NORTH East Worcestershire Ravens’ new players continued to gain valuable experience against tough opposition as they went down 82-18 at Birmingham Bulldogs in the Midlands Premier Division on Saturday.
A game at the Bulldogs is never an easy task as Bulldogs are an experienced and highly-drilled side who always place highly in the Midlands Premier.
Ravens continue to build their squad and three players made their debuts and two played in their second game.
The first half saw Bulldogs demonstrate strong running and slick ball handling to run in a string of tries against a Ravens side still learning to work together.
When Ravens got hold of the ball they put together some great attacking play but missed three or four opportunities to score purely through lack of cohesion.
Eventually Will Greenwood made the breakthrough with a typical barnstorming run that led to a try just before half time, converted by David Wimbury.
The second half saw Ravens start to find the combinations of play that made life more difficult for Bulldogs as their defence tightened and attack gained a greater possession of the ball.
This led to tries from Jamie Thomas and debutant Dave Pearson, both converted by Wimbury.
Ravens were learning to play like a team in the toughest of arenas but never took a backwards step as improvements become obvious minute by minute.
Despite the improvements, Bulldogs still outscored Ravens by six tries to two in the second period and showed their intentions for the rest of the season.
Ravens have played two of the best teams in the league in their opening two fixtures and an 82-18 defeat could be damning if it was not for the youth and inexperience of the team.
Captain Dave Swaysland said: “We’re a young side with the majority of players only aged 18 or 19 and, if we keep learning against some of the top teams in the league, we will get our victories later in the season.”
Director of Rugby Jason Spafford said: “Our young players are showing amazing determination in a really tough league and we need more of them.
“We have union players, football players and complete novices playing for us this season, all we really need is athletic and brave young men who want really want to challenge themselves. We can teach them the rest.”
If you are interested in becoming part of the the Ravens squad, training is every Wednesday at 7.30pm at Hopwood Park.
Ravens host Derby City at Hopwood Park on Sunday (2.30pm).