An under-strength Ravens side went down 29-14 to a powerful Veseyans on Saturday in their latest Counties 2 Midlands West (North) clash.
With key playersAlex Gammon, Ryan and Josh Horton, Dewi Griffiths and Dave Adams missing it was always going to be a testing afternoon for the hosts and so it proved as the visiting side established a 15-0 half-time lead.
The second half didn’t start any better for Ravens as two more converted tries extended Veseyans’ lead to 29-0.
But to their credit, the home side refused to throw the towel in and finished the game on the front foot.
However despite this we were confident of giving a good performance with replacements Michael Baikeitoga, Waga Kaliveti, Jim Barratt and Tom Cockayne hoping to make an impression. The game started with Veseyans carrying hard with some very big forwards to the fore. We half them at bay for 11 minutes with some determined defence but from a scrum the visitors were awarded a penalty and they took it quickly and exposed a gap in the back line defence to score close to the posts which they converted. 7-0. We were holding the visitors with determined defence but on 20 minutes on our line out, we overthrew and it was snaffled by the visitors who quickly spread the ball wide and scored in the corner. 12-0. Again we keep them at bay but our ball possession is limited by some aggressive defence from the visitors who stop our forward momentum. With half time upon us again our weakness is exposed as we give away yet another penalty for a dubious high tackle and they opt to kick for goal.
Half time 15-0. At this point we felt lucky to get zero but knew we were still in the game. We were trying to exert some pressure on the visitors whose defence remained resolute and as we tried to run the ball from our own 22 a misplaced pass went to ground and the visitors winger kicked ahead and won the race for the touchdown in the corner and the kick is converted and we are 22-0 down. We look to be dead and buried and from a catch and drive at a line out they peel off the back and score again near the posts and go 29-0 ahead.
A trait that we have however is to never give up and we start to achieve some go forward with the ball.
An attacking scrum with a pick and go lead to a series of rucks and ended with Michael Baikeitoga showing some neat footwork to go over under the posts. George Minshall added the conversion. Some quick thinking from Waga Kalivati then saw him added a second try with Minshall again adding the extras to make it 29-14.
Elsewhere in Counties Two Midlands West (North), Bridgnorth II edged out Newport II 30-26 in the battle of the Shropshire second teams to go top of the table.
Samuel Sergeant, Max Beeching, Jake Lucas and Connor Vernon crossed for Newport.
Clee Hill drew 31-31 with Burntwood and Cleobury Mortimer defeated Aldridge 40-12.