11th April 2016, 05:59
Cougars beat All Golds but Raiders lose
Mixed fortunes for our clubs in CLS this weekend as Valley Cougars see off All Golds reserves but West Wales Raiders lose to champions Nottingham Outlaws.
ALL GOLDS CLS 28 – 36 VALLEY COUGARS By Chris Wilson
The All Golds struggled up the Gordon League slope to claw back a 22-18 half-time deficit after having built an 18-4 advantage in the first quarter of the game against last season’s Conference League South runners up, Valley Cougars.
Mike Hurley’s second try of the game eight minutes into the second half extended the Cougars’ lead to 14 points and ensured that the All Golds’ two late tries were merely consolation scores.
The All Golds had marked their first home game at their new Hempsted venue by taking advantage of a sluggish start from the Cougars to take a seventh minute lead.
It came out of nothing as hooker Jack Uren set off from dummy half and sped past the Cougars’ marker defence to round the full back and touch down under the posts.
The Cougars pulled a score back when Jamie Marsh finished a crossfield move in the corner but the All Golds took control with two tries in three minutes at the end of the first quarter.
James Walter was given a stroll-in when Chris True did well to offload in a tackle close to the line. Then Dieter Thomas twice stepped back inside to find a huge hole in the middle of the Cougars’ defence for a simple try.
With Liam Rice-Wilson converting all three tries, the All Golds led 18-4 and looked set for a good day at the office.
However, it was not to be. The Cougars got into their stride and their physicality helped them gain control of the match by the break.
The All Golds lost the ball early in their next set and Hurley stretched over from the field position they had been gifted. Ben Jones added the goal and before the half was over had added two more conversions to send the Cougars into the interval 22-18 ahead.
Scott Britton powered over from close range before Lee Goddard burrowed over in the corner in the final seven minutes of the half.
The Cougars seemed to have no difficulty scoring tries up the hill but the All Golds were not as proficient when it was their turn.
They struggled to gain field position and when they did poor options and solid Cougar defence meant they were kept scoreless.
Following Sam Hodge’s sinbinning for a professional foul, Ross Price went over straight from the resulting penalty.
Before Hodge returned, the Cougars had extended their lead. Exploiting the centre’s absence, they attacked where the All Golds were short and Hurley scored his second try of the day.
Dean Higgs dummied over for the Cougars’ seventh try after 56 minutes but there the visitors’ scoring stopped. The game began to get tetchy and the Cougars finished the match with 11 men after first Craig Lewis and then Kristian Baller were shown the yellow card for persistent offences.
Meanwhile, Hodge rose superbly to catch Archie Gibbs’ kick to the corner and touch down before Walter drove over for a try converted by Rice-Wilson but the All Golds could get no closer than that.
ALL GOLDS: Dieter Thomas; Lewis McKissick, Sam Hodge, Joe Festa, Chris Barlow; Archie Gibbs, Liam Rice-Wilson; Callum Bradbury, Jack Uren, James Walter; Chris True (Capt.), Connor Jones; Jack Binks; INTERCHANGE: Hanley Dawson, Connor Whittall, Kaine Dimech, Wijnand Wormhoudt.
Tries; Jack Uren (7), James Walter (18, 76), Dieter Thomas (21), Sam Hodge (72)
Goals; Liam Rice-Wilson 4 from 5
COUGARS: Ben Jones; Jamie Marsh, Liam Watton, Josh Smith, Yousif Suliman; Lee Goddard, Shane Lee; Scott Giles, Dean Higgs, Rhys Davies; Craig Lewis, Mike Hurley; Scott Britton (Capt.); INTERCHANGE: Liam Price, Ross Price, Kristian Baller, Dafydd Hellard.
Tries; Jamie Marsh (12), Mike Hurley (24, 48), Scott Britton (33), Lee Goddard (38), Ross Price (41), Dean Higgs (56)
Goals; Ben Jones 4 from 7
NOTTINGHAM OUTLAWS 42 WEST WALES RAIDERS 14
Courtesy of Nottingham Outlaws RLFC
Nottingham Outlaws continued their excellent start to the 2016 season with a hard-earned but ultimately dominant 42-14 victory over West Wales Raiders at Highfields on Saturday. Despite the final scoreline the Outlaws were made to work all the way by a powerful Raiders outfit before a blistering three try burst in six second half minutes saw them eventually pull away from their enthusiastic visitors.
After a two week gap in the fixture list there was always a danger that the Outlaws would go into the fixture a little rusty and so it was to prove in the opening stages.
