Nottingham Outlaws kicked off their 2023 Yorkshire League 1 campaign against Hull Wyke at Lenton Lane on Saturday with a new look squad containing five players on debut. However, despite performing well in patches, they couldn’t keep up with a well drilled Wyke team and eventually succumbed to a 46-10 defeat.
A combination of poor weather and last minute league restructuring meant that the Outlaws went into the game without having had a warm up fixture and they certainly looked well off the pace at the start against a Wyke team that was playing its third match of the season.
Indeed a lacklustre start was compounded by soft penalties and mistakes on the last play resulting in them defending three repeat sets in their own twenty and on the back of it they soon found themselves 10-0 in arrears with as many minutes played.
After an error strewn opening the Outlaws managed to find their feet and began to pressure the visitors on the back of some good probing play orchestrated by Whittle and Wigglesworth. With good field position and plenty of ball they finally opened their scoring account when Harry Walton barged over for a try from short range with Tom Wigglesworth adding the extras to reduce the deficit at 10-6 to the visitors.
Buoyed by their efforts the Outlaws began to make inroads into the Wyke defence with some strong runs by Luke Wadding and Coryn Ward and on the back of this Wigglesworth put in an excellent crossfield kick that was superbly caught by Aiden Butler who touched down in the corner to level the scores at 10-10 with thirty minutes played.
Unfortunately, from an Outlaws perspective, this was to prove their last score of the game.
Having done well to get back on level terms the Outlaws made a hash of the kick off letting the ball bounce into touch and from the resultant scrum they leaked a try under the posts with some weak tackling in the middle of the pitch. Things then went from bad to worse with another error on the last tackle gifting a repeat set to the visitors and the Hull side gratefully accepted the offer and ran in for another try to see the Outlaws looking down the barrel at 22-10 in arrears at the break.
If the Outlaws were to get back into the game it was important that they had the next score but any hopes of a revival were soon dashed as Wyke swept in at the corner to extend their lead and two minutes later a sin-binning saw the Outlaws down to twelve men.
With the visitors in the ascendancy, they soon made their numerical advantage pay with two quick fire trys to extend their lead to an unassailable 36-10 score with twenty minutes to play.
To their credit the Outlaws did their best to get back into the game with some good carries by Sam Andrews and Louis O’Connor but their attacks didn’t yield any further scores and two further trys in the closing minutes saw the deficit stretch to 46-10, a heavy defeat but a scoreline that didn’t really reflect the difference between the two sides.
After the game, the players and coaching staff reflected on several positives that came out of the match for this new look side, with five on debut and no fewer than six former juniors pulling on the shirt including Tom Wigglesworth who deservedly took the man of the match award for a fine display on attack and defence.