a medal, securing a bronze in the -60kg Senior Kumite. Both deserve a huge congratulations after fighting off some tough competition.
Also performing well was Davide Dal Martello who won two medals across the weekend. His first came in the Novice Male Kata event where he and fellow teammate Tom Waltham secured silver and bronze respectively. Martello then went on to win another silver medal in the Male -80kg Novice Kumite, making it a very successful weekend for him.
In the Intermediate Male Kata, UoB won two medals again, with Theo Gannon and Joey Lim winning silver and bronze in the event to bring the medal count up to eight. There were many other impressive performance of UoB’s Karate members across the weekend, all contributing to UoB’s third place finish in the championship.
President Joseph Estruch was very pleased with his club’s performance. “Overall, a very strong set of results for UoB Karate,” he said, praising the team. “We have the potential to win many more next year.”
With so much talent in the team, next year’s championship may be even better for UoB’s Karate Club. A massive congratulations to Karate and everyone who competed. Next year’s competition is already shaping up to be a another success!
A crushing win by Birmingham’s Netball 1s yesterday at Intercept see the Lions straight through to the National Championship Final.
In front of a home crowd, Birmingham never looked like losing. Right from the first centre pass, the Lions kept Exeter out, piling on the defensive pressure and forcing Exeter to make riskier passes. Goal Defence Kate Henshall’s incredible interception early on in the first quarter set the tone as Birmingham looked to start strong. The defence continued to make Exeter’s life difficult, forcing many errors and allowing the Lions to start pulling away. By the end of the first quarter, Birmingham were leading the way 14-3.
Into the second quarter, Goal Shooter Kat Short was still going strong. Birmingham looked firmly in control and starting to settle into their rhythm. Some fantastic plays in centre court from Ruth Hughes (Centre) and Captain Jessie Ducker (Wing Attack) kept the Birmingham shooters well fed. Hughes and Ducker’s partnership was unmatched by the Exeter defence who couldn’t seem to keep up with the pair in mid-court. After Goal Attack Sophie Jackson’s interception stopped Exeter from gaining another goal, Birmingham finished the second quarter 26-7.
The half-time show once again saw an incredible performance from the Birmingham Pussycats cheer squad. The crowd in Munrow Arena was thoroughly entertained by the Pussycats who have really made their mark at the Super Series this year. Even Rory the Lion got involved!
The beginning of the third quarter after half time saw one change for Birmingham with Rosie Gray coming on at Wing Defence. She immediately made an impact by forcing a turnover just as Exeter were trying to make a strong start to the second half of the game. President Lottie Robinson continued to force the Exeter Goal Shooter out of the circle, keeping Exeter’s score down as the third quarter continued. Once again, Short stayed calm and collected, maintaining her shooting to the highest possible level. Even Exeter’s change in Goal Keeper couldn’t keep her out of the circle for long. The end of the third quarter ended 41-16 and a tired looking Exeter side trudged back to their dugout, seemingly demoralised.
Quarter four unfortunately started with an injury for Birmingham with Georgia Pexton taking a nasty fall. After a brief pause in proceedings to help Pexton off the court to assess her knee injury, the game resumed with Exeter coming out of the gates strong. It took a little while for Birmingham to find their stride again, no doubt shaken from Pexton’s injury, but the Lions soon settled back into their usual rhythm. Birmingham made several other changes throughout the last quarter, seeming to rotate their squad nicely to give everyone some court time. Exeter did manage to find some traction throughout this quarter, pulling their score up from their disappointing first three quarters. However, it wasn’t enough to stop Birmingham who finished the match 58-31.
Next up for the Lions, they face Hertfordshire 1s in the National Championship Final on Wednesday 23 March. Hertfordshire, who took everyone by surprise by beating Loughborough in their semi-final, were undefeated in their league and so will be tough competition for the Lions heading into the final. Make sure you catch it!
Next week, we have not one, not two, but eighteen University of Birmingham teams competing in semi-finals or finals for their respective championships and trophies.
This is an incredible achievement for the university sports community. With so much to look forward to, check out our preview below for the upcoming matches:
The Hockey Women’s 1s kick us off at home at the Bournbrook Pitches. This undefeated team will be playing Durham University 1s in the ICG Women’s National Championship for a place in the final.
Next up, the Hockey Men’s 1s and 2s are back in action at home. The Birmingham 1s will face off against Exeter’s 2s while the Birmingham 2s will play Edinburgh’s 1s. Both are playing in the Men’s National Vase and, if both win, we could be in for an all-Birmingham final!
For Squash, the Men’s and Women’s 1s will be facing off against Loughborough Men’s 1s and Edinburgh Women’s 1s. Both teams are in for tough games, with their opponents looking strong, but Birmingham’s huge success so far this year may just give them the upper hand.
