UNRL went top of the Premier Midlands Division on Wednesday with an 18-16 win over fellow title contenders Birmingham in what was a pulsating contest.
Yet again Nottingham started poorly and found themselves 10-0 down after twenty minutes as Birmingham’s ability to spin the ball wide exceeded the home side’s ability to run their drift defence. At 10-0 things looked bleak and real test of character had been again forced upon the side by a terrible start. Only once this season have Nottingham gone ahead first-up and ironically it was the only match this season they have lost – at home to Trent 26-12.
As Mike Butcher did against Loughborough and as Bob Cannon did against Northampton, Sam Dillamore – the man with most impressive limbs in rugby league – cut through the Brummy line from close range to score just before the half-time hooter to keep the green and whites in the game. With score at 10-6 at the break, UNRL still faced an uphill struggle- four points down facing forty minutes playing into a strong and gusty wind.
However, this did not seem to bother Nottingham as the third quarter of the match was dominated by the green and whites with club president Jimmy Goodwin bulldozing two different wingers on two separate occasions to go over in the corner to give the home side a 14-10 lead with twenty minute to play (it is worth noting here that Jimmy Goodwin is the fattest winger in the league – scientific fact).
With Nottingham agonisingly close to a crucial victory, Birmingham regained the lead as the home side came under intense pressure from an expansive Birmingham attack. Nonetheless, Nottingham recovered and a colossal tackle from Goodwin, second row Pat Crummay and two others whose names escape me, a knock on in the in-goal area was flopped on by Goodwin who completed his hat-trick and the 18-16 win for UNRL who must now look to push on and win the league.
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Nottingham 1sts: Cunliffe, McGuinn, Baker, Madden, Goodwin; Butcher (c), Cook; Lozowski, Foulkes, Dillamore; Skeens, Andrews, Gainsfoed (c); Crummay, Mousley, Swann, Buckley.
Tries: Dillamore, Goodwin (3).