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.

Bedford Tigers (A) 8 : Nottingham Outlaws 88

Nottingham Outlaws travelled down the M1 on Saturday to play Bedford Tigers Academy in a hastily rearranged friendly against their Southern Premier counterparts. Both teams used the occasion to play larger squads but it was the Outlaws that came out on top with a huge 88-8 victory.

With Leamington Royals pulling out of the opening league fixture at late notice the chance to give the squad another run out was gratefully accepted by the coaching team and a squad of 22 players headed south for the friendly.

Both teams took to the field on what was probably the hottest day of the year but it was the Outlaws that started the stronger with Adam Ward opening the scoring on the left wing as the ball moved out wide for the first time and almost straight from the restart Gaz Whitfield stretched the lead out t0 10-0, scoring a try from a well-rehearsed move close to the line and then adding the extras.

On the fifteen minute mark the Outlaws added two more trys with Mikey Anderson scoring on his debut with a well-taken effort and Jimmy Goodwin marking his return to the side after a four year absence with a typically no-nonsense effort close to the line.

At this stage of the game the points were racking up at the rate of more than a point a minute and when James Hood, Luke Wadding and Jack Jonson went over almost untouched the scoreboard could hardly keep up with the scoring rate!

With the coaching staff looking on the Outlaws were in no-mood to ease up the pressure and good hands down the line saw debutants Jacob Butler and Alfie Jones open their try scoring account for the club with both newcomers already showing that they will be more than useful additions to the squad this season.

As the half-time hooter approached the hard working home side did manage to mount a few attacks of their own and they engineered a well taken try to open their account and close out the scoring at the end of the first stanza with the Outlaws way out ahead at 48-8.

With the coaching team making no fewer than six interchanges at the break the team took their foot off the gas after the re-start and in the first set after the break the home club capitalised on some weak Outlaws defending on the line to double their score and reduce the deficit to 8-48.

Stung by this reversal and with some stern words from Captain Ward ringing in their ears the Outlaws soon upped the ante with rangy winger Adam Ward breaking free from the forty metre zone to win a foot race to the line and within a minute the  long-striding winger was in full flow again to complete his first ever hattrick for the club.

The next Outlaws attack yielded another try with powerful centre James Hood breaking loose on the halfway line with a huge fend on his opposite number before scorching down the pitch to draw the fullback and release Harry Hemmingway in support and he duly scampered over untouched.

The next two scores went to two old war horses who have come back into the fold after a few years away from the club. The first of the duet came from Jimmy Goodwin who stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle before racing away to score and then John Hemmingway showed that he still had what it takes with a fine solo effort to mark his return to the game.

With the game moving into the closing stages the Outlaws added two try’s in the last three minutes with James Hood once again using his size and strength to break clear and then Haz Ashby wrapping up the scoring with a crafty show-and-go that saw the stand-off shoot through a gap to score and then he calmly added the extras from bang in front to wrap up the game with the Outlaws way out in front at 8-88.

After the game the Outlaws coaching team expressed their satisfaction to the players on a job well done but there will no doubt be some much tougher challenges ahead for the team, starting with next Saturdays league opener against Oxford Cavaliers at Lenton Lane (2.30pm).

Match Preview: Leamington Royals v Nottingham Outlaws

Nottingham Outlaws 2024 campaign finally gets underway on Saturday after a seven month lay-off from competitive league action. Indeed the last league match the team played was back in September when they entertained Ossett Trinity in what proved to be their final match in Yorkshire League Division 2 and this Saturday they start life afresh in the Midlands Premier Division with an intriguing looking clash at Leamington Royals.

The two sides have never met at senior level so it will be a true bellwether of what the Outlaws will be facing in the newly expanded Midlands Premier League that sees the Outlaws playing the likes of Swindon St George, Oxford Cavaliers and of course, local rivals Sherwood Wolf Hunt.

Despite a close defeat in the annual Heroes Trophy match a fortnight ago, the Outlaws will be looking to hit the ground running on Saturday with a new-look squad containing a number of new players on debut. The fresh faces will include several of this years Trent Scholarship players who have performed well in the BUCS student Premier Division with Callum Foster, Jacob Butler and Olly Hopkins all likely to be in the mix and they will be joined by several familiar faces including Captain Coryn Ward who once again be leading his charges from the front.

With the new campaign looming large, Outlaws wily coach Joe Shepherd was clearly looking forward to the start of league fixtures commenting “Personally I can’t wait for the first league game. The lads are chomping at the bit and everyone is raring to go after a really good pre-season. We noticeably improved from our training run-through with the Royal Signals and in last week’s Heroes Trophy against the Royal Artillery, and we’re looking for another improvement this week. Competition for places is going to be huge, so I’m excited to see which players step up and look to cement their place in the team over the coming weeks”

Nottingham Outlaws 26 : Royal Artillery 30

Nottingham Outlaws took to the field at Lenton Lane on Saturday for their first game of the 2024 campaign, the annual Heroes Trophy clash against the Royal Artillery.  Their rugby-starved fans were not disappointed as they were treated to a highly entertaining game which ebbed and flowed before the Outlaws finally succumbed to a 26-30 defeat.

