Nottingham Outlaws travelled down the M40 looking to continue their good form against fellow play-off hopefuls Oxford Cavaliers. Despite the windy conditions the Outlaws managed to serve up a feast of attacking rugby, scoring twelve tries in the process as they scorched to a 56-4 victory over a hard working but ultimately out-gunned Cavaliers outfit. The Outlaws went into the game sporting a number of changes from the team that overturned league leaders Coventry at Highfields a fortnight ago with most of them occurring in the pack. In particular some of the big guns were missing as Will Ephraim, Pat Crummay and Sam Andrews all missed the game. The enforced changes opened the door for a number players to return to the fold as Paul Calland, Joe Goulty and Adam Simmall came back into the side whilst Dan Green made welcome return to the squad after completing his academic studies
Prior to the game the players and supporters observed a minutes silence in respect of Danny Jones, the former Keighley player who tragically lost his life playing Rugby League for the Championship 1 side last weekend. After the pre-match commemoration the action started with the Outlaws playing into the breeze and up the slope but any thoughts that the Cavaliers had of using their superior size advantage to get on top were quickly quashed by an Outlaws defence that swarmed all over the home side, stopping them in their tracks in the early exchanges. With the Outlaws defence on top it wasn't long before they began to ask some questions of the home teams tackling and they began to move the ball across the pitch with confidence. Indeed the Outlaws opened their account with their first attack of the game as Alex Whittle split the Oxford defence with a well-timed short pass that saw Chris Prime power home from 10 metres out, stumbling in the process before gaining his feet to score a typical prop forwards effort. Having registered the games opening score the Outlaws began to attack with confidence and within five minutes of the Prime try the lead was doubled when Sam Campbell swooped onto a superbly weighted Dan Smith chip overs the top to make it 8-0 to the Outlaws in as many minutes. Any thoughts of the Outlaws letting the home side back into the game were soon quashed as the tough tackling Outlaws pack never let the home attack get into their stride. Indeed it came as no surprise when the Outlaws lead was stretched further as once again the deft touch of Alex Whittle put Coryn Ward through the smallest of gaps and the twinkle-toed second rower wrong footed the full back to make it 12-0 which soon stretched to 14 as Smith converted from bang in front.
With the Outlaws scoring at a point a minute the home crowd and indeed their players had been well and truly rocked by the pace at which the Outlaws had started but there was no respite in store as Jimmy Goodwin finished off a superb line break by offloading in the tack to the supporting Adam Simm and the young centre waste no time in extending the score to 20-0. Having played virtually fault-free rugby for the opening quarter the Outlaws finally made a mistake and a lost ball in the tackle on the restart saw the Cavaliers finally get some possession and field position in the Outlaws twenty metre zone and at last they gave the home supporters something to shout about with a try by Jameson to cut the Outlaws lead to 4-20. Encouraged by the score the Cavaliers began to play their best rugby of the match putting the Outlaws line under concerted presssure and they looked like they were in again two minutes later only for the referee to disallow the score for an obstruction at the play the ball. Having weathered the Oxford storm the Outlaws hit back with clinical efficiency as the elusive Alex Whittle once again cut through the Oxford line with a show and go before setting Sam Campbell on a dash for the line. With the line beckoning Campbell released his opposite winger Adrian Chaima who darted in at the corner to make it 24-4 to the Outlaws as the referee drew the first stanza to a close with the Outlaws completely in command.
The half-time team talk by the coaching staff was pretty simple in reality, the message being that more of the same would result in more points and that was exactly how the second half was to transpire. The second stanza started pretty much how the first half ended with the Outlaws on the attack only now they had the wind and slope in their favour. After weathering an early Cavaliers attack which saw them defend get back to back sets in the Outlaws twentty they cut loose again as a superb Whittle 40-20 gave the Outlaws head and feed in the Oxford red zone and a superb angled run saw centre Jimmy Goodwin score straight from the scrum despite the attention of his opposite number and the home full back too! When smith added the extras from out wide the Outlaws had weathered the best that the Cavaliers could offer and yet extended their lead to 30-4 in the process, effectively putting the game to bed. Despite the home side starting to lose players with a series of injuries there was no sign of the Outlaws taking their foot off the gas, indeed if anything they stepped up the pace as great break by Alex Wright saw him offload to the supporting Cunliffe who scampered over the line and then a quick-fire brace by the irrepressible Sam Cambell saw the blockbusting winger complete a memorable hat-trick to round off a great afternoons work at the office for the free scoring winger as the lead stretched out to 44-4
To their credit the Cavaliers refused to throw in the towel and they had one last go at the Outlaws line, twice being held up over the line in back to back sets but it was to no avail as the Scrooge like Outlaws defence refused to budge an inch despite the game being effectively over. Having again weathered the Cavaliers mini-resurgence the clinical Outlaws attack went back on the hunt for more try's and as the clock wound down the travelling supporters were treated to a second Goodwin try straight from the scrum whilst John Christie opened his account for the afternoon with a superb solo effort from 30 metres out. The assured boot of Paul Calland was on hand to convert both efforts and the referee decided that was that, blowing for the end of the match with the Outlaws holding a commanding 56-4 winning margin for their efforts.