Nottingham Outlaws are still searching for their first points in their 2019 Yorkshire Premier Division campaign after suffering a 19-0 reversal against current league leaders New Earswick All Blacks at Lenton Lane on Saturday. Once again they battled hard in an attempt to get something from the game, dominating for long periods, but their lack of cutting edge saw them fail to get over the whitewash as they slipped to another disappointing home reversal.
After a two week gap a refreshed Outlaws side took to the field with several changes to the team that were beaten by Bentley two weeks ago. There was a new look half back pairing as Clarke Squires and James Young partnered up in the key 6 and 7 shirts whilst Ollie Bos, Joe Goulty and Jack McLeish came into a new look threequarter line up.
There were changes in the pack too with Connor Foulkes and skipper Oliver Dale returning to the pack whilst there was plenty of firepower on the bench with Alex Wright and Sam Dennison coming into the squad for the first time this season whilst Ollie Turley and Jamie Muggleton came in on debut.
The Outlaws started the match with a strong breeze at their backs but straight from the get-go they found themselves on the defensive, pinned back in their own forty on the back of several All Black raids and forced to drop out from under the sticks on consecutive sets. Indeed it looked like they might concede when a chip over the top and a catch on the bounce threatened the Outlaws but a last ditch tackle from Adam Cunliffe saved a certain try for the visitors.
Having weathered the storm the Outlaws began to get back into the game and began to dominate proceedings, but not for the first time this season they failed to find a way through some good scrambling All Black defence and a good twenty minutes of dominance went unrewarded.
As so often happens in sport, a failure to take their chances was cruelly punished and in the last six minutes of the half New Earswick scores two tries from some lax Outlaws defending as Liam Gargan and Will Holmes went over for the All Blacks to put them in a commanding 10-0 lead as the first half came to a close.
The Outlaws coaching staff rang the changes at half time as Wright, and Dennison came on to beef up the forwards whilst Ollie Turley and Jamie Muggleton came on for their first run outs in an Outlaws shirt.
The Outlaws suffered the worst possible start to the second stanza when young Conor Foulkes went down in agony following an innocuous looking tackle, breaking his leg in the process. The young forward required extensive medical intervention leading to a fifteen minute hold up in the game.
Once the unfortunate second rower had left for hospital the sides re-emerged and with thirty five minutes to play the Outlaws were still very much in the game. Indeed the Outlaws set siege to the visitors try line with a series of back to back sets a score looked inevitable. However, as in the first half, they lacked the killer ball and a good fifteen minutes of Outlaws pressure went unrewarded.
As the clock began to tick down the Outlaws play became more and more frantic and when they tried an offload in heavy traffic Jack Stearman intercepted and raced clear to put the All Blacks three scores ahead at 16-0.
Stung by this reversal the Outlaws threw everything they had at the All Blacks line and several powerful runs by man of the match Joe Harrison-Brown saw the Outlaws winger come agonisingly close to getting the try that his play deserved.
There was still just enough time left for the visitors to add a penalty goal and a drop goal to extend their lead and the Outlaws threat eventually faded away as the All Blacks coasted home to a deserved 19-0 victory.
Next week the Outlaws travel to Lindley for their next Yorkshire League fixture. After three rounds neither side has a point to their credit so both sides will be looking to break their duck in what will no doubt be an absorbing fixture!