With temperatures more akin to winter rather than summer rugby, Outlaws started the new campaign somewhat sluggishly, perhaps not surprisingly considering this was their first competitive game for over seven months! Indeed some of the early tackling attempts were more than lacklustre as they fell 8-0 behind following an early brace of trys to the visitors.

With fifteen minutes on the clock the new look Outlaws squad finally began to gel and they swept down the field thanks to a fine break by Tom Wigglesworth that was finished off by James Hood who used his size and strength to get over the line for a fine try. Gaz Whitfield added the extras to reduce the deficit to 4-8.

Despite having got back into the game the Outlaws defence continued to let them down as once again they fell off the tackle with alarming regularity resulting in two more scores before the break. However the Outlaws did keep chipping away and they got just reward when Harry Hemmingway got his first try for the club from short range to leave the Outlaws trailing 20-10 at the break.

If the Outlaws were to stand a chance of getting back into the game it was important that they got the first try after the interval and they did just that when Captain Coryn Ward used his pace and footwork to scoot over in between the posts from ten metres out. Whitfield converted from bang in front to reduce the deficit to one score at 16-20.

The Ward try seemed to buoy the Outlaws further and they settled into some great form. Indeed the first twenty minutes of the second stanza was probably their best spell of the game as they hammered away at the Gunners line but some over-eager play saw the ball go to ground when a cooler approach would have probably yielded more scores.

As so often happens in rugby league, their failure to capitalise on their dominance was destined to be punished and so it was as the Artillery extended their lead 16-24 with a rare foray into the Outlaws red zone.

The Outlaws dominance in possession and field position continued despite the setback but once again it looked likely to go unrewarded until big prop Mikey Bennet who used size and brute strength to crash over despite the attention of three Artillery defenders for a great solo effort. Whitfield slotted over to reduce the deficit to the narrowest of margins at 22-24.

With fifteen minutes to play it was all Outlaws now as they looked to snatch the trophy from the Gunners grasp. Indeed on three occasions they crossed the whitewash only to be held up over the line by some desperate Gunners defending.

Despite the prolonged assault the Outlaws had failed to take the lead and they were duly punished when the Artillery broke from deep to go fully eighty metres down the pitch for a fine solo effort that extended the visitors lead to 30-22.

Despite the setback the Outlaws went back on the attack from the restart and this time they were rewarded when Harry Hemmingway  wrestled his way over in the corner to complete a brace of try’s and cap a fine day at the office for the rookie winger.

As the clock ticked down the Outlaws threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Gunners defence and on the very last play of the game it looked like they were about to level the scores as second rower Oliver Hopkins dived over in the corner but the ball fell agonisingly from his grasp and the try was disallowed.

After the whistle there was plenty of chat around who might grab the coveted player of the match award. There were quite a few players in with a shout but the award deservedly went to Gaz Whitfield for some excellent work from the fullback spot

Despite the defeat there were plenty of positives to take from the game with Coach Shepherd more than pleased with how his young squad was beginning to shape up as the new league season rapidly approaches.

Illingworth 34 : Nottingham Outlaws 10

Nottingham Outlaws travelled to Illingworth on Sunday for their first hit out of the season in the Women’s National Cup.

A new-look team travelled up the M1 including several players on debut as well as a number of regulars including Violet Coppin, last season’s top try scorer Robyn Gulley, and new Captain Rhiz Lord.

After a slow start the Outlaws soon found themselves 16-0 down as some rusty, lackluster defence saw them leak three early trys without response and with only fifteen minutes on the clock the signs looked ominous!

Captain Rhiz Lord did her best to rally the troops and some strong words from the Captain seemed to hit home as the Outlaws defence stiffened and with more ball in hand they began to ask a few questions of the home defence. Indeed on the thirty minute mark the Outlaws opened their account with a superb solo effort from Robyn Gulley who scorched down the pitch, racing fully sixty meters to open her 2024 scoring account.

The Outlaws were now going through something of a purple patch and Robyn Gulley added her second of the game to reduce the arrears to 16-10 and with the clock ticking down it looked like the Outlaws were about to draw level only for a good-looking try to be chalked off by the referee as the first half finished with the Outlaws well and truly in the hunt at 16-10 in arrears.

The second half saw the Outlaws tire somewhat and as with the first half they leaked three quick trys to trail 28-10 but they rallied strongly and nearly scored on three occasions only to be held up inches short.

A final try by the home side closed out the scoring at 34-10 and although they were out of the cup at the first attempt there were plenty of positives for the Outlaws coaching team to take heart from. Including several promising debuts and a fine day at the office for player of the match Robyn Gulley.

Captains Named

Nottingham Outlaws preparations for the fast-approaching 2024 campaign stepped up a gear this week when they announced the captaincies of both their women’s and men’s teams ahead of the new season.

