Thursday 13 June 2024
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Nottingham

Match report: Nottingham Outlaws 26 – 30 Sherwood Wolf Hunt

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.

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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.

Aidan

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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.

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The two Wolf Hunt try’s 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.

 

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