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Market Drayton Ravens upbeat after narrow defeat to leaders

After a great win last week over Clee Hill who are third in the league Market Drayton Ravens travelled to Harborne in Birmingham to play against the league leaders. The game didn't kick off on time as an accident on the M6 delayed the Ravens by an hour and a half with the coach, and two players not arriving until 10 minutes into the game. Despite this and The Ravens only able to take a squad of 17, due to unavailabilities and injuries, they started the game brightly and put the home side under pressure. From this early pressure Terita Tuickobia, Dan to the rest of us, crashed through the Harborne defence to score his first try of the season. Alex Gammon converted. 7-0 and ten minutes played. Harborne stepped up a gear but the visitors defence held them at bay and from a turnover the Ravens were awarded a penalty which Gammon duly converted. 10-0 and twenty minutes gone. Harborne are top of the league for a reason and from a dominant scrum the No8 picks up and feeds the scrum half who darts through a rare gap in the Ravens defence to feed a supporting back who just gets over in the corner. Conversion is missed and the score is 10-5 to the visitors. Again the home side put immense pressure on the Ravens scrum and drive them backwards eventually picking up and driving over the line again near the corner for a try. 30 minutes plated and the score is 10-10. Half time.

Market Drayton Ravens
Market Drayton Ravens

The late arriving George Minshall comes on and Luke Walters moves to scrum half as the second half gets underway. Harborne desperate to get back into the game but solid defence from the Ravens keeps them out and the defensive pressure leads to mistakes from the homeside. Most of the play is now in the Harborne half and they try and relieve the pressure with kicks but the kicks are returned and from a good kick chase the Harborne full back is penalised for holding on and from the resulting penalty Gammon puts the visitors ahead 13-10. With half of the second half done the Ravens open side flanker, Dan, makes a break and from the tackle the Harborne backs give away another penalty for hands in the ruck and Gammon converts to make the score 16-10. Dovi Soqosoqo arrives at the pitch after an horrendous journey and replaces Robert Lumley in the back row. Harborne are getting desperate but their dominant scrum gives them hope and with 5 minutes left they secure a penalty and opt to kick for the corner for a line out. What follows shows the progress The Ravens have made in the last month as Harborne batterered the Ravens line for phase after phase without being able to cross the line. The referee awarding the home side a series of penalties at the breakdown and several pick and go drives were repelled by the Ravens as at least 5 minutes after the referee had called last play the defence held out. Finally, with both sets of players out on their feet the referee awarded Harborne another penalty in front of the posts. Harborne elected to take a scrum. The wettest part of the pitch and with a dominant scrum the signs were ominous for the visitors and as they drove forward the scrum went down and the referee decided that the Ravens had collapsed and awarded a penalty try. At the death the Ravens were denied a victory which their awesome defence deserved.17-16 to the homeside but a losing bonus point for the Ravens. Although disappointed with the result coach George Armstrong praised his players as a whole and saw the performance as their best of the season so far. Next week they play Cleobury Mortimer away hoping to continue the upturn in performance and come away with a positive result.

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