It was a mixture of new and old as the Women’s Captaincy armband was passed onto utility forward Rhiz Lord for the first time, whilst the Men’s Captaincy will once again fall on the shoulders of club stalwart Coryn Ward.

Both players were natural choices to lead their respective teams out onto the paddock so it will come as no surprise to either squad as the leaders were announced at training this week.

Women’s Coach Mark Stockman was quick to back his selection of Rhiz Lord as Women’s Captain, commenting “I’m delighted to announce Rhizzi as captain for the 2024 season. I want to thank Violet for all of her hard work and leadership whilst at the helm of the captaincy. Violet is taking some well-deserved time for herself. Rhizzi is the natural successor and was an easy decision for me. Rhizzi’s commitment since joining the club is second to none.”

Similar views were expressed by Men’s Coach Joe Shepherd who was again full of praise for his choice of on-field leader, adding “We’re very lucky to have Coryn back as Captain again this year. As a coach you couldn’t wish for a more committed leader than Coryn. He had a fantastic season last year, and he’s still getting better as a player.”

Club Chair Richard Johnson was quick to support both congratulate both players, commenting “We all know that Coryn has led his troops from the front over the last few seasons through some tough Yorkshire League encounters and his inspiration. His on-field endeavours make him a natural leader and I am pleased that he is once again carrying on the Captains role. Rhiz will also make a great Captain, she is also an inspirational character who does so much for the club on and off the pitch. She is without doubt a natural leader for the Women’s team and I know she will thrive under this new challenge”

2024 Men’s Fixture Schedule Finalised

Nottingham Outlaws are pleased to announce that their men’s first team fixtures for the 2024 season have now been finalised and released for public review.

As revealed previously, its all change at the Outlaws as the men’s team have switched competition from the Yorkshire league and have returned to their roots in the Midlands Premier Division.

The new look schedule sees them once again ply their trade against Midlands rivals such as Birmingham Bulldogs, Coventry Bears, Sherwood Wolf Hunt and Telford Raiders and a return of the Nottinghamshire Cup which will see the Outlaws face-off against fellow Nottinghamshire rivals Wolf Hunt.

Outlaws Chairman Richard Johnson was full of anticipation on release of the fixtures, adding “Our return to the re-vamped Midlands Premier is a huge opportunity to grow the game and show the rugby league community how strong the local game is in the Midlands. From an Outlaws perspective we can’t wait to resume our local rivalries against teams such as Coventry Bears and Sherwood Wolf Hunt in what promises to be a hotly-contested competition”

However, before the Midlands action starts there is the welcome return of the Heroes Trophy which resumes after a six year sojourn and sees the Outlaws look to retain the magnificent trophy against The Royal Artillery in a tasty season opener at Lenton Lane.

Outlaws NTU Scholar in South of England Squad

Nottingham Outlaws are pleased to announce that one of their Nottingham Trent University Scholarship players, Cal Foster, has been selected for the England students Southern Origin squad to play in the recent North v South origin game.

In a tough encounter Cal was named in the centres and acquitted himself well. He is now eagerly awaiting to hear whether he has made the final England squad.

Coach Joe Shepherd was delighted, saying “It was great to see Cal acquit himself really well in representing the south. He was very solid and impressed in the time he was on the field. Congratulations also to Femi Sanya from Nottingham Trent, and Ben Price and Freddie Ziegler from University of Nottingham.”

Cal thanked Nottingham Outlaws saying “Wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship so really appreciate everything, and buzzing for the season to start! “

Coach Shepherd’s praise was equally endorsed by club chair Richard Johnson who added, “with the Outlaws 2024 season now rapidly approaching it is great to see our scholarship players hitting top form. We are immensely proud of Cal and what he has already achieved this season as we are with all of our scholars and we can’t wait to see them pulling on an Outlaws shirt in the forthcoming campaign”

Outlaws Sponsorship by EPMS Supplies Ltd

Nottingham Outlaws are delighted to announce a new 5 year sponsorship package with local building materials company EPMS  Supplies Ltd, a construction industry supplies and services specialist based across several locations in the UK including its Midlands office a stones throw from the Outlaws ground, in Redfield Road Lenton. EPMS owner Kevin Earles is no stranger to the Outlaws, often coming down to the ground to watch the Outlaws play. Kevin was only too pleased to come on board and support the club. 

In a ground-breaking deal for the Outlaws, EPMS will work closely with the Outlaws over the next 5 years, starting with the EPMS logo adorning newly purchased post protectors and pitch-side signage.

Outlaws Chair Richard Johnson was full of praise for the deal, commenting “Landing a long-term sponsorship deal is great news for a club like ours, helping to bring financial stability and enabling us to plan ahead. At a time when we are starting to invest heavily in ground refurbishments a close relationship with a company like EPMS Building Supplies is going to be invaluable in a number of ways”

The new post protectors have recently arrived at the ground and are now in place ready for the start of the new season which is only weeks away!