Nottingham Outlaws Mens First Team drew the curtains down on a tough 2022 Yorkshire Premier League campaign with a 44-14 defeat against top two outfit Toll Bar at Lenton Lane on Saturday.
The Outlaws hadn’t played for three weeks and it showed in the build up to the kick off with a string of unavailabilities leading to the Outlaws fielding a number of positional changes as Ben Littlewood and Clark Squires teamed up for yet another new halfback pairing, with Albert Paskevic playing fullback for the first time and Tyler Beardsley coming into the front row after an extended absence from the team. There were changes ion the bench too as Oscar Wells and Jake Hall made their first bows of the season.
The match started badly for the Outlaws when they failed to field the kick off and within two minutes they were 6-0 down as they were quickly punished for some slack play.
To their credit the Outlaws soon picked up their game and on the back of some excellent defensive work by Strachan and Beardsley they forced the visiting Toll Bar team into a series of errors and on the back of it they began to take control of the game.
With a stranglehold on field position and possession the Outlaws soon made their presence pay as Strachan spun out a long pass to Burgin on the wing who went over unopposed and on the twenty minute mark Strachan went from try maker to try scorer as he powered over from short range as the Outlaws went into a deserved 8-6 lead on the twenty minute mark.
With the Outlaws continuing to press they should have extended their lead but their attack never really clicked and their field position and sustained pressure came to nothing.
As so often happens in sport, the Outlaws inability to make the most of their chances was eventually punished as the visitors made a rare foray into the Outlaws half and immediately came up with a six pointer in a harsh lesson on the need to take one’s chances when they appear!
When the half time whistle sounded the scoreline read 12-8 in Toll Bars favour but in reality it was the Outlaws that had the better of the half and should have been in front based on the balance of play.
Unfortunately for the Outlaws faithful the second half started in much the same way as the previous home game against Siddal as once again some good first half work came to nothing on the back of some awful defending.
Indeed in the opening fifteen minutes of the second stanza the visitors exploited significant weaknesses in the Outlaws defence to swoop in for four unanswered trys as the game was put to bed with Toll Bar taking an unassailable 34-8 lead with twenty five minutes still to play.
To their credit the Outlaws did manage to stem the tide thanks to some good defensive work with Beardsley, Strachan and Wells leading the way limiting the visitors to two more trys and they did manage to notch the final score as Mark Stockman marked his first game of the season with a well taken effort after some fine Outlaws handling across the pitch. Ben Littlewood added the extras to close out the game with the Outlaws registering a 14-44 defeat.
In the final man of the match award of the season there were a number of players in with a shout. Tyler Beadsley came close with his best display of the season so far but it was Clark Squires who took home the bubbly with a tireless display on attack and defence.