Today Nottingham’s Outlaws American Football team took on Trent’s Renegades in the first match of the Varsity Series. The passion and drive of both teams was clear and made for a thrilling match that was not at all reflected in the final 8-0 result to the Renegades. The Outlaws showed their skill in stopping the run well and had great pass coverage, though their vulnerabilities were exposed by giving away too many penalties and their inability at stopping outside runs. The Renegades ultimately came out on touch largely thanks to their ability to more effectively capitalize on their opposition’s mistakes.

The match began with a steady start from the Nottingham Outlaws and it looked as if, once their offence started to push through, they could be in for a productive afternoon. None were doubting the Outlaws were under pressure after last year’s loss they began with a great sack from the Outlaws’ middle-line backer and lead defensive player, No. 25 James Beaumont, who went on to prove to the crowd at Harvey Hadden why he’s earned his four caps for Great Britain. Ultimately, the Outlaws’ offence failed to capitalise on moments when it seemed the Renegade defense would be waning.

The only touchdown of the match occurred in the second quarter when an enormous punt from the Renegades left the Outlaws in their own one yard line, negating their defence’s good efforts so far. In an attempt to regain ground the Outlaws attempted their own punt, however the windy conditions ensured this ultimately led to nothing. This left Trent just ten yards from a touchdown with four attempts to gain ground. Although Outlaw defence held them back twice , on the fourth attempt the Renegades managed to score a touchdown. This was followed up with a play action pass allowing Trent to score a wide-open 2 punt conversion putting the first and only scores on the board.

The third quarter marked the beginning of a long slog for the both defences who fought well throughout a tiring second half. The Outlaws’ No. 22 Declan Foley made some notable plays such as a blocked pass on the scrimmage line and picking up a bad snap that was fumbled by a Renegade punter. Their offence were less prominent, with little opportunity for play, and notably gained more ground due to penalties given by their opposition than by their own plays. Overall the game was well played with both sides’ defences causing a general stalemate. The adverse weather conditions played in Trent’s favour and allowed them to make some speedy gains, although both team’s offences were incapable of really capitalising on their opportunities.

After their defeat the Outlaws were clearly disappointed and Line-back captain Chris Freeman articulated this when he told us “we put all their hearts in it” but that ultimately “luck wasn’t with us”. Indeed the Outlaws’ faces showed their dejection for all to see and it was obvious how much winning this match would have meant to them. Varsity is definitely an important match for both teams, especially as they were so recently fellow team mates. Although we can reveal the split has caused a bit of “bad blood” between the teams there was no real hint of this from the stands and the game was largely without incident. Indeed the enmity between the two universities was wholly publicized in the stands and with the Nottingham Knights notably absent from the actual game, only turning up to do their half time performance, the Outlaw supporters could have done with a little bit more encouraging to let them counter the Trent taunts.

So what for the Outlaws now? Quarter-back and President Henri Dillinger unsurprisingly said their main focus in the future would be “for the offence to punch it into the red zone and get touch downs from short yard field positions” but showed that they haven’t lost their confidence by adding that if they had done that today they “could have easily won”.

The Outlaws will always have another year to try and set the record straight, though for some of those who lost today it is a shame they don’t have another year left to try. And though Nottingham University are now left trailing to Trent nine fixtures remain for them to turn around the Varsity scoreline. And with Ice Hockey around the corner Uni won’t have to wait long for the chance.

Sam Wilkinson and Ruth Edwards

Thanks also to Richard Grundy

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  1. Lucie
    February 7, 2011 at 00:16 — Reply

    I would just like to say that I think the representation of the Knights is rather unfair. As a squad we try really hard to be supportive of all of the University teams, especially around Varsity. Whilst we were not as active a presence as Trent in the beginning we were still shouting, cheering and we were sat at the very front supporting the Outlaws. Unfortunately after half time, some of the squad needed to leave as we have a competition in two weeks, a factor the University often knows little about it, and it was our normal training time. Otherwise the entire squad would have stayed and supported throughout, this was just an unfortunate coincidence.

    The half time routine as well was learnt in only four practises, and a lot of effort was put into it not just by our captain but by the girls as well, and I think a lot of them would be disappointed to see such dismissive comments.

    This is the second time in two weeks I have read an article from Impact that is rather unsupportive of its University events/sports teams. Perhaps next time focus on the factor that we too braved the ‘adverse weather conditions’, and got our crowd going for the next quarter, all in name of supporting the boys.

    • Ruth Edwards
      February 7, 2011 at 14:07 — Reply

      In response to Lucie:

      I respect that you have commented here to make sure the Knights are not portrayed in a bad light, which was definitely not my intention. I was merely reporting a general sentiment felt by the crowd, who were also in the ‘adverse weather conditions’ and could definitely have done with more rousing to keep up their spirits and support for their team. One of our reporters did comment in the live update the reason why the Knight’s did not perform all match long and there was a rave review of the half-time performance. There was no blame behind my comment, merely observation.

  2. Rory
    February 7, 2011 at 11:10 — Reply

    A thrilling encounter??? Were you guys watching the same game?

    Then: “The Renegades ultimately came out on touch largely thanks to their ability to more effectively capitalize on their opposition’s mistakes.” They only capitalized on our woeful punt from our own 5 that was driven back by the wind, leaving them in great field position! Other than that we were the less mistaken ridden team. We just didn’t capitalize on the gifts that Trent gave us through all the penalties they incurred that seem to be unmentioned in the report…

    Another unmentioned aspect of the game is the pure solidity of both Ds especially Uni’s who time after time shut the gate on the Renegades. The thing that let Uni down was our offences inability to perform and make drives under pressure. Saying that the Renegades didn’t complete a pass! (also unmentioned in the report)

    Sorry for all this however thought the article needed a little substance

    Also I support Lucie, as the Knights did a great show at half time to entertain the crowd and that’s what they were meant to do! If they had stuck around for the full game you would be complaining that they were in the way and you weren’t able to focus on the game. Are Impact ever happy?

  3. chris
    February 8, 2011 at 01:15 — Reply

    “for the offence to punch it into the red zone and get touch downs from short yard field positions” but showed that they haven’t lost their confidence by adding that if they had done that today they “could have easily won”.

    this guy is a genius

  4. Lay
    February 8, 2011 at 12:26 — Reply

    “The Outlaws’ No. 22 Declan Foley made some notable plays such as a blocked pass on the scrimmage line and picking up a bad snap that was fumbled by a Renegade punter.”

    Great ball security their declan.

  5. Dave Heads
    February 8, 2011 at 12:31 — Reply

    I would just like to say that before the game I met with the Presidents of the Knights and the Trent cheerleaders and it was agreed to each put on a half time routine. On the day Trent turned up with 2 squads – one of which was brought along to stand in the freezing cold in tracksuits and chant throughout. Our cheerleaders couldnt have been expected to stand out there for the duration in next to nothing with no practice. Point of information – there are 9 more sports but 13 more fixtures.

  6. rob s
    February 11, 2011 at 17:41 — Reply

    I thought the article was well written and the only point that was wrong was that trent in fact gave most of the penalties away. It was a close game between 2 very good defences and the difference was trent’s ability to score when at the uni goalline.

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