Indeed any thoughts that the long journey might see the Raiders asleep at the wheel were soon dispelled as the Raiders broke through the Outlaws defensive line in the opening set and only a last ditch one on one tackle by fullback Adam Cunliffe stopped the visitors from taking the lead.
Despite a few early forays by the Outlaws most of the play in the opening quarter was focussed in and around the Outlaws twenty metre zone. Indeed as the Raiders grew in confidence it was only excellent scrambling defence by the Outlaws that saw them keep their line intact after despite severe Welsh pressure.
Having weathered the Welsh onslaught the Outlaws finally re-gathered their composure and a superb break by barnstorming centre Reece Needham saw the Bulwell enforcer crash through the Raiders defence on a foot race to the line. Despite being hauled down the ball moved back inside on the next play and big Joe Barton latched onto the ball for an unstoppable surge to the line that saw the Outlaws open their account as they nudged into a 4-0 lead somewhat against the run of play.
Having taken the lead many expected the Outlaws to put their foot on the gas and start to put some points on the board but the Raiders clearly had not read the script and they looked odds on to equalise but a superb tackle by Dale on the try line kept the Raiders from breaching the home defence.
With the Raiders continuing to press it seemed that the most likely next score would be a Welsh one but once again it was the Outlaws who scored somewhat against the run of play. The move started as evergreen play maker Paul Calland came off the bench to add some wizardry to the proceedings and with virtually his first touch he opened up a gap for Oliver Dale and some neat footwork and great strength in the tackle saw the second rower crash over for a second Outlaws try that Cunliffe converted to make it 10-0 to the Outlaws.
Despite the Outlaws being under the cosh for much of the opening half hour they had managed to build up lead and keep their own line intact. However their luck eventually ran out and the Raiders deservedly got on the scoreboard as a huge up and under had the Outlaws defence in disarray and a leaping catch Dafydd Phillips saw the big centre collect on the full and with the conversion a formality the Outlaws lead was cut to 10-6.
Once again the match was in the balance and once again it was the the ability of the Outlaws to score tries out of nothing that came to their rescue.
Twice in the closing ten minutes of the first stanza they cut loose and scored when there appeared to be little on. The first score came direct from a quick play the ball on the Raiders forty as stand off Will Martin threw an outrageous dummy from acting half before shooting through the split markers to score a magnificent solo effort. Then minutes later Oliver Dale showed he had speed to match his strength to score his second try of the afternoon with a magnificent solo effort. Cunliffe added the extras as the first half closed with the Outlaws in a commanding 20-6 lead.
The second stanza started pretty much in the same way as the first did with as the Raiders broke through on the very first play and once again it was full back Adam Cunliffe who saved a certain try with a magnificent one on one tackle but the enthusiastic hosts were not to be denied and on the 48th minute the Outlaws lead was reduced to 20-10 and once again it was the Raiders kicking game that did the damage. In almost a carbon-copy of the first Raiders try, big centre Dafydd Phillips latched onto another excellent crossfield bomb and the number four doubled his tally for the afternoon as the Outlaws lead was cut to 20-10.
Clearly the next score was going to prove vital and five minutes later the Raiders looked to have got it as yet another crossfield bomb caused yet more panic in the Outlaws in-goal area only for the resulting Raiders try to be chalked off for a knock-on when a Raiders score would really have had the alarm bells ringing!
Having played their get out of jail card the Outlaws re-gathered their composure and on the 60th minute they restored their winning margin when George Strachan latched onto a Calland reverse pass to score under the sticks.
At 26-10 the Outlaws had once more put some daylight between themselves and the visitors but the plucky Welsh outfit would not throw in the towel and the Outlaws lead was once again cut back as Tom Taylor scored an excellent try on the back of some fine handling in the Welsh threequarters that reduced the Outlaws lead to two scores at 26-14.
With 15 minutes to play the outcome was still uncertain but a devastating three try scoring burst in a blistering six minute spell saw the Outlaws finally overcome Welsh resistance!
The try scoring flurry started on the 66th minute when great handling down the Outlaws three quarter line saw the ball move through three pairs of hands before contre Needham drew his opposite man and sent Adrian Chaima in for his first try of the match. Two minutes later they repeated the move and this time Needham did not need his wing partner as he crashed over himself for his first of the game.
The try scoring blitz finished on the 71st minute when big Pat Crummay used his size and power down the left centre channel to carry three defenders over the line with him to take the Outlaws out to an unassailable 42-14 lead as Welsh resistance was finally vanquished.