NORTH East Worcestershire Ravens’ Midlands Rugby League South season began with a 64-18 defeat at home to a very experienced Telford Raiders team on Saturday.
Ravens had no less than five debutants in this match including three players – Josh Harrington, Jamie O’Donnell and Josh Liggett – who last season were playing in the under 16s, which is quite an achievement.
Ravens began with a strong first set and drove hard into the Raiders’ half. Following a knock-on, the subsequent scrum gave possession to Raiders who quickly found a way through some resolute Ravens defending to score the first try of the match, duly converted.
Raiders began to monopolise possession and scored further tries although Ravens again drove hard into the opposition territory which resulted in a handover in Raiders’ 20.
There then followed a fairly lengthy stoppage of play in order to attend to, what appeared to be, an accidental clash of heads between two Raiders players.
Just before half-time Jonnie Mills scored one of his trademark tries for Ravens from close range, converted by David Wimbury, who had a very good kicking game throughout.
After half-time Raiders continued to exert pressure, resulting in further tries, before Mills scored another try for Ravens, converted by Wimbury.
Just before full-time, Ravens youngster O’Donnell raced from the full-back position on to a loose ball which Raiders had allowed to roll into their in-goal area and scored a debut try, converted by Wimbury.
Ravens, who fielded so many new and relatively inexperienced players, really did show some great determination and the fitness levels of both squads was to be admired.
Ravens, who visit Sherwood Wolf Hunt on Saturday, hold mixed touch rugby sessions at Hopwood Park on Mondays at 7.30pm. Senior training takes place on Wednesdays at 7.30pm, with junior training on Sundays at 10.30am.