On Saturday I attended my very first xpLosION in Birmingham and it didn’t disappoint.
A crowd estimated at about three thousand gathered to watch Birmingham Lions take on Nottingham Trent Renegades, in a hotly anticipated clash of two top programmes in the BUAFL MAC Conference.
The game got off to a storming start with Birmingham starting from their own ten yard line and driving ninety yards for a touchdown and to open the scoring. The point after was good and they led 7-0.
The score would stay the same after Nottingham could not make any serious yards when in possession in the first quarter.
The second quarter began with a promising Renegades drive which took them all the way to the Lions twenty yard line. Once there though things went horribly wrong. The quarterback took the ball and threw an interception to his left. With a near clear pathway to the end zone Birmingham took a commanding 14-0 lead.
Another successful drive brought the score to 17-0 after a Lion’s field goal.
After a subdued second quarter, the game sprung into chaos in the final minute of play. The Birmingham quarterback threw an interception with just forty seconds remaining on the clock. This would have given Nottingham a great chance to throw some long balls and try to score before the end of the half but amazingly they fumbled the ball and Birmingham recovered it with only fifteen seconds of play available.
Going for glory, the Lion’s threw yet another interception that was halted at the Nottingham two yard line.
With only a mere seven seconds of time left and no timeouts, many of the crowd’s attentions were switching to the half time fireworks and cheerleading displays. All Nottingham had to do was take a knee, get to halftime and regroup but for some unknown reason they tried to play their way out and ended up giving away a safety to make the score at halftime 19-0 to the Birmingham Lions.
The third quarter followed the same pattern as the second with little action but plenty of penalties and flags.
The first bit of interest came when the Birmingham quarterback was sacked by the Renegades defence on his own thirty yard line. A blocked Lions punt was also of notice but nothing came of it. Unfortunately that was it for the third quarter.
The final quarter of play as it nearly always does in American football, was a bit livelier. Firstly Nottingham couldn’t capitalise on a strong drive up the field as they missed a chance to get on the scoreboard with a failed kick.
Birmingham made them pay for their miss when they ran over for a ten yard touchdown to all but seal a comprehensive victory for the 2010 losing finalists.
Nottingham did however manage to cross into the end zone with less than two minutes remaining which they just about deserved for a brave defensive effort.
That score made it a comfortable, yet not extravagant victory over the Nottingham Trent Renegades as many were predicting for the Birmingham Lions. It finished 25-6. Good effort from both teams.