Outlaws 6 : Ossett Trinity 12

Nottingham Outlaws just failed to register a home victory in their final Yorkshire League division 1 game on Saturday when they suffered a 12-6 defeat at the hands of top four outfit Ossett Trinity.

The Outlaws went into the game with a number of changes to the team that lost up at Sharlston last weekend, many of them enforced with no fewer than three players suffering from head injuries due to high shots during the previous game. This led to a number of players coming back into the squad including Ali Waring, Haz Ashby and Clark Squires making welcome returns after injury. There were some new faces too with Cameron Frater coming onto the bench for his Outlaws debut.

The opening quarter was something of an arm wrestle as both defences remained on top and a score looked unlikely until the twentieth minute when Ossett opened the scoring with an excellent try, passing the ball through several pairs of hands before scoring out wide to nudge the visitors 6-0 ahead.

Stung by this reversal the Outlaws roared back into the game, hammering away at the Ossett line in an effort to get back on level terms. Indeed, they completely dominated the second quarter but attack after attack came to nothing as the Outlaws failed to capitalise on their dominance, the closest they came being when Strachan went over the line only to be held up in the tackle.

When the half time whistle went the Outlaws were still 6-0 down despite dominating for most of the half but a combination of wrong decision making, losing the ball under pressure and some excellent scrambling defence by the visitors kept them scoreless.

It was this inability to concert pressure into points that was to eventually cost the Outlaws the game.

The second half started much the same way as the first with neither side making much impression against some strong defence but all of a sudden, a try came out of nothing. The problems started when the Outlaws failed to catch a high bomb and as the ball bounced wickedly the Ossett attack latched to the loose ball to score an opportunistic try to stretch their lead out to 12-0.

With the clock ticking down the Outlaws threw everything they could at the visitor’s line, but they lacked the guile and composure to get the score they needed. Indeed, it wasn’t until the 75th minute that the Outlaws finally got on the score board when big prop Mike Bennett latched onto a short ball from Strachan and used his size and strength to power over from ten metres out despite the attention of two home defenders.

Squires converted from bang in front, but it was too little too late for the Outlaws with the whistle going five minutes later and the score board recording a 12-6 scoreline in favour of the visitors.

As the Outlaws players gathered for their final post match debriefing of the 2023 campaign they waited with interest to see who was picking up the man of the match award. It was a tough call, the coaching staff eventually going with a joint award with hard working Mikey Bennett and Aiden Butler sharing the award.