Category: Club News

Nottingham Outlaws 24 : Birmingham Bulldogs 28

Nottingham Outlaws suffered their first league defeat of the season when they succumbed to a hugely disappointing 24-28 defeat at the hands of play-of rivals Birmingham at Lenton Lane on Saturday. Their loss was made more painful by the fact that they led by 24-0 towards the end of the first half and seemed in full control but a second half defensive horror show put any thoughts of topping the league well and truly on ice.

With only a couple of regular first team players unavailable  the Outlaws named a strong looking squad and they started well enough with Aiden Butler wriggling through a couple of Birmingham defenders to score from close range before Louis O’Connor went fully sixty metres to score a great solo effort to put the Outlaws 8-0 up in as many minutes!

The early scores probably did more harm than good as the home side became more sloppy in their approach and a series of errors saw them nearly concede but a couple of dropped balls saved their blushes.

A couple of changes from the bench seemed to do the trick when Harry Watts and Cal Foster entered the fray and within a ten minute period both players showed their pace, scorching through the Birmingham defence to double the Outlaws lead to 18-0 which became 24-0 when Watts added his second following some fine handling down the left wing channel.

As the half time hooter approached the Outlaws finally conceded a score in the corner as Birmingham opened their account with a good handling move that bagged a four-pointer to close the first stanza with the Outlaws well in control at 24-4.

The second half was very much an arm wrestle as neither side could break down some dogged defence and it was the Outlaws who came closest to scoring with Luke Wadding making two good breaks down the left wing only to lose the ball in the tackle when trying to get over the whitewash,

With twenty second half minutes to play Birmingham launched another attack on the back of a lost ball in the Outlaws twenty and this time they made no mistake as they cut the arrears to 24-8 which became 24-14 when they scored again within two minutes and the momentum in the game was clearly changing.

Try as they might the Outlaws couldn’t get hold of the ball on the back of a series of penalties and lost balls and a fully resurgent Birmingham side smelt blood and went for the kill. 

With the Outlaws defence tiring badly and dropping off the tackle with alarming regularity the visitors cut loose and in a disastrous final ten minutes the Outlaws leaked back to back trys as Birmingham levelled at 24-24 before sneaking ahead at 24-28 on the last play of the game.

When the final whistle sounded there was stunned disbelief in the Outlaws camp that a game that was well and truly in the bag had slipped from their grasp. Despite the disappointment there were a few good performances in the ranks, with Jacob Butler standing out as the player of the match .T

The Outlaws now go into their last game of the season, at Sherwood on Saturday, knowing they will need to beat their local rivals if they are to finish at the top of the league ahead of the all-important play-offs.

Change to Fixtures

The home game against Birmingham Bulldogs has been changed from 27th July to 13th July.

This game will still be played at home (Lenton Lane).

Hope to see all our supporters down for this exciting match!

Nottingham Outlaws 44 : Coventry Bears 6

Nottingham Outlaws unbeaten league run continued on Saturday when they put a strong Coventry Bears side to the sword, recording an emphatic 44-6 victory at Lenton Lane on Saturday.

The Outlaws went into the match with a side sporting a number of changes from the team that ran out in the friendly at Moorends the weekend before. The changes included the return of last season’s captain Alex Whittle who was having his first hit-out of the season and debutant Harry Watts.

The match started and right from the get-go it was clear that both teams were playing with contrasting styles, Coventry playing down the middle utilising their big pack of forwards whilst the Outlaws were looking to use their superior pace and movement out wide at every opportunity.

After ten minutes of fairly even rugby the Outlaws opened their account as winger Jimmy Goodwin scored after running over the top of his opposite number to nudge the Outlaws 4-0 ahead.

Having inched ahead the Outlaws let their opponents into the game and on the back of a knock on and a penalty they marched into the Outlaws red-zone and the home side could do little to stop their big forwards driving over from short range to nudge the Bears ahead 6-4.

Stung by this reversal the Outlaws went back on the hunt for more try’s and scrum half Tom Wigglesworth soon found the key to the door, eluding a couple of tacklers to plant the ball under the sticks. Whitfield added the extras to put the Outlaws ahead at 10-6.

