By James O'Neill, Club Chairman
In November, the School of Engineering RFC travelled to the University of Granada, Spain for our first international fixuture. For some of the Engineers, tour started a lot earlier than others. A 7am meet saw most people turn up on time. Despite some latecomers, everyone made it to the airport and boarded the flight to Malaga. The second group met at 12 with everyone arriving on time. Picking up James Twist along the way, the journey to Malaga went smoothly. A quick stop at McDonalds for dinner gave the boys their first taste of Spanish culture.
The next morning, everyone was woken by Josh Knight and his incredibly annoying toy horn. There was a point to this, as the team were to get on a bus and head to the University of Granada for the club’s first ever international match. A few decided to catch up on their much needed ‘beauty’ sleep. However, those who decided to stay awake, were treated to the fantastic entertainment of ‘Story Time’ where any funny or embarrassing stories were revealed to the team providing a full 90 minutes of entertainment, conducted by Rhydian Lawrence and Ruairi Kester.
A high intensity pre-match warm up set us up nicely and the game got underway. The Engineers got off to a flying start with Alex Claxton crossing over the line with a gift of an offload from the breakaway of Will Johnson. However, Antonio Jardim missed the first conversion of the game from right in front of the posts. A charge down from James Twist and James O’Neill lead to Claxton scoring a simple, well-worked try. There were times of fantastic rugby from the Engineers with offloads going to hand but the Granada defence was immense. A highlight of the half was Tom Broadbridge, what can only be describe as ‘Steamrolling’ the Spanish winger to gain significant ground into the Spanish half and introduce the opposition to some ‘true’ English ball-carrying.
A few missed tackles from kick off caused the Engineers to be on the back foot leading to Granada scoring an unconverted try towards the end of the first half. The half time whistle went with the Engineers leading 12-5.
The second half began with 15 minutes of well fought possession from the Engineers causing the Spanish side to use their delightful footwork to escape danger leading to a well worked break away try. However the Engineer’s power and determination culminated in a try of their own from James O'Neill putting the Engineers back in the driving seat at 19-12 with the conversion from Jardim. Changes were made allowing the away team to get all players time on the pitch to make their international debuts.
Granada fought back hard with Carrick Waldron (the Engineers’ player in disguise on his year abroad) scoring under the posts. The Engineers lead was negated to 19-19. They converted a penalty for 3 points however, the Spanish squad quickly managed to squeeze a final try through the tiring defence due to an unfortunate missed tackle from a set piece to put the score at 26-22 to Granada. Towards the end of the game the Engineers’ ‘jet lag’ began to show holding them back from scoring the much-needed final try.
Final Score: University of Granada 26 – 22 University of Birmingham School of Engineering.