Netball fans are definitely in for a treat on Wednesday with our BUCS Super Series event Intercept also coinciding with the semi-final of the EY Netball National Championship. The University of Exeter will be travelling up to Birmingham for this stellar of a match, so make sure you don’t miss it! Catch our full preview of the event here.
Finally, our American Football team will be playing the only away match of this group, battling the University of Nottingham on their home ground. This is sure to be a brutal game for the Lions with Nottingham having come out top of their league. But never say never as our Lions are sure to have some tricks up their sleeve.
Rugby League 1s are ready to storm through to the finals of the National Trophy, preparing to defeat the University of Cambridge for their Wednesday match. After winning their league by a country mile, the 1s will be hoping to use this momentum to win some silverware. Make sure to catch them on the Bournbrook Pitches at 16:30 to cheer them on.
Squash are also battling it out for a place in the National Trophy finals with the Men’s 2s playing Durham Men’s 1s on Wednesday. Once again, they will be in for a difficult match with Durham’s impressive track record. But with three teams into major semi-finals, Birmingham have already proven their capability and are certainly in with a chance.
Our final team in the National Trophy are the Lacrosse Women’s 2s. They will be travelling down to Exeter to face their Women’s 2s for a place in the final. Already through, Nottingham Trent’s Women’s 1s await the winner of this match. If Birmingham win, then we’ll have a Midlands derby on our hands for the trophy decider.
Conference Cup Finals
Birmingham’s Hockey Club are at it again with their Men’s 3s through to the final of the Men’s Midlands Conference Cup. Wednesday will see them face the University of Nottingham Men’s 5s in a derby clash. Birmingham Hockey already have four teams in major semi-finals or finals this Wednesday, and so a win for the 3s will definitely set a winning tone for the rest of the club to follow.
If three teams in semi-finals on Wednesday wasn’t enough squash for you, then you’re in luck as the Women’s 2s and the Men’s 3s are back in action in the Midlands Conference Cup. Both will be playing against Nottingham, the men facing Nottingham’s 4s while the women play the Women’s 3s. This is a huge opportunity to win some silverware for Birmingham’s Squash Club so let’s hope for wins all round.
Netball are also in with a chance of extra trophies with the 5s playing Loughborough’s 6s away from home. Having already gotten Birmingham 1s in the National Championship Semi-Finals, the 5s will be looking for their own victory with a Midlands Conference trophy to their name.
Playing further afield, Birmingham’s Golf Mixed 3s are preparing to meet Oxford Brookes Mixed 1s at Ruddington Grange Golf Club in Nottingham. Birmingham are currently top of their league with ten points and two matches in hand, so we can expect that they will put in an excellent performance in the Conference Cup. Oxford Brookes sit mid-table in their league and so Birmingham should hope for a comfortable win in this match up.
Badminton’s Women’s 3s are already looking in good shape having not lost a game this year. In their Midlands Conference final, they will play Nottingham Trent 1s for the trophy. After strong performance in their league, Badminton will surely hope for a win here.
For Water Polo, Birmingham’s Men’s 1s are undefeated in their league after some incredible games. Having already defeated Oxford Brookes Men’s 1s in their league, they will be feeling confident heading into their Conference Cup final match on Wednesday. We can definitely expect a good contest here to help contribute to Birmingham’s trophy count.
Finally, to finish off our cup run preview, our undefeated Tennis Women’s 1s head into their Conference Cup final against Loughborough Women’s 4s. Loughborough also remain unchallenged in their league and so we can expect a tight match for this one. The 1s will be looking to dominate early if they are to snatch a victory.
Next week is sure to be a thriller for Birmingham sport. With high stakes, action-packed sport right on our doorstep, make sure you head down to the Bournbrook Pitches or Sport and Fitness to support the Lions. Don’t miss it!
The fourth Super Series event of the year will see Birmingham 1s go head-to-head with University of Exeter 1s on Wednesday 9th March in the EY Netball National Championship semi-final. Exeter, who are currently second place in the Premier South Division, are sure to provide tough competition for the Lions. However, with Birmingham currently in top spot in the Premier North Division, the match will be a real showcase for all netball fans.
Ruth Hughes, Vice Captain of the Birmingham 1s, emphasised the excitement of the event. “It’s our big netball event where loads of fans can come and watch,” she told UBSport. “We’ll be on the show court and it’s just a great event for everyone to come to.”
Not only will there be fantastic netball to watch, but also a half time performance from the Birmingham Pussycats. So far this year, our cheerleaders have led the way for UoB support at XpLoSION, Engage, and Rebellion, and so their performance at Intercept is highly anticipated.
Birmingham have only lost one game this year from their league matches, already proving that they are the team to watch. However, Exeter will pose a new challenge to the squad who are hoping to make it ten wins from eleven on Wednesday. With a place in the National Championship finals on the line, both teams are sure to come out fighting.
