NEW Ravens 12, Birmingham Bulldogs 70
NORTH East Worcestershire Ravens couldn’t have found tougher opposition for their opening game of Midlands Rugby League Premier as they were put to the sword by a strong Birmingham side.
Ravens, who were making their league debut at the new Hopwood base, fielded a 19 man squad for their opening fixture which included six debutants to the conference level.
The inexperience showed in the first half against an excellent and well-drilled Bulldogs team.
The hosts only had the ball four times in the first half so spent 90 percent as Birmingham raced into a 44-0 lead.
But Ravens improved after the break and they forced the visitors into errors and started to create chances.
Dave Wimbury dived over in the corner for a welcome Ravens try which he ably converted from the touchline. Minutes later with some Ravens pressure saw Kieran Woodhouse barge over for a try converted effort by Wimbury.
This 25 minute spell saw the Ravens on top, playing some good rugby.
Unfortunately the defensive effort of the first half had taken its toll and the Bulldogs came back against a tiring Ravens to score a couple of well worked tries.
Director of Rugby Jason Spafford was happy with the display but admitted his side will improve once the new-look outfit settles down.
He said: “We blooded a lot of new players today against a top flight team.
“It is going to take a few games together before we start really clicking but it is better to develop and make our mistakes against the stronger team as we don’t want to be slipping up against oppositions in our targeted games.
“This was a steep learning curve for us but for 25 minutes we played very well, we will try to improve on that next week and see if we can nick the win.”
Man of the match Kieran Woodhouse added “The game was hard but we have a good team here and if we keep progressing as a group, there are lots of teams in this league that we will beat this season.”
Ravens play Northampton Demons away on Saturday but junior training start at Hopwood Park at 10.30am on Sunday. All players are welcome to come and train with the under-16s, 14s, and 12s sides. For details go to www.newravenrl.co.uk or call 07957 248464.