Saturday, 16 June 2012

Nottingham Outlaws 30 v St. Albans Centurions 22 - Rugby League National Conference Div. 3 ... plus extras

Saturday 16th June 2012, at the Harvey Hadden Stadium
Midlands Rugby League - Division 1 East
Nottingham Outlaws 'A' 24
Wolverhampton 14
Two games for the price of one at the Harvey Hadden, for the second weekend running, because the Outlaws 'A' team game, against Wolverhampton, had to be played on the main pitch prior to the first team's outing against St. Albans Centurions.
As wet and miserable afternoons go weather wise, this one was quite wet ... and bloody miserable too!
It was especially grim for Wolverhampton in the first half, as they had only managed to raise a 12 man team for the game and at times during the opening 40 minutes, they were completely over run, by an Outlaws side who had their full compliment of players available, plus a selection of subs to rotate, giving their team mates some much needed respite in the testing conditions.
A stiff wind blew across the pitch from the Wigman Road end, which was proving to be a real handful for the depleted visitors, who had to play into it and carry on regardless, with no squad members on the bench to provide back up.
Five minutes into the second half, a Wolverhampton player had to leave the pitch to receive some treatment, so the Outlaws, seeing as the odds were now 13 against 11, very sportingly, loaned them one of theirs.
For a while, after the injured party returned, the game was 13 aside for around twenty minutes, but the 'spare' man finished the game playing for his own team.
Wolves put up a dogged and determined rearguard action after the turnaround ... and for what it's worth, they actually won the second half and prevented the Notts side from adding to the total of 24 points they had amassed at the break, but they still finished with a ten point deficit, in a game that was always going to be an uphill struggle for them, giving the numerical disadvantage they had to overcome for most of the game.
Saturday 16th June 2012, at the Harvey Hadden Stadium
Rugby League National Conference Division 3
Nottingham Outlaws (22) 30
St. Albans Centurions (18) 22
Admission £3, Programme £2
Last week the Outlaws played against Bristol Sonics for the first time ever.
They had never played against St. Albans Centurions before today either.
And by way of a massive coincidence, they had to come back from being 12-0 behind, at home, to both league newcomers, before going on to win, on consecutive weekends.
It was evident from the outset, that the Cents were going to be a much tougher nut to crack than the Sonics turned out to be over the course of 80 minutes.
The visitors were well up for it today.
Outlaws v Cents team sheet ... Left click image to enlarge.

The Centurions side were 12 points ahead , when Gareth Walters and Ben Moore punished a couple of defensive errors by the home side, to score a try apiece inside the opening eight minutes ... both of which Moore converted.
Will Thomas cancelled out his slip at the back, when he ran the length of the pitch before touching down under the posts. His try was duly converted by Will Mellings
Mellings, making his debut for Nottingham today, then ran in a try of his own and kicked his side level on points.
But the visitors were soon back in front, through Marcus J Shaw and Moore's kick made the score 12-18.
And as the game swung from end to end, Mike Harrison went over for another four points for the Outlaws, with an unconverted try.
Before the break, Will Thomas showed he was well and truly over his shaky start, by scoring yet another try while a quartet of Cents players tried thwarting his progress ... and Will Mellings successfully kicked again, to make the score 22-18 as the teams took a half time breather, from this absorbing and engrossing contest.
Will Meddings ran in a try at the start of the second half and on 55 minutes, Paul Calland added another, to give the Outlaws a commanding 30-18 lead.
And then, for well over 20 minutes, the game became a very tight affair, a real ding dong battle, with neither side giving an inch as they entrenched themselves in position and locked horns in a physical encounter, that had firm but fair written all over it ... in fact, there were no further points on the score board until the very last minute, when Brad Webber broke free, following a scrum near the Outlaws line, to score a consolation try for the tenascious visitors.
The Outlaws victory was well deserved, but St. Albans had made them really have to dig in and battle for it.
An excellent advert all round, for amateur rugby league and a great afternoon's entertainment at the Harvey Hadden.