Nottingham Outlaws travelled to New Earswick in York on Saturday for their latest Yorkshire Premier League outing still searching for a win after a run of six successive defeats.
Once again they headed north with a squad ravaged by injury and Covid withdrawals and despite some good spells and plenty of effort they could not avoid another heavy defeat, this time losing out by 46-6.
The travelling faithful have read the pre-match script before, a flurry of late injury and Covid withdrawals saw them once again having to dig deep into the reserves.
Experienced combo Stew Readhead and Dave Ivemey were once again drafted into a stint on the bench, Josh Burgin came in on the wing for his first game at senior level this season and he was joined by Brad Moss in the hooking role who was also having his inaugural run out.
The match started in cool, blustery conditions and the Outlaws made their now customary bad start to the game, leaking a try almost from the start on the back of some poor defensive.work out wide to trail 4-0 in as many minutes.
Despite the setback the Outlaws battled back strongly and a superb line break by the effervescent Cunliffe saw the fleet footed fullback break clear before drawing the full back and releasing Coryn Ward who scooted under the posts to level the scores.
Cunliffe added the extras and at 6-4 the Outlaws found themselves in front in a match for the first in many months!
Despite the brief injection of hope the Outlaws couldn’t capitalise on their lead. The negative aspects of their game that have dogged them all season, poor defence and poor ball retention soon resurfaced and any hopes of a much needed victory soon faded
Indeed the Outlaws lead only lasted eight minutes when their defensive frailties were exposed yet again as the home side scored to lead 10-6.
Indeed for the remainder of the half the home side repeatedly exploited numerous weak spots in an Outlaws defensive unit that lacked any sort of line speed.
As a result the New Earswick front six were able to make huge inroads into the Outlaws defence on every set and with a stranglehold on possession and field position the home team ran in three further tries to leave the Outlaws trailing 20-6 at half time.
If the Outlaws were to stand any chance of getting something out of the game it was vital that they got an early score from the restart.
The early score did indeed come but unfortunately from an Outlaws perspective it went to New Earswick who exploited some weak defending to stretch the lead to 26-6 and the game was effectively over at that point.
Despite the setback the Outlaws did their best to hit back and once again they were led from the front by Captain Courageous Coryn Ward who led the way with some big hits and several strong carries and he was supported by some sterling efforts from player-coach Adam Cunliffe the rapidly improving Roddy Jonas who put in a great defensive shift.
Whilst the Outlaws continued to do their best to get something out of the game they were always second best to a New Earswick side that was growing in confidence by the minute. Indeed as the second stanza progressed the Outlaws tired quickly and as the defence melted away the home side ran in another four tries to close out the game at 46-6.
Despite the reversal there were a few individual performances worthy of note, not least that of man of the match Coryn Ward who never took a backwards step and deservedly took the bubbly.
As the players licked their wounds and headed for the showers they did so knowing that they now sit at the bottom of the Yorkshire Premier Division with the season rapidly reaching a climax However they now have a run of four consecutive home games starting with play off hopefuls Cutsyke Raiders who visit Lenton Lane next Saturday at 2.30pm