Ravens finally played the match they had been waiting 16 months for on Saturday 4th June, South Birmingham Hawks was formed by a small group of X Ravens who fundamentally disagreed with the clubs development policy. This was always going to be a bad blood match.
The Ravens started nervously and after some fierce collisions in the opening 8 minutes, Hawks managed to gather a 5th tackle kick and scored the 1st try of the game.
Ravens immediately struck back with a well worked break from Brad Sinclair, which lead to a great try from Dave Pearson, safely converted by Dave Wimbury. 5 minutes later, player and Coach Rich Whitehouse found a gap to open his account for the game after stepping round the Hawks flopping fullback. Wimbury added the extras. A tough scoreless 20 minutes followed, but a consistent unpredictable defence laid the foundations for a good assault of the visitors line. Rich Whitehouse crossed the line the hard way this time, with 3 defenders hanging off him, but he pumped his legs to touch the ball down for his second try. Wimbury converted to make the score 18-6 at half time.
New dad this week Lee Knight opened the second half with a superman try in the corner, his first try for Ravens. But Ravens made hard work of the 2nd half with a series of penalties and basic mistakes caused by the tension of the fixture as things got heated. The visitors clawed their way back to 22-18. Ravens captain David Swaysland stopped the slide with another try. Hawks again fought back with a converted try off the back of Ravens own mistakes. They pulled back within 2 points again.
Rich Whitehouse put the game to bed with a line break on his own 40 meter line, before outmanoeuvring the visitors full back and extending the gap to 8 points with Wimburys conversion.
Hawks made it a nail bitter by exploiting a series of arguably harsh penalties before crossing the line and converting to bring the game back to the tight two point gap.
The pre match changing room talk had been about “the team who wanted it most would win”. That proved the case as the battle raged until the final whistle but Ravens with the greater team spirit and desire ground out their most important victory ever. Ravens won 32-30
Director of Rugby Jason Spafford said “Today’s win was about more than just a rugby match, it was about how we run our club and the victory was down to all the subs on the bench, water carriers, 1st aiders and everybody who works so hard to push this club forward.”
Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.