It was a lead that the Outlaws were destined to keep for the remainder of the game.

Once again, the Outlaws made a hash of the play the ball after the restart and the Bears should have scored, only to lose the ball in the act of grounding when a try would have seen them once again pull ahead.

Having been let off the hook the Outlaws were quick to add to the visitor’s misery as pacey centre Cal Foster tore through the line before rounding the full back to score under the sticks for a marvellous forty yarder. Again, Whitfield converted and the Outlaws went into the sheds at 16-6 at the end of forty fairly even minutes.

Coach Shepherd used the break to breath some fresh life into the side with Steve Page and Harry Watts coming on the pitch.

The next try was always going to be important and thankfully from a home perspective it was the Outlaws who got it as Captain Coryn Ward jinked through the Bears defence to open his account for the afternoon as the Outlaws eased out to a three score lead at 22-6.

The Ward try seemed to knock the stuffing out of a Bears side that had competed well but were now rapidly running out of steam.

Sensing the game was there for the taking the Outlaws put the foot on the gas and began attacking at will and the score board soon started moving again as Jimmy Goodwin grabbed his second of the game with a carbon copy try to his first.

Probably the biggest cheer of the day came when Alex Whittle marked his return to the fold with a trademark show and go that opened up a gap big enough for the long-striding halfback to waltz through without a hand being laid upon him. With the Whitfield conversion sailing through the sticks the Outlaws were powering ahead at 34-6.

The home side were in no mood to let their rivals off the hook and in the very next set they extended their lead further whin powerful winger Jimmy Goodwin completed a fine hat trick  with yet another unstoppable surge over the line.

As the clock ticked down the Outlaws had time for one more score and what a try it was!

There seemed little danger when Cal Foster took the ball in hand just inside his own half but the boom centre went on what is now his trademark mazy run, rounding two players before surging through the line, wrong-footing the fullback to score a superb effort under the sticks.

To make matters worse for the visitors the chasing Bears committed a nasty, indeed dangerous foul on the young Outlaws Centre which saw the Bears reduced to 12 players for the remainder of the match.

Despite their numerical advantage the Outlaws did not add to their score and the referee blew for time with the Outlaws holding a commanding 44-6 lead after scoring 22 unanswered points in the second stanza.

After the game the players waited to hear who would walk away with the man of the match bubbly. In such a big win there were a number of players in with a shout such as hat trick hero Jimmy Goodwin and the effervescent Cal Foster who also bagged a fine brace. However, for the second game in a row the award Ali Waring took the vote with a superb effort especially in the first half when his defending kept a bigger Bears pack at bay.

Next week the Outlaws are at home again as they face a struggling Swindon Bulldogs side that is yet to get a point.

Moorends 12 : Nottingham Outlaws 12

Nottingham Outlaws used the gap in this week’s Premier League fixture list to send an experimental side up to Moorends for a friendly hit-out against the Doncaster outfit. In an entertaining yet low-scoring affair the lead changed hands three times before the sides settled for a 12-12 draw.

The Outlaws coaching team used the game to rest key players and try some new combinations in a side that contained three players on first team debut with a further five players drafted into the side that played Sherwood the week before

The Outlaws started the first half well, moving the ball across the pitch in assured fashion so it came as no surprise when Harry Hemmingway scooted over for the opening score despite some heavy traffic close to the line.

After some good early work the Outlaws found themselves starved of possession and the home side began to turn the screw, pouncing on a series of mistakes to score two unanswered try’s to edge out to an 8-4 lead.

With the clock ticking down the Outlaws just had enough time to launch one last attack down the right-hand side and Jimmy Goodwin was on hand to crash over following a powerful surge to the try line. 

The scores were now locked at 8-8 as the referee brought the first stanza to a close.

The second half started with neither side being able to capitalise on some good field position and defences definitely on top as neither side looked like scoring.

With 65 minutes played the Outlaws finally broke the deadlock when Harry Hemmingway, having a great game on the left wing  once again wriggled over in heavy traffic to nudge the Outlaws back into the lead at 12-18.

