HOSTS Nottingham Outlaws staged a late fightback to sentence valiant North East Worcestershire Ravens to a 26-22 Midlands South defeat on Saturday.
Ravens were delighted to visit Outlaws’ new ground – the first of its kind in the Midlands as it is fully owned by a rugby league club.
However, the visitors arrived once again struggling for players – having just the bare 13 players against a 19-man Nottingham squad. Unperturbed though, Ravens felt this could still be a closely-fought game.
Outlaws started strongly with the first try but Ravens were not going to allow a repeat of the previous weekend and dominated the play over the next ten minutes, resulting in a try from Jon Doughty easily converted by David Wimbury.
The visitors struck again when Zac Speed went over and Wimbury again did the honours and it got even better when 16-year-old Joshua Liggett – in his first season of senior rugby – took a sharp pass from centre Lee Knight to score in the corner.
However, Outlaws had the final say of the first half with another try and it was 16-12 to the visitors at the break.
Ravens’ lead was extended to ten points early in the second period when Speed struck again, converted by Wimbury, but then fatigue gradually set in as the depleted visitors began to toil under the sun.
Outlaws were able to capitalise on some lapses in concentration and edge to a tense victory but there was much for Ravens to take from the fixture.
Ravens host Birmingham Bulldogs at Hopwood Park on Saturday (2.30pm), with juniors either training at home on Sunday or away to Telford Raiders. Training for seniors is every Wednesday at 7.30pm at Hopwood Park.