Outlaws Picking Up Firsts

Yorkshire League Division One, four games in for a couple of clubs, and it’s already becoming a season of first for the Nottingham Outlaws Rugby League outfit, despite having lost their opening two matches.

An opening day, 46-10 humping at home to Hull Wyke, was sharp followed by a narrow, 28-24 loss against hosts, Cutsyke Raiders, the season having had a delayed start to it; Coach Joe Shepherd’s side however, they look like they might break some records this time around.

In the season opener, no fewer than six, Outlaws Juniors, were involved in the game, firsts captain Coryn Ward being joined by his brother, Adam, debuts afforded to Louis O’Connor and Tom Wigglesworth, as well as that of Ali Waring, and Harry Walton.

Falling away after the interval in the first game, Walton and Butler crossing for tries, and a Wigglesworth conversion saw the Outlaws tied at 10-10 at one point before going in 22-10 down.

The same can be attributed to the road to Cutsyke, the Outlaws twice leading, but went in 12-12, before putting up a late fight and falling short, there was even a disallowed try due to a forward pass which would have taken their total to five.

Sam Andrews got the ball rolling against Cutsyke, Wigglesworth also crossing in the first, Gaz Whitfield converting both; the hosts however, raced ahead in the second period before club captain, Alex Whittle pulled back a try (22-18) and Haz Ashby added a brilliant, late score (28-24), Whitfield again slotting through both conversions.

Ashby’s try would see him break through on the halfway line prior to embarking on a fifty metre, mazy dash for the try-line, turning the home fullback inside-out, before crossing in the corner; meanwhile, Chairman Richard Johnson said after the Outlaws six in the opener; “It’s always nice to see one or two former juniors pulling on the shirt.

“However, to have six in the squad is especially pleasing and testament to the hard work that our junior coaches have put in over recent years.”

Wigglesworth and Walton meanwhile, they’ve impressed the Outlaws coach from their pre-season activities, both featuring heavily in the opening games.

A stunning turn-around from the Outlaws would see consecutive losses followed by back-to-back wins, for the first time in the Yorkshire League, both Hull, and a first meeting with Ossett Trinity Tigers, finished with the boot of Whitfield.

“Tom Wigglesworth has certainly caught my eye in his first ever sessions at the club,” stated Coach Shepherd, when asked of who stands out, are the ones to watch, in this, new-look, Outlaws side.

“He looks very sharp, as does Harry Walton, who has hit the ground running since coming back into the fold a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m expecting a big season from Joe Raine who continues to improve and Jack Cator and Adam Ward, two rookies who will be playing their first games for the club this season.

“From the old guard I’m looking forward to seeing Coryn carry on with the captain’s role and Gaz Whitfield will be filling the hole that Adam Cunliffe vacated at full back, I am sure Gaz is going to have a great season in that role.”

Nine changes were made in the return match with Hull, Shepherd ringing the changes from the loss to Cutsyke, bringing in that of Oli Hopkins (debut), O’Connor, Wigglesworth, Walton, and Whittle, with Raine, Tyler Beardsley, Liam Heaney, and Steve Redhead, on the bench.

Whittle would feed captain, and stalwart, Coryn Ward, for the opening score, after just six minutes, the lead being extended on 25 minutes after a huge kick from Clark Squires bounced awkward, and was plucked by O’Connor, he shooting through for his first, Outlaws try, Hull pulling back for an Outlaws, 10-6 interval lead.

Hull would tie the contest following some weak defending from the Outlaws with five remaining, however, a missed kick proved costly for them when Whitfield slotted home from thirty yards out to steal the win.

Last time out (20 May), the Outlaws faced Ossett Trinity for the first time with Squires stretching over the line following a fine, solo effort, a dummy pass, and score, to tie the game at sixes (Whitfield on the conversion), Ossett leading 10-6 at the interval.

A break from George Strachan, on the Outlaws twenty metre line, soon found itself at the same marker on the opposite side of the field, the play continuing through numerous hands to reach Aidan Butler to cross in the corner and tie the game at tens.

Now, with a draw looking likely for the second successive game, up-stepped Whitfield, again, to slot home and, withstanding late pressure, it was to be the game-winning score for a delighted, Outlaws side.

It was a win that sees them now sitting in fourth place (a play-off spot) in the table, collecting four points from games; above them, Stanley Rangers lead the way with nine, Sharlston Rovers second on eight, and Keighley Albion third on six.

This past weekend, the Nottingham Outlaws Academy side picked up a big win as well, romping to a 62-18 road win at Birmingham NEW Ravens; following an evenly matched opening half, it was the Outlaws who stepped up the tempo on the restart to romp to victory.

Haz Ashby and Adam Riley both registered a hat-trick of tries, Harry Hemingway crossed twice, whilst there was also to be one apiece from that of Aidan Butler, Adam Ward, and Jake Hall, Butler also registering nine conversions as experience most certainly told.

The Nottingham Outlaws now have to wait until 10 June for their next outing, hosting leaders Stanley Rangers, at Lenton Lane, the first of some SIX home game, in succession, the club will play over the next two months.

Keep up-to-date with all things Nottingham Outlaws via their socials on Facebook here and Twitter here and their website here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @outlawsRL the team after their 62-18 win against New Ravens.

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