It looked like the Outlaws might hang on for a win but a lost ball in the dying minutes compounded by back-to-back penalties allowed Moorends one last chance and they crept over in the corner to level up the scores at 12-12 as the referee brought the game to a close.

After the game there were several players in with a shout for the man of the match award. Jacob Butler had an excellent game  on attack and especially defence with an industrious afternoon at the office but in the end the bubbly was shared by tackling machine Ali Waring and try scoring hero Harry Hemmingway.

Next week the Outlaws return to Premier League duty with a must-win against arch rivals Coventry Bears at Lenton Lane on Saturday (2.30pm)

Nottingham Outlaws 30 : Leamington Royals 16

Nottingham Outlaws entertained Leamington Royals in a Midlands Women’s Friendly fixture  on Saturday and despite incessant rain, both sides put on an excellent show before Outlaws pushed out to a convincing  30-16 victory.

Leamington battled hard but the Outlaws superior scoring ability always kept them one step ahead on the scoresheet. 

Try scorers were Robyn Gulley (3) Shannon Jordan (2) and Leah Martin (1) with Robyn adding three conversions to her points tally. 

As the players waited eagerly for the player of the match announcement there were a number of Outlaws in contention but there were no surprises when the bubbly deservedly went to  Shannon Jordan.

After the game team captain Rhiz Lord was quick to congratulate her troops commenting ”  I am so proud of the team today. Every single person put their best foot forward and the result shows this. We gave it our all, despite horrendous weather conditions and came away with a much-deserved win. This has given us the boost we needed and we head into next week’s Midlands tournament ready to win again!”

Final thoughts came from a very satisfied Women’s Head Coach Mark Stockman who added “I thought the ladies battled well given the torrential conditions. We put a lot of what we’re doing in training into practice today. The friendly also allowed me as coach to be able to try some different combinations. We need a big push at training this week to give ourselves the best opportunity for a result next weekend.”

Nottingham Outlaws 26 : Sherwood Wolf Hunt 30

Nottingham Outlaws and Sherwood Wolf Hunt clashed in the first Nottinghamshire Rugby League cup final in twenty years at Lenton Lane on Friday and it was well worth the wait as the two sides went toe-to-toe before Sherwood eventually finished 30-26 victors after 80 minutes of pulsating rugby league action.

With a big crowd assembled it was the Outlaws who started the strongest, setting up camp in and around the visitors twenty metre zone and they soon got the score board ticking over when Jacob Butler scrambled over in heavy traffic to nudge the Outlaws ahead 4-0.

The Butler try settled the home nerves and they began to get on top, dominating field position and possession but not for the first time this season they lacked the cutting edge to open up a well-drilled and enthusiastic Wolf Hunt defence.

As so often happens in rugby league football, a failure to take chances was punished ruthlessly as Wolf Hunt twice broke clear from their own half to score back to back try’s to teach the Outlaws a lesson in how to score including an excellent sixty metre solo effort by Sherwood winger Matt Cahill who used his pace to out-sprint the home defence

The two Wolf Hunt trys in the midway stages of the half proved to be a hammer blow to the Outlaws who were destined to chase the game from this point onwards.

Despite the blow the Outlaws did their best to get back into the frame and they should have bagged more points, but their attack once again lacked the guile and cutting edge to bother the scoreboard.

Indeed, it looked like their efforts were about to go unrewarded but right on the stroke of half time big Jack Jonson showed his team mates the way with a bullocking try straight down the middle, crashing over for an excellent try. Whitfield added the extras to narrow the gap to 10-12 as the first half hooter sounded.

Both sides took a well-earned breather after 40 minutes of furious action in which neither side had managed to fully stamp their authority on their opposite numbers.

Not for the first time this season the Outlaws started the second stanza in lacklustre fashion and they soon began to leak points against a Sherwood team that  knew its way to the tryline.

The problems started with the second stanza only four minutes old as the Outlaws were penalised in possession and after back to back penalties Sherwood extended their lead  and then some poor one-on-one tackling let Sherwood in again.

Indeed with twenty second half minutes played the Outlaws hopes of cup glory seemed dead and buried as they now trailed 24-10.

