Nottingham Outlaws posted back-to-back away victories for the first time since joining the Yorkshire League when they secured another nail-biting 12-10 victory over top four rivals Ossett Trinity.
The Outlaws travelled up the M1 in confident mood on the back of their recent 12-10 victory over Hull Wyke and with something of a settled team by recent standards with Aiden Butler coming back into the side on the wing and Sam Andrews, James Hood and George Strachan coming back into the pack.
Despite the early confidence, things started badly for the Outlaws when back-to-back sets in the opening minute of the game resulted in the home team moving the ball out wide to secure a converted try and an early 6-0 lead to Ossett with less than two minutes on the clock.
Stunned by this reversal, the Outlaws needed to get back into the game and they did so on the back of some excellent tackling particularly in the forwards with Strachan, Hood and Waring leading the way in the middle of the pitch.
Having settled their early nerves the Outlaws began to test the home defence, with Squires making a break that almost led to an Outlaws try and O’Connor coming close but it took until the 25th minute before the Outlaws managed to open their account when Clark Squires scored a great solo effort dummying to pass either side before stretching over to plant the ball on the line as the home defence hesitated.
Gaz Whitfield added the extras to level the scores at 6-6.
Defences remained on top, and it looked like the teams might head back into the sheds on level terms but a sin-binning saw the Outlaws reduced to 12 men and with the numerical advantage Ossett took the lead with a try before the hooter that saw the Outlaws trail 10-6 at the interval.
Coach Shepherd used the halftime break to refresh the forwards with Bennett, Beardsley, Heaney and Raine all coming on in an attempt to breathe new life into the Outlaws defence.
The changes seemed to work as the opening fifteen minutes of the second stanza were played almost exclusively in and around the Ossett red zone but despite their dominance the Outlaws couldn’t get over the whitewash and it looked like their dominance might go unrewarded but they finally managed to get the score they deserved with a try out of nothing!
There seemed little danger when Strachan broke the line on the Outlaws twenty metre zone but continuing to pass out of the tackle saw the Outlaws advance the football into the Ossett twenty and on the very next play the ball went through four pairs of hands and finished up with Aiden Butler diving over in the corner for the try of the game that levelled the scores at 10-10.
With five minutes on the clock both sides had tackled each other to a standstill, and it seemed like a draw might be on the cards but some unnecessary backchat to the referee at a home scrum saw the referee award a penalty to the Outlaws.
The Outlaws fans were sensing deja vu all over again as Gaz Whifield calmly slotted the ball over for a 12-10 lead and despite some enormous home pressure from the restart, they held on with some great scrambling defence that saw them hang on to secure the two points.
After the game the players celebrated another fine victory whilst awaiting the outcome from the man of the match award panel. Captain Coryn Ward and prop Sam Andrews both came close with some excellent defending but it was Louis O’Conner that took the bubbly with some great carries and some hard yards down the middle.
After a fine victory that saw the Outlaws move into a top four play-off position they now have a two week break before resuming league duties on the 10th June with a home game against Stanley Rangers