JONNIE MILLS marked his debut with a hat-trick of tries before North East Worcestershire Ravens ran out of steam and lost 72-34 to visitors Derby City on Saturday.
Mills, a Worcester Academy player trying rugby league for the first team, was one of two debutants in a team of young and developing players for this Midlands Premier Division clash.
Ravens ensured it was very much a contest but they started to tire in the final 15 minutes due to the lack of substitutes following injury and Derby finally sealed a hard earned victory.
Derby scored two early tries before Mills grabbed the opening Ravens try, converted by David Wimbury.
City quickly replied with another converted try but Mills was unstoppable from a penalty drive and scored his second of the match, again converted by Wimbury.
An injury to Raven Jamie Thomas put him out for the rest of the game and the re-adjustment took a while to settle as Derby added four converted tries despite them losing their captain to a yellow card.
Ravens had the final word in the first half with a typically athletic try from Brad Sinclair, converted by Wimbury to leave Derby 40-18 ahead.
Although Derby increased their lead with a try out on the wing, the visitors had a man sent off for an off the ball incident involving Ravens’ Matt Jupp, who was yellow-carded.
Ravens were fired up and hit back with three unanswered tries by Rob White, Jason Spafford and Mills for his hat-trick, with Wimbury kicking the conversions.
Ravens tired in the last 15 minutes as Derby utilised their stronger bench to score another five converted tries.
Ravens are continuing to improve, with new younger players from different backgrounds developing the strength in depth of the club.
The coaching team are confident results will follow but they say they need a bigger squad and they want to encourage as many players to come to Ravens and try rugby league.
Training takes place at Hopwood Park every Wednesday from 7.30pm. On Saturday Ravens visit Buxton Bulls.