OUTLAWS HOLD OFF BRAVE BUFFALOES FIGHTBACK
Nottingham Outlaws 30 (14) v Bramley Buffaloes 22 (4)
Despite a brave second half fight-back, Nottingham Outlaws inflicted a first defeat of the season on the Bramley Buffaloes when they beat them 30-22 at the Bay Ground, Nottingham on Saturday.
The Outlaws made a number of changes following their defeat the previous week, whilst Bramley welcomed back and lost some players as a result of holidays. John Elliker and Paul Drake returned to the starting line-up whilst Aidey Manley, Craig Green and Richard Leese were on the bench.
Despite the late arrival of the Buffaloes coach the game kicked off on time. Both teams played out their opening sets and it was Nottingham who were first to strike on 5 minutes. Bramley were penalised for holding down on the 5th tackle, the penalty took the Outlaws to within 10m of the line straightforward passing along the line allowed winger Will Thomas an easy try in the corner, there was no conversion from Brown. Nick Fontaine had a good weaving run on 8 minutes as the Buffaloes looked to respond immediately. Graham Harrison made a typical dash from dummy half an earned a penalty for offside, however although the Buffaloes moved the ball wide immediately they lost possession on the second tackle and the pressure was released. Nottingham applied pressure, aided in no small manner by a series of Buffaloes handling errors and penalties. Bramley repelled the attacks and Simon Speight made 2 excellent drives as he took the game to the Outlaws. Little was seen of the Buffaloes as an attacking force as they failed to complete their sets of six and more importantly, failed to test the Outlaws defence. Dan Caston limped off with a leg injury and took no further part in the game. The pressure finally told when Pritchard crossed for the Outlaws second try on 24 minutes after Bramley had defended consecutive sets on their own line, although there was more than a suspicion of a knock-on in the lead up to the try. Danny O’Connor was sin-binned on 27 minutes for a high tackle. Speight was held up over the line on 31 minutes in the Buffaloes first real attack, however just before O’Connor’s return Simon Perry scored the Outlaws third try. The Buffaloes looked to have weathered the storm, before a clear case of ‘crossing’ by the Outlaws went unpunished and Perry capitalised and scored, Brown converted. Danny O’Connor’s first touch on his return to play was to put Nick Fontaine over in the corner for a much needed score on 38 minutes. Half-time came with the Outlaws ahead 14-4.
Buffaloes had played very poorly by their standards in the first half and coach Mark Butterill gave a very animated half-time team talk to his players in an effort to up their game.
Despite Mark Butterill’s best efforts Bramley turned the ball over immediately upon the re-start. In that was not bad enough, the referee who had a shocker, then sent Richard Leese to the sin-bin on 43 minutes for allegedly holding a tackler down. This looked for all the world a nailed on Bramley penalty as 2 Outlaws players were all over Richard as they made the tackle. With the extra man Nottingham opened up the Buffaloes out wide and George Strachan crossed to score by the posts, Brown converted. At 20-4 the Buffaloes plight became a whole lot worse when second row forward John Elliker was shown a straight red for a stiff arm tackle on 50 minutes. At this point the game was in danger of boiling over as the referee lost control and tackles were flying in. However to their great credit the Buffaloes rallied themselves and began to exert some pressure on the Outlaws. Paul Drake forced a drop-out before he then put Chris Gardner through a huge hole and Chris went in from 10m for a very deserved try. Drake converted. Nottingham hit straight back when Radford crossed in the corner on 58 minutes, 24-10. For the next 20 minutes Bramley found some form and played like league leaders. They stopped Nottingham making easy metres, forced some mistakes and completed their sets. This resulted in a great Jim Shuttleworth try on 64 minutes and then some spectacular handling by both forwards and backs saw Drakey cross and convert his own try on 69 minutes. At 24-22 the game was in the balance. Again Bramley attacked and only desperate tackling kept them out. On 77 minutes another drop-out was forced, however a clever kick saw the ball hang in the air and ‘G-Man’ agonisingly juggled with the ball before being flattened in the tackle. The Outlaws then swept down the other end of the pitch and Simon Perry sealed the points with a try by the posts.
Buffaloes coach Mark Butterill was very disappointed with his teams performance as he said that they had not done what they had talked about or practiced in training. A woeful first half display was followed by a more cohesive and determined second half effort. However playing a game when you are effectively a man down for 50 minutes due to sin bins and sendings off is always going to be a big ask. Clearly discipline is now becoming an issue with a spate of players missing large parts of games. That said the Buffaloes ran Nottingham close with a spirited effort, they never threw the towel in and did have the Outlaws rattled in the final 20 minutes.
Game star: George Strachan for the Outlaws was strong in defence and determined in attack, a fine display.
Game breaker: The Buffaloes were on top on 77 minutes but just couldn’t retain the drop-out; another set of 6 tackles on the Outlaws line may have resulted in a match winning try. Instead the Outlaws re-gathered and scored themselves.
Nottingham Outlaws: 1. Tom Tsang, 2. Roy Yorke, 3. Myles Rutherford, 4. Ben Radford, 5. Will Thomas, 6. Paul Calland, 7. James Lewis, 8. Adam Millward, 9. Rob Brown, 10. Simon Perry, 11. George Strachan, 12. Aiden Pritchard, 13. Simon Morton. Subs (all used), 14. Rory McQueen, 15. Jez Cox, 16. Bryan Waldram, 17. Ian Keevil.
Tries: Thomas (5), Pritchard (24), Perry (35 & 78), Strachan (44), Radford (58),
Goals: Brown 2/4, Lewis 1/2
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Andy McGann, 2. Nick Fontaine, 3. Matthew Booth, 4. Dan Caston, 5. Shaun Flynn, 6. Paul Drake, 7. Jon Nicholls, 8. Chris Gardner, 9. Graham Harrison, 10. Alex White, 11. Simon Speight, 12. John Elliker, 13. Danny O’Connor. Subs (all used). 14. Craig Green, 15. Aidy Manley, 16. Jim Shuttleworth, 17. Richard Leese
Tries: Fontaine (38), Gardner (55), Shuttleworth (64), Drake (69)
Goals: Drake 3/4,
Sin-Binned: O’Connor (Buffaloes) 27 mins – High Tackle
Leese (Buffaloes) 43 mins – Holding down in the tackle
Dismissed: Elliker (Buffaloes) 50 mins – High tackle
Final score: 30-22
Man of the Match:
Nottingham Outlaws: George Stachan
Bramley Buffaloes: Chris Gardner
Next game: Sunday 12 July 2009
Opponents: Liverpool Buccaneers
Kick-off: 2.30 pm