DEPLETED North East Worcestershire Ravens were beaten 56-22 by visitors Leamington Royals in Midlands Rugby League South on Saturday.
Ravens struggled with a makeshift back line with three players making their debut.
Ravens held the Royals in the centre of the park in the early exchanges but eventually the visitors exploited the weakened back line, scoring four converted tries.
In the 29th minute Ravens managed to burst through the Royals line with vice-captain Liam Dunne scoring their first try, but the conversion was just off target.
Royals bounced back with two tries but Ravens’ loose forward Mark Austin scored after weaving his way to the try line.
The try was converted by David Wimbury, leaving Ravens 30-10 down at the break.
After the interval, Ravens continued to make unforced errors, allowing Royals to take possession of the ball and score three more tries to extend their lead.
Ravens player-coach Rich Whitehouse stopped the rot and scored after breaking the Royals’ line and Wimbury again found the mark with the conversion.
Royals ran in a further two tries before Ravens added a consolation with a spectacular try from Scott Pocock who also converted.
Jason Spafford, Ravens’ director of rugby, said: “Leamington are a very good side and we didn’t give them the best game we could.
“Things just went wrong for us and we will look at why that happened and how we put those things right.
“The team worked hard but, despite the quality of the Royals, we made many simple mistakes.”
Ravens return to action on Saturday (2.30pm) in a crunch clash against new side South Birmingham Hawks at Hopwood Park.