Also excited about the match is UoB Netball’s President, Lottie Robinson, who told UBSport of the team’s intense preparation. “All the girls have been working really hard on and off the court,” she said. “We’re all really excited to be playing in front of fans so hopefully we’ll bring home a win.”
With Intercept being the last Super Series event of the year, this is UoB’s opportunity to end the series with a bang. After fantastic performances at XpLoSION, Engage, and Rebellion, it is time for Netball’s Intercept to shine.
To watch the Birmingham Netball 1s, get yourself down to the Munrow Arena in Sport and Fitness on Wednesday 9th Match at 6pm. Don’t miss out!
With Rebellion just days away, UBSport caught up with the Birmingham Lions Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams ahead of Saturday’s matches.
The event, which will take place on Saturday 26th February at the University of Birmingham Sports and Fitness, is set to be a real showcase of UoB’s basketball talent. Starting at 3pm, the women will be playing the University of Wolverhampton whilst the men will play Birmingham City University (BCU) at 5pm. Rebellion will be a key match for both teams as they battle for places in their respective leagues, making it a tense fixture for everyone involved.
Kate Biddulph, the Women’s 1s Captain, encourages everyone to come down and watch the matches. “Tickets are only £3 for a bleachers ticket and £5 for a courtside ticket,” she told UBSport. “So it’s cheap and cheerful. Bring all your friends, bring all your housemates, it’ll be a really good time.”
Taylor Bernard, the Captain of the Men’s 1, echoed Biddulph’s enthusiasm. “It’s our biggest basketball game of the year,” he said. “We have all our fans and supporters come out and watch us. It’ll be great fun.”
Saturday’s event will also include a half time performance by the Birmingham Pussycats who many will remember from XpLosION and Engage earlier this year. It goes to show that Rebellion is not just a basketball game, but an event that the whole university community can get behind.
As for the league, Rebellion is a good opportunity for both teams to climb up the table. For the women, Biddulph was keen to make an impact. “It’s a really important game,” she said. “It’s been really tough obviously without having competition last year for us to pick up some momentum and gel as a team. So I think we’re at a really important point where we could really make this a good win and potentially make second in the table.”
Bernard also stressed the high stakes of the match. “For our Rebellion fixture we will be playing BCU who are currently top of the table,” he told UBSport. “We are fighting to beat Worcester in mid-table so it’s important that we get this win.”
Despite the importance of the matches, both teams are excited to play basketball again in front of home crowds. Matt Dunn, who will be playing in his first Rebellion, had no doubt in what it meant to the players. “I’m personally very excited for it, so are the team,” he said. “We haven’t performed in front of a crowd in a long time so it’s going to be brilliant to have the atmosphere and the support.”
If you would like to watch Rebellion, there’s still time to buy tickets! Just follow the link below to purchase your tickets now! The even promises to be one to remember so don’t miss it!
The atmosphere in Sheffield was brilliant, and it was really encouraging to see the eye-catching red of the Lions all around both venues.
ATHLETICS & CROSS COUNTRY
Overall, it was the most successful BUCS indoors yet for our Athletics and Cross Country Club, with the most medals and most points accumulated in the club’s history, leaving them in second place in the overall championships.
During Friday’s qualification rounds, Diani Walker made her way to the final unscathed before picking up BUAC’s first medal of the weekend with a silver, the first of many medals to come. Other highlights from Friday’s qualifiers included all four of Birmingham’s 800m runners making it through the heats.
On Saturday every event had an athlete make it through their respective heat/semi-final. Individual highlights included Saskia Millard qualifying fastest across the women’s 3,000m heats, then going on to get BUAC’s first gold medal of the championships. Maisie Grice finished not far behind with a personal best of 9:29.86, earning her a bronze medal in her first 3,000m indoor final.
In the Men’s race Mike Ward stayed at the front pack throughout taking BUAC’s second gold medal, and then the Women’s 800m final saw both Tilly Simpson and Cesca Brint racing together, with Cesca achieving an indoor personal best of 2:07.53, earning her a silver medal in the process.
The 1500m final was yet another that featured two BUAC athletes, with Sabrina Sinha gaining a gold medal and Emily Thompson winning a well-earned bronze. In the men’s triple jump Josh Woods opened up with a 14.95m effort, which would prove enough to take home the gold medal in this event – the first medal of the field athletes.
It was however the Men’s long jump that was one of the most anticipated events for BUAC, with the duo of Sam Khogali and Jake Burkey forming of the strongest pairings the club has had for a very long time. BUAC president Jake took home a huge gold medal with a leap of 7.50m, and Sam finished with a bronze.
Finally, the two relay teams stepped out to finish the championships. The girls were up first and Olivia Kimbowa ran a storming first leg before handing the baton over to Hannah Jones, with Jasmine Clark taking the third leg. Following her victory in the 1,000m at the Grand Prix on Saturday, Izzy Boffey ran a hugely important anchoring leg, consolidating the silver medal for the Women’s squad.
