Forest, Panthers, Outlaws – How Are Nottinghamshire’s Finest Sports Team Doing This Season?

View from the stands of the City Ground at a Nottingham Forest match
Rhys Thomas

From football to ice hockey, Nottingham has an array of major sports teams competing every week as they fight for glory in England’s never-ending sporting divisions. Having introduced the rich array of Notts sports teams in our Freshers’ Print edition, Rhys Thomas returns to see how the sides are getting on this season. 

As well-known and successful as they are, there is probably no better place to start than at the City Ground, home of Notts’ Premier League football club Nottingham Forest. Having enjoyed promotion from the Championship at the end of last season, Steve Cooper’s side have experienced a rollercoaster ride at the peak of the football period this campaign.  

The Reds had a tricky start to the season, and early on they were confined to the relegation zone. However, an upturn in form as their army of new signings has seen Forest climb well out of the Premier League basement and currently 13th, possessing a reassuring four-point cushion to the bottom three.  

The Reds also enjoyed a fantastic run to the League Cup semi-finals, but the tie against Manchester United proved a step too far

Their form at home in West Bridgford has been excellent, unbeaten at the City Ground in the league since September; that run including a 1-0 win over old foes and Champions League runners-up, Liverpool. The Reds also enjoyed a fantastic run to the League Cup semi-finals, but the tie against Manchester United proved a step too far.  

Having worked so hard to get themselves into a promising position, Forest will be desperate to maintain Premier League status so that they can build on this season and try to emulate the recent success stories of Brighton, Brentford, and Fulham. 

Nottingham Forest Women currently top the table in the women’s National League North with five wins from their last five. Promotion to the Championship would be a huge step for top level women’s football in Nottingham, and with a three-point advantage over second-placed Wolves it’s looking very possible!  

Sliding down the men’s divisions, Nottinghamshire’s Mansfield Town enter February in the final play-off spot in League Two, currently clinging onto 7th place as team below are ready to pounce on any further faltering form. There is no FA Cup distraction for The Stags, having lost out in the second round to Sheffield Wednesday.  

Town have been stuck in the fourth tier since returning to the football league in 2013, a streak they came agonisingly close to ending in 2022 as they suffered play-off final heartbreak at the hands of Port Vale. May 2023 will mark twenty years since they last competed in League One. 

It’s crucial County hold off the Welsh side to avoid any further play-off disappointment

One division lower, in the National League, Notts County lead the pack ahead of Hollywood darlings Wrexham, having played two games more. It’s shaping up to be a straight fight for the title between the two, and with only one automatic promotion spot available it’s crucial County hold off the Welsh side to avoid any further play-off disappointment. 

The Magpies successfully kept hold of National League top scorer Macauley Langstaff in the January window, and with a strong Meadow Lane crowd behind them there is every chance that this is the year the sport’s oldest professional club returns to the Football League. 

Switching sports, Beeston Hockey Club’s men’s and women’s teams both sit midtable in their respective divisions. Both sides compete at the apex of England Hockey’s league structure, and have competed against University of Nottingham teams on numerous occasions this season. The men’s first team are languishing in seventh place, with 11 points from as many games. Beeston women’s first team are having a better time of it, placing nicely in fifth place with 18 points after the Christmas break. 

The Panthers have only amassed 31 points from 36 games

On the ice, Nottingham Panthers are having a more troubling season in England Elite Ice Hockey League, struggling to seventh place, five points above the bottom two places. The Panthers have only amassed 31 points from 36 games. Having finished fourth last season, the side have ground to make up if they are to reverse their apparent decline. They have at least qualified for the next stages of the cup. 

Another struggling Nottingham club is the region’s premier rugby side. Nottingham have slumped to ninth in this year’s Championship season. Though they are in no real danger of relegation (bottom side London Scottish are 14 points behind Notts), it has been a disappointing campaign thus far.  

Perhaps some more positive results will be found with clubs still waiting to start their seasons in 2023. Nottingham Caesars, one of the oldest UK American Football clubs, begin their 2023 outings in April, when they will host Sheffield at the familiar venue of David Ross!  

Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club will look to make the most of their return to Division One of the County Championship, beginning the 2023 season in April at the Ageas Bowl against Hampshire. Also, to come in domestic men and women’s cricket in Nottingham this summer: the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the One-Day Cup, T20 Blast, and The Hundred. 

All in all, it has been an up and down season for Nottingham’s sporting sides. At least it doesn’t look like any of them will be getting relegated (I promise I’m not trying to jinx Forest). 

Rhys Thomas

Featured image courtesy of Dom Allin. Permission given to Impact to use. No changes were made to this image. 

 In article image 1 courtesy of @nffcwomen via Instagram. No changes were made to this image.

In article image 2 courtesy of @officialbeehc via Instagram. No changes were made to this image.

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