After a poor third quarter the Outlaws knew they needed to up the ante if they were to salvage anything from the game and they did just that!

A superb break by Gaz Whitfield looked like the Outlaw fullback had got over in the corner but the hotly disputed try was disallowed by the referee who judged that the ball had gone into touch before grounding.

However, an Outlaws try wasn’t long in coming as good hands released Aiden Butler who scored in the corner to reduce the deficit to 14-24 and there was now a glimmer of hope for the home side!

With the clock showing 15 minutes remaining the Outlaws were once again finding their rhythm and leading the way was George Strachan who rolled back the years with a masterclass at dummy half.

Time and again the old war horse opened up the Wolf Hunt defence with well timed passes before he put in an unstoppable burst from the play the ball to score another Outlaws try, with Whitfield narrowing the deficit further to 20-24 with the extras.

It looked like the Outlaws were about to snatch something from the game but their fightback once again faltered, losing the ball early in the tackle count after the restart which was compounded by some poor defending as Sherwood fullback Chris Peceval went through some weak tackling to bag his second of the game and put the visitors two scores ahead at 20-28

As the clock ticked down Sherwood increased their tally to thirty with a penalty and it looked all over but once again the Outlaws hit back with an excellent solo effort from twenty metres as the hard working Tom Wigglesworth jinked through a gap to score and when Whitfield added the extras the gap had narrowed to 26-30.

As the clock wound down the Outlaws threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Wolf Hunt defence but they couldn’t quite get the score they desperately needed and the visitors ultimately held out to take the spoils, much to the delight of their travelling supporters.

Despite the defeat the Outlaws coaching staff were not too despondent in the knowledge that that they had matched their visitors try-for-try before falling just short and there will be more matches to come between these two sides who both look likely to be in the mix for the Midland Premier title this season

Man of the match was awarded to Captain Coryn ward who led his troops magnificently from first to last minute in a desperate attempt to lead his troops to victory.

City v County 2024

This coming Friday sees a huge City v County clash when Nottingham Outlaws face local rivals Sherwood Wolf Hunt at Lenton Lane (Friday 7th June 7.30pm).

Both sides sport 100% league records in the Midlands Premier so it is going to be a huge match-up and maybe a pointer towards who might finish as top dogs at the end of the 2024 campaign.

The local Nottinghamshire rivalry goes back to the 1980’s when Nottingham Crusaders used to regularly cross swords with crack Mansfield outfit Garabaldi in the winter era in the now-defunct EMARLA league.

When the game moved to summer in 1999 Nottingham Outlaws picked up the mantle for Nottingham and within a couple of years  Mansfield Storm were formed to begin playing in the Summer season and once again re-ignite the oldest  rugby league rivalry in the Midlands.

After a couple of seasons Storm disbanded and once again Nottingham Outlaws were left to fly the Nottinghamshire flag alone until  2014 when  Sherwood Wolf Hunt was formed to once again carry the torch for rugby league in Mansfield/North Nottinghamshire.

Perhaps disappointingly its taken 10 years for the two sides to meet again on the rugby league field but this coming Friday they will do just that in what promises to be a great match-up and a celebration of forty years of rugby league rivalry in the county!

Telford Raiders 20 : Nottingham Outlaws 22

Nottingham Outlaws winning start to the 2024 Midlands Premier League Season continued on Saturday when they just squeezed past the wining post with a hard-earned 22-20 away victory at last year’s champions Telford Raiders. In an absorbing contest, the  Outlaws led comfortably at half time before leaking three quick fire try’s to find themselves chasing the game but a late try by James Hood snatched a hard-earned win for the Nottingham outfit.

The Outlaws went into the match sporting a number of changes to the team that had come out on top against Oxford the previous weekend with Mikey Anderson and Sam Andrews returning to the front row and James Hood and Aidan Butler returning to the threequarters.

The match started evenly with both teams cancelling each other out with some strong defending and both struggling to find any fluency in attack. However the Outlaws finally found their cutting edge on the fifteen-minute mark when James Hood proved too big and too strong for the home defence, breaking two tackles before planting the ball down over the whitewash to score the opening try which Whitfield converted and the Outlaws led 6-0.

