In the build-up to their Varsity fixture against Trent. Nottingham Outlaw’s Philip Gaskin reports on their last match away to the Warwick Wolves before Sunday’s mouth-watering match.

Bright sunshine and a biting cold breeze were the backdrop for this late January fixture between the Nottingham Outlaws and the Warwick Wolves. With one eye on next weekend’s Varsity fixture against the NTU Renegades, the Outlaws could not afford to be complacent against a physical Wolves team hungry for an upset.

After winning the “coin toss” (most pointless iPhone app ever?) the Outlaws chose to defer and their kick-off team were sent on to start the match. After a 3 and out from the Wolves (which set a precedent for a game in which the Wolves managed only a handful of first downs) the Outlaws offence took over on their own 13 yard line. The Outlaws powered their way downfield, converting on 3rd and 4th down plays, to put together a 19-play drive, capped off with a rushing touchdown by FB Pete Kaminski (PAT kicked by Jamie Edwards). Thanks to a quick turnover from the Outlaws defence on a Wolves first down, the score quickly became 13-0. With their first play having got the ball back, a deep pass from QB Henri Dinger was caught short of the Wolves endzone and carried in by WR Ben Brenner. This TD, along with some key catches on 3rd down to keep the chains moving earned Brenner the offensive MVP award for the day.

The Outlaws D continued to dominate the line of scrimmage, forcing sacks, tackles for loss, and producing a total of 7 turnovers on the day (including interceptions from Ian Bulleid, Declan Foley, and two from Jordan Bradford; as well as forced fumbles from Chris Gnandi and James Beaumont, and recoveries for linebackers Andy Thomas and Taylan Tahir). Defensive MVP was awarded to Taylan Tahir for his exceptional play in a number of positions across the field, and for making big plays in stopping both passing and rushing attempts from the Wolves.

As the Wolves continued to struggle on offense, the Outlaws were given favourable field position to start a number of their drives. Richard “Still” Wilson also contributed to this with a confident display in the return game, earning him not only the ST MVP award for the day, but also the respect of the Wolves, who ended the game deliberately kicking away from him. The first half finished 21-0 thanks to a 3rd Outlaws touchdown from Andy Fine, who then ran in a 2-point conversion.

The second half was a good opportunity for the Outlaws to rotate their line-up and give some game experience to more players before their big fixture next weekend. The relative inexperience of the offence began to show, and the physical Warwick D began to make an impact, stopping plays for a loss or no gain on 3rd and short, and forcing the Outlaws to punt the ball away. The defensive dominance of the Outlaws continued, however, and with the Wolves unable to capitalise on the Outlaws faltering offence, a breakaway run from Pete Kaminski moved the score to 27-0.

The fourth quarter was an ill-disciplined one, as 3 back-to-back penalties on the Outlaws offensive line and running backs pushed them back to their own 1-yard line, from where they were forced to punt. Sensing their opportunity, the Wolves drove down to the Outlaws redzone, converting a nice catch and run that was stopped just short of the endzone. Their momentum was short-lived though, as Chris Gnandi’s forced fumble ended their drive immediately after, and with it the final minutes of the match petered out.

A convincing victory by the Outlaws is exactly what was needed in their build up to Varsity, and the team can now look forward to facing rivals the NTU Renegades at Harvey Hadden Stadium on February 6th in their push for post-season football.

Final Result: Warwick Wolves 0-27 Nottingham Outlaws

Philip Gaskin

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