NORTH East Worcestershire Ravens started the season with an encouraging display against last year’s grand final league winners Telford Raiders.

Ravens started with just 12 players due to late work commitments meaning they were missing several key players.

However, even being one player down didn’t stop them from being the first to score with a try from debutant Chris Sharpe.

Telford took a while to hit back but once they did they got two.

Now up to 13 players, winger Tom Jones, in his second season for the club, was too quick down the wing and made a dive for the line with a brilliant corner try converted by David Wimbury. Telford answered back to lead 18-10 at the break as Ravens lost newcomer Jake Field to a knee injury.

Worcestershire started the second half as they had the first and were again the first to score with a brilliant break from debutant Brandon Sayce who passed to captain Liam Dunne to score under the posts for an easy conversion by David Wimbury.

Ravens were feeling high but in a tackle to try and stop the Raiders next try Chris Sharpe got injured in the ribs and the decision was made for him to not play on with any risk of further damage and Ravens were down to 11.

Raiders, now with two extra men on the pitch, made use of the gaps and the tiredness of the Ravens to get three quick tries to win 54-16.

Ravens will now head to Leamington Royals this Saturday.

Director of rugby Jason Spafford said: "I’m proud of the lads today, the first game is always hard especially when numbers are effected to tours etc but they all went out and worked well together and played some brilliant rugby. I want to say a massive thank you and well done to our five debutants who played brilliantly and have fitted in to the squad easily.

"We look on to next week and keep our heads held high after a tough game against champions and still tested them with less players. A lot of positives can be taken away.”

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