The Outlaws try seemed to settle the nerves and boost their confidence and they began to move the ball with confidence and they doubled their score five minutes later as Haz Ashby fooled the opposition defence, shaping to pass before scooting through a gap to double the Outlaws lead at 12-0.

Despite the Outlaws lead the home side were still asking plenty of questions and twice in succession they nearly scored but some great defending by James Hood and Adam Ward kept the Outlaws line intact when a try seemed certain.  However on the third time of asking they did manage to get over the line as the Outlaws leaked successive penalties and the Raiders took advantage to reduce the Outlaws lead to one score at 12-6.

With the clock ticking down there was just time for one more attack and once again it was Ashby who fooled the opposition defence, dummying and breaking through the Raiders line before powering over the line despite the attention of the opposition fullback.

Despite the angle Whitfield added the extras and the Outlaws went into the interval two scores ahead at 18-6 but with the contest still very much alive.

With the temperatures rising the coaching staff decided to bring on the cavalry with Page, Burgin and Strachan all joining the fray to breathe some fresh life into the side.

Despite the changes the Outlaws started the second half in similar vein to the Oxford match a week ago with a catalogue of errors handing possession and initiative to the home side and they soon began to chip away at the Outlaws lead.

The first score came off a lost ball and then a second quick fire try on the end of a back-to-back set saw the Outlaws lead shrink to two points at 16-18.

With seventeen minutes left to play the travelling Outlaws faithful feared the worse when Telford scored a third try on the bounce to nudge ahead at 20-18 and it seemed like a half time winning position was going to be handed back on a plate to the now dominant home team.

Having been under the cosh for most of the second stanza the Outlaws desperately needed some energy from somewhere and luckily for them they found it!

With the Raiders beginning to tire visibly Outlaws forwards Luke Wadding, Jack Jonson and Sam Andrews began to get on top with some hard drives into the heart of the Raiders defence.

Half back Tom Wigglesworth was now getting better ball and field position to work with and as a result he began to orchestrate play and mount a series of attacks on the home line. 

Strachan and Mikey Anderson came close before powerful centre  James Hood bagged his second try of the game, crashing through his opposite number to nudge the Outlaws back in front at 20-22. 

As the clock ticked down neither team could add to the tally and when the final hooter sounded the Outlaws players, coaching staff and the travelling faithful breathed a collective sigh of relief on a job well done!

After the game the players waited for the announcement of the man of the match. There were several players in with a shout but in the end it was a joint win with James Hood and Haz Ashby sharing the award with each of the two tyros’ bagging a fine a brace of trys. 

As the squad relaxed coach Joe Shepherd was quick to express his satisfaction and relief on proceedings adding “Whilst we did make it hard on ourselves on occasions we certainly battled well and I am delighted to travel to the home of last season’s champions and come away with the two points. I thought the performance was much better than last week’s run-out against Oxford and I know that there is more improvements to come from this squad.”

Next weekend the Outlaws have the luxury of a weekend off before they entertain local rivals Sherwood Wolf Hunt at Lenton Lane on Friday 7th June (7.30pm).

Becky Mayo, Outlaws Physio, BJJ Blue belt, 2024 British Champion

Nottingham Outlaws were thrilled to learn that their current physio Becky Mayo has recently been crowned British Ju Jitsu Champion and now heads out to California this coming Bank Holiday weekend to compete in the World Championships!

Becky is the club’s regular Physio on match days in recent years and she can usually be seen along the touchline tending to injured Outlaws players during matches and also helping players with their injury re-hab during the week. However, when she isn’t tending to players ailments, she is busy training and and competing in Ju Jitsu competitions and her hard work has been duly rewarded with the National title and this weekend’s dream trip to California.