For the boys, all eyes were then on Harry Fisher to anchor the men home after some great runs from his team mates, and he brought the baton home in third place – another UoB medal!
Congratulations to our swimming club who performed excellently Ponds Forge Sports Centre over the weekend. Both the Women’s and Men’s representatives all qualified for the 100m and 1500m heats, and the mixed 4x100m medley relay saw Ollie Morgan, Tom Hamilton, Abi Lacey and Laura McNab finish in 4:05.18 for a new club record.
In Sunday’s final session the club won a brilliant three medals for UoB, with Frances Newe becoming BUCS Nationals champion with a gold medal in the 400IM in a 6-second PB. Both Ollie Morgan and Laura McNab returned home with bronze medals.
BUCS Nationals was a great first competition of the year for UoB’s climbing club. Congratulations to Sammy Oakes for winning the men’s category and Kylar Giorgi for placing 2nd.
Well done to both the Men’s Sabre fencers who made it through to T64, and the Women’s Foil athletes, who performed exceedingly well and made it to the final 32 at nationals.
The way our Badminton Club worked together during Nationals was outstanding. A special shoutout goes to the Women’s Doubles team who sailed through the qualifying rounds, as well as to our Mixed Doubles who made it through to the quarter finals!
It was medals-galore for the University of Birmingham this weekend, with many of our clubs competing across the country at the highest level.
University of Birmingham Athletics and Cross Country Club were simply outstanding at the BUCS Cross Country Championships in Horsenden Hill, London. After fighting off tough competition from the likes of Loughborough and St Mary’s Universities, our club won more medals than any other institution in the event’s history!
The pressure was on for our athletes, with the added incentive of World University Cross Country selection up for grabs too, but our club did not disappoint. The display of depth in the Men’s and Women’s shorter races not only made for an incredibly special day for the team, but also shows the potential for this team to grow its influence in the coming years.
In the men’s long race, Sports Scholar Will Battershill won the individual gold medal in epic style, whilst also securing the overall team win alongside club mates Will Barnicoat, Mike Ward and Joe Hudson. UoB claimed the top 4 spots in the men’s short race, with scintillating runs from Ethan O’shea, Tom Keen, Ollie Smart and Kristian Imroth, earning a team gold and team silver in the process, with another 4 Birmingham students finishing in the top 15.
In the Women’s races our cross-country stars really excelled as part of a team, with a special mention to long course team silver medallists Saskia Millard, Charlotte Alexander and Maisie Grice. The women’s team also won the gold medal in the short race. UoB is currently awaiting the selection for the GB World University Cross Country team later this week, but with teams of 6 male and females looking to be selected, we could well have 4-5 athletes earning GB call-ups.
A huge amount of credit to the students but also to our Athletics coaches who work extremely hard to produce these top quality athletes, including our coaches featured in our Game Changer campaign, Bud Baldaro.
Closer to home, our Sport & Fitness Club hosted BUCS Squash Premier League Stage 2, another exciting BUCS competition this weekend, with other Universities from around the UK arriving to compete.
There were some fantastic results across the board, with the Men’s 1s winning the competition undefeated and topping the table. Women’s 1s placing second, after narrowly missing out to the University of Nottingham in a close game. This gives us a strong advantage going into the cup with our teams being higher seeded.
Also this weekend, our Gymnastics Club travelled to Leicester for BUCS Gymnastics competition. Well done to Hannah Wedgewood, Holly Clark, Chandra Bhamidimarri, and Olivia Rabaiotti for their brilliant silver medal win in the Women’s All Round final, contributing to our BUCS points tally. Our club returned home with an incredible nine medals overall across the participatory levels.
On Saturday 6th February, three of our korfball teams set of for Cardiff to compete in a BUCS Regionals Tournament. Each team finished second in their group leading to a battle of the UoB teams, with the 1s coming out on top. They have now qualified for the BUCS National Championships.
OUR WINNING WEEKLY LEAGUE CLUBS
Finally, we’d like to say a huge congratulations to our Netball Women’s 1s, who have won the EY Premiership North BUCS Division and now progress onto the quarter-finals. Also on a winning streak this year are our Hockey Women’s 1s who have remained unbeaten all season and if they secure a win or draw on 9th Feb (2:30pm at home) they will have finished at the top of the ICG Women’s Premier National League – a title we have not won to date!
Term 2 is off to a flying start for lots of our clubs, and with many BUCS medals still up for grabs and the closing of leagues over the upcoming weeks. Turning an eye to BUCS Nationals on the weekend of the 18th – 20th February with over 100 athletes competing across 5 sports.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing what’s to come for our Lions.
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.
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!