Nottingham Outlaws have an interesting looking Yorkshire Premier fixture on Saturday when they travel to Doncaster to face near-neighbours and last seasons runners up Toll Bar for what is in effect a local derby for both sides. The two teams have a win and a loss against their name after two rounds so both will be looking to boost their win ratio.
The Outlaws go into the game buoyed by their impressive victory over Bentley last time out. Indeed the win certainly improved the atmosphere in training this week and coach Strachan had something of a selection dilemma on his hands as the wily fox mulled over a number of permutations following the return of several recent absentees to the melting pot.
After careful thought the master tactician revealed his travelling seventeen after a full squad session on Wednesday evening. There were yet again a number of changes to the team that did well last time out, however this time not all of them are enforced by the mini injury crisis that disrupted the opening weeks of the campaign.
The halves see yet another change as regular number seven Alex whittle returns to the fray after missing the opening two matches with a hamstring injury. Whittle teams up with Strachan in the crucial play making roles, freeing up Cunliffe to return to the number one slot. However the hamstring curse immediately struck again when skipper Oliver Dale pulled up in training and Reece Needham was named in the second row as his replacement.
The rest of the pack also shows a number of changes as powerful army international Tom Howley plays his first game of the season and joins Ephraim and Prime in the front row that will need to be firing on all cylinders against a Toll Bar side renowned for its forward power. The appearance of Howley sees boom forward Alex Wright move from prop to loose forward.
On the bench Cieran Dean and Conor Foulkes both come in for their first hit outs of the new campaign where they join Elliot Whetham and war horse Stew Readhead to provide an eclectic mix of youth and experience in the replacements.
Asked about the sides preparations this week, coach Strachan was quick to show his satisfaction with how his team was shaping up, adding “we trained well this week and I know everyone is looking forward to playing after a week off. Some good players have missed out as selection has been tough but competition for places is what every team needs. Losing skipper Dale midweek is a shame as he has a big influence on the team but I know other senior players will fill the void”
1. Adam Cunliffe, 2. Chris Parr, 3. Jimmy Goodwin, 4. Nathan Hill, 5. Sam Campbell, 6. George Strachan, 7. Alex Whittle, 8. William Ephraim, 9. Chris Prime, 10. Thomas Howley, 11. Reece Needham, 12. Coryn Ward, 13. Alex Wright, 14. Stewart Readhead, 15. Elliot Wetham, 16. Conor Foulkes, 17. Ciaran Dean