Indeed the highly popular physio has been instrumental in helping a number of players recover from serious injury and oversee their rehabilitation program, including current  men’s team captain Coryn Ward who was quick to both thank Becky and wish her well, adding “Becky is highly popular and great to have around the club. She is always there to help not only on matchdays but during the week too. I know this only too well as she has helped me enormously when I was recovering from knee surgery, overseeing my rehab program and getting me back playing in an Outlaws shirt”

Club Chairman Richard Johnson was also quick to offer congratulations to Becky and wish her look in the forthcoming World Finals, commenting “Becky is an important part of our matchday team and her professional approach and friendly personality means she is both popular and highly respected by the players, coaching team and committee members alike. Of course, we wish her well this weekend and we can’t wait to see her back in Nottingham so she can tell us all about her quest for gold!”

Nottingham Outlaws 40 : Oxford Cavaliers 20

Nottingham Outlaws hit the ground running in their 2024 Midlands Premier League campaign on Saturday when they  scorched to a convincing 40-20 victory over a hard working but ultimately outgunned Oxford Cavaliers outfit at Lenton Lane on Saturday.

The Outlaws went into the game with several changes to the squad that went down to Bedford last weekend, but they soon hit their straps as early as the opening set, moving the ball down the blind side and winger Adam Ward latched onto a cut out pass to nudge the Outlaws into a 4-0 lead with only two minutes on the clock.

If the Outlaws thought they were in for an easy afternoon at the office then someone had forgotten to hand Oxford the script and on the back of successive penalties the visitors nudged ahead 6-4 with a short-range effort on the back of some sloppy home defence.

The deficit didn’t last long as the visitors made a hash from the re-start and from the resulting scrum Gaz Whitfield jinked his way over from twenty metres out and subsequently added the extras from bang in front to put the Outlaws back in the lead at 10-6.

It was a lead they were destined to keep for the rest of the game.

The remainder of the first half was probably the best section of the game for the Outlaws as they began to capitalise on their superior speed and know-how and in doing so they kept the scoreboard ticking over with a great solo effort from Cal Foster who had injected some much-needed pace and vigour from the bench.

Indeed, the young Trent powerhouse went over again five minutes later, wriggling out of the tackle despite the attention of two defenders as the Outlaws lead stretched to 22-6.

Having been through something of a purple patch the Outlaws failed to keep up the intensity and they once again were guilty of some weak defending, dropping off tackles in their right hand defensive channel as Oxford hit back from forty metres out to reduce the deficit to 22-12 as the referee brought the first stanza to a close.

The Outlaws had exhibited some poor form at the end of the first forty and they carried on in the same manner at the opening of the second stanza, once again leaking a try on the back of some basic one-on-one mis-tackles as the lead was cut to one score at 22-16.

Stung by this reversal the Outlaws upped the ante and within five minutes Gaz Whitfield extended the Outlaws lead to two scores notching a fine brace in the process and stretching the score out to 28-16 by adding the extras.

The Whitfield score seemed to knock the stuffing out of a rapidly tiring Cavaliers side who were now rapidly running out of steam and bodies as the visitor’s injury toll mounted, and with it the Outlaws lead stretched out to 34-16 as Haz Ashby used his size and reach to stretch over for a great solo effort.

By now it was all one-way traffic and two minutes later Gaz Whitfield put the icing on the cake for a great solo performance as the sharpshooter completed a well-deserved hattrick to take the Outlaws lead out to 40-16.   

A late try by the visitors reduced the deficit but with their dwindling reserves the referee mercifully brought proceedings to a close early with Outlaws home and hosed at 40-20.

After the game there were a few Outlaws in the frame for the Player of the Match award. On any other day it might have gone to hattrick hero Gaz Whitfield who had a fine day at the office with ball in hand but he was just pipped by rookie utility player Cal Foster who injected some much-needed pace and vigour every time he touched the ball.

After the game coach Shepherd announced his satisfaction with proceedings but also recognised that there was still work to do if the Outlaws were to mount a serious league challenge, adding “I was certainly pleased to get the win and some of our attacking play was excellent, however some aspects of our play left a bit to desired so the lads can enjoy the win today but they know that they will come to training next week and I will be looking at things to work on as they will face much tougher challenges ahead”

Indeed the  Outlaws league campaign will definitely go up a notch next weekend when they pay a visit last year’s champions Telford Raiders.