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Article written by Chris Wilson, photograph courtesy of Glenn Watts
GLOUCESTERSHIRE WARRIORS 24 – 20 NOTTINGHAM OUTLAWS
A try two minutes from time by Josh Williams saw the Warriors take the points in a tight contest at Oxstalls.
Last week, they could not hang on after coming back from a 14 point deficit against Leicester but this time they made no mistake finishing the stronger despite suffering some injuries on the way.
Prop Dele Ayodele left the action after just two minutes and halfbacks Billy Ryan and Liam Rice-Wilson were also in the wars as the Warriors gutsed it out with their more experienced rivals.
The Outlaws were under pressure for long periods of the first half but despite playing some exciting attacking rugby the Warriors could not find a way through when close to the line.
The game was too error-strewn to be a classic but was entertaining nonetheless even though the first score did not arrive until the 24th minute when Will Ephraim forced his way over for the visitors, Dan Smith adding the goal.
It was soon 10-0 as the Warriors made an error from the restart and the Outlaws’ last tackle kick was fumbled twice in the in-goal before Adrian Chaima just got the ball down just before it went dead.
The Outlaws were on the attack again when Ashley Kocerhan juggled but held an interception before racing 80 metres to the line for a try converted by Rice-Wilson but the ten-point margin was restored when Adam Simm backed up George Strachan’s surging break to score, Smith adding the goal for a 16-6 interval lead.
The lead was cut to six points just two minutes into the second half, Nathan Rainer running an excellent line to score but the game then returned to the pattern of the first half with both teams battering each other and making errors.
A key turning point came on 66 minutes with the score at 16-10 when Outlaws fullback Sam Campbell was chased 70 metres downfield before being tackled by Kocerhan who then managed to force an error from the play the ball, saving a certain try.
The Warriors then stormed upfield with the help of a penalty and good hands out wide saw Scott Claridge sneak in at the corner for an unconverted try.
Four minutes later, they were ahead after a scrum award in good field position, Harry Kidd and then Claridge were stopped short before Luke Stephens drove over from acting halfback.
Claridge added the goal and the Warriors led 20-16 but they couldn’t hang on to it as Kocerhan strayed too close to the touchline and was bundled over it. Straight from the scrum, the Outlaws went wide and James Goodwin raced away to score, leaving Ryan stricken on the ground.
Smith missed the goal but play was held up while Ryan was treated for a neck injury and as the emergency services were summoned, play was moved to an adjoining pitch for the final four minutes of play.
It was almost like a period of sudden death extra time with teams locked at 20-20. The Outlaws had first use of the ball but their set ended in a kick fielded by Kocerhan who returned the ball with interest and, with the Outlaws expecting a drop goal on the last tackle, the Warriors spread the ball wide, Matt Coldray finding Williams who squeezed over out wide for the winning score.
Warriors coach Richard Jones said: “After last weekend’s result I wanted to see a response from the lads.
“There was a lot of energy in the changing room and this reflected on the pitch, I got the start I wanted. It was an 80 minute arm wrestle this week, we had a couple of early injuries but fortunately we came out on top.”
WARRIORS: Matt Coldrey; Ashley Kocerhan, Dale Cooper, Josh Williams, Scott Claridge; Liam Rice-Wilson, Billy Ryan; Nathan Rainer, Luke Stephens, Dele Ayodele; Ryan Solomon, Connor Jones (Capt.); Doug Simpson. INTERCHANGE: Chris Faulkner, Jake Thompson, Harry Kidd, Brad Kislingbury.
Scorers: Tries; Ashley Kocerhan (34), Nathan Rainer (41), Scott Claridge (68), Luke Stephens (72), Josh Williams (78).
Goals; Liam Rice-Wilson 1 from 2, Scott Claridge 1 from 3.
OUTLAWS: Sam Campbell; Alexander Betts, Adam Simm, James Goodwin, Adrian Chaima; Daniel Smith, Alex Whittle (Capt.); Jon Christie, Adam Cunliffe, Oliver McCarthy; Oliver Dale, Coryn Ward; George Strachan. INTERCHANGE: Will Ephraim, Joseph Goulty, Alex Wright, Chris Prime.
Scorers: Tries; Will Ephraim (24), Adrian Chaima (27), Adam Simm (38), James Goodwin (75)
Goals; Dan Smith 2 from 5.
Referee: James Jones (Wales RLRS)
Ultimate Warrior: Ashley Kocerhan
Conference League South Results – Round 4
Coventry Bears A 62-18 Leicester Storm
Gloucestershire Warriors 24-20 Nottingham Outlaws
Oxford Cavaliers 36-28 The Raiders
Valley Cougars 16-14 Sheffield Hallam Eagles
Conference League South League Table
|Coventry Bears A||4||3||0||1||202||52||+150||6|
|Sheffield Hallam Eagles||4||3||0||1||120||66||+54||6|
Results, fixtures, tables and stats are available on the Conference League South website: http://www.conferenceleaguesouth.co.uk/