Keighley 44: Outlaws 12

Nottingham Outlaws travelled up to Keighley Albion on Saturday looking to avenge a home defeat against the same team only a week ago. However, despite battling bravely they were always second best against the high-flying home team before eventually ending up on the wrong end of a 42-12 scoreline.

The coaching staff made five changes to the team that lost out seven days ago with Haz Ashby pulling on the captain’s armband to partner George Waghorn in the half backs, Luke Wadding came in on the wing. There were changes in the pack as Alex Melton came back into the second row with Joe Raine completing the front six at loose forward. There was a new look bench too with Jake Hall making his first team debut and Tom Evans pulling on the jersey for only  the second time this season.

The Outlaws kicked of the game having opted to play down the pronounced slope but they couldn’t make much of the advantage and soon found themselves 12-0 in arrears as the home side made a whirlwind start to the game.

Having weathered the early setback the Outlaws forced themselves back into the match and Abe Sua reduced the deficit when he latched onto a reverse pass from George Waghorn close to the line and crashed over. Waghorn added the extras to reduce the deficit to 12-6.

Despite the riposte the Outlaws soon succumbed to further scores as a series of missed tackles kept them on the back foot for most of the remainder of the half. Indeed most of the play was now occurring in and around the Outlaws red zone before the halftime whistle brought some respite with the home side well in control at 16-6.

The impact of the slope son became apparent at the start of the second half with the home side piling on the pressure as their big forwards began to get the upper hand. The Outlaws frailties were soon evident, falling off the tackle with alarming regularity as the home side hit them with a series of long range efforts and the deficit stretched out to 34-6 with thirty minutes to play.

The travelling faithful prepared themselves for the worst but to their credit the Outlaws rallied and went toe-to-toe with the home side for a good twenty minute spell. Indeed they pulled a superb try back in the process. The move started when second rower James Hood found a gap in the home line and made an excellent break before releasing the ball to George Waghorn in support. The young halfback was eventually hauled down just short but on the next play stand-in captain Haz Ashby swept over the line to touch down under the sticks leaving Waghorn with the simplest of conversions to reduce the deficit to 34-12.

The Ashby try was to prove the last shot for the Outlaws who then succumbed to two further try’s before the referee brought proceedings to a close with the final score standing at 42-12 in the home sides favour.

As the troops left the pitch they paused to hear the man of the match announcement. The result didn’t come as much of a surprise when debutant Jake Hall picked up the prize on debut with an excellent showing, especially with ball in hand.