Manchester secure Tetley's quarter final place
January 29, 2000
Manchester secured their place in the Tetley's Bitter Cup quarter-finals but had to defend well in the second half as the midlanders produced a powerful display.
Manchester's big day got off to a disastrous start with prop Mark Beckett and second row Karl Temmen stuck in traffic after an accident on the M6.
Worse was to follow when flanker Tim Burgon pulled a muscle during the pre-match warm-up and he was replaced by England Under-21 A call-up Danny Collins.
The home side elected to play with the wind behind them and skipper Steve Swindells gained good ground with the boot.
The Birmingham pack were driving well but the weakened home forwards held up well against the onslaught until they gave away a penalty which John Smart converted.
Manchester fought back and after Swindells had levelled the scores with a penalty the home side ran the length of the field with Jason Critchley touching down for Swindells to convert.
Temmen and Beckett came on after half time and had an immediate effect playing a major role in the forward move which resulted in a try for James Batt.
Manchester edged further ahead when Phil Gee chipped ahead and retrieved the ball before sending Lewis Gross clear under the posts and again Swindells was on target.
A five-minute period of forward pressure for Birmingham was rewarded with a penalty for Smart and the home side found themselves struggling against the visiting pack. Rob Salisbury touched down for Birmingham after more forward pressure but further attempts were stopped by some strong Manchester defence.