North East Worcestershire Ravens got their Midlands League South season off to the perfect start with an impressive defensive display to claim a 24-14 victory over Birmingham Bulldogs.
The new season was only two minutes old when Brad Sinclair spotted a gap and sprinted through for the first try which was converted by Dave Wimbury.
The Bulldogs hit back within minutes to score a try wide out and this had all the signs of being a high scoring game with both teams showing exceptional ball skills.
Both defences were showing neither side was going to give an inch as the Ravens and Bulldogs were trying to find ways to break each other down.
On two occasions, the Bulldogs looked like scoring only to be stopped in their tracks with some solid tackling from the Ravens.
Half time came with NEW Ravens holding a slender two-point lead to play uphill in the second half.
The second half started exactly like the first one with a try to the Ravens in the opening two minutes as Richard Whitehouse chipped over the Bulldogs defence then gathered the ball to go over for a try showing that he has lost none of his footballing brain.
Wimbury added the extras with the conversion.
Very much like the first half, the Bulldogs hit back quickly with a try of their own coming from a rare Ravens error which was converted to bring them back within two points.
Dave Swaysland was the next one to trouble the scorers as he spotted a gap open on the last tackle of the phase to dive from yards out again converted by Wimbury to make it 22-10.
The Ravens showed immense defence as they defended three consecutive sets of six tackles on their own line as they were getting penalised for being too quick off the mark and were issued a team warning.
After some sustained Ravens attack up field, they were awarded a penalty 40 metres in front of the posts and Wimbury once again kicked the extras.
The Bulldogs had never given up all game and managed to score a try with two minutes to go but the Ravens held out to secure the win.