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Barker's bitten by nine try rout

Malvern 60 - 10 Barker's Butts

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2016 07:53am
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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In recent weeks Malvern RFC have been trying to identify at which point they have upset the Rugby Gods. A series of over a dozen injuries, followed by player unavailability have left the 1st team struggling to compete. Last week’s trip to Southam RFC saw, according to players, supporters and Malvern's ever present rugby sages, one of the worst 20 minutes of Malvern rugby in living memory. Midweek training saw some honest acknowledgements from players and coaches alike that whilst injuries can never be avoided, passion and commitment must make up for gaps in personnel. This game against a Barker Butts team in a similar league position was set to define whether Malvern were to become part of a hard fought relegation battle or start to right some wrongs. On a beautiful afternoon for rugby, dry, firm under foot and without wind, a number of questions were set to be answered!.

Within minutes Malvern were ahead, as quick line out ball on the Barker Butts 22 saw fly half Adam Dixon hit a perfect line, slicing the opposition defence to score near the posts and converting his own try. This set the tone for the afternoon, Dixon very influential in dictating the pace, style and outcome of the game. Next up was a try for winger Tom Hale when a quick penalty, taken on half way, saw the ball reach Hale as he stood up, then sat down his opposite number before scoring in the corner, the difficult conversion completed by Dixon. Barker Butts scored next after a chip into the in goal area that Malvern seemed to ground, Malvern, clearly disappointed, accepted the decision and from the kick off secured a penalty in front of the posts which Dixon slotted.

Next up was a try that had much to do with the vision and quality of captain Luke Milton. Receiving the ball in the centre of the pitch 5 metres from his line, he looked up, assessed his options and spurted into space before hitting Hale with a 25 metre miss pass that took out four defenders, Hale seizing the opportunity to stretch his legs. Tap tackled on about the Barker Butts 10 metre line he popped the ball to the support runner Ieuan Mustow who gleefully accepted a run in for the try, Dixon converting.

Barker Butts suffered a yellow card for their fly half, due to his trying his hardest to play, referee, commentate and give punditry advice to a referee himself playing down a couple of levels on his usual grade standard. Malvern accepted the extra man with relish, scoring three tries before Barker Butts got back to strength. the first for Director of Rugby and  veteran hooker Dave Irish, which was in truth a two metre walk in after a quick penalty and good hands saw him in some wide open space. We hope and would be disappointed if this didn't turn into a burst from the 22, three side steps and then powering over as it is retold over beers to come. What is for certain it mustered the loudest and longest cheer of the day for the most popular of men. Bonus point secured, Malvern pushed on as Mustow was next up, as from the opposition 22 his power, pace and grunt challenged the defence to stop him. Four tried, none did and a great individual try was his reward. This made the score at the break 34-5 to the resurgent men from Spring Lane.

Malvern started the second half as the first had ended, from the kick off recycling ball in their own 22, rapid feet and hands seeing Hale released on half way to use his pace with a try under the posts, Dixon converting. Barker Butts responded with a good try from a lineout and rolling maul that they controlled well. However, Malvern were playing now at high pace and seemingly running the ball from anywhere on the park. Quick ball from a penalty again saw good hands to put winger Connor Giggle in for a try. Malvern were now in complete control against a down heartened Barker Butts, running great lines and off loading at the right times with forwards and backs combine for a well deserved try for Niall Potter-Farrant. Dixon converted. The final try went to Mustow with another trade mark powerful burst, Dixon again converting to end the proceedings and to cue some well deserved celebrations.

This was the first game this season when Physio Georgina James-Staff has not spent more time on the pitch than the average player. What looked like the smallest Malvern pack in height terms in living memory proved it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Struggling in line out and scrum, Malvern's pack still secured enough ball to set the backs free for 9 tries. 

Dave Irish, fresh from his on-field efforts, said “A number of players returning before the start of December, great team spirit and the youth and experience blend starting to work gave us a fine bounce-back after our recent poor run. However, we must realise that today we played a side who are clearly not at their best, and we have some difficult games ahead, starting with a tricky away fixture at Berkswell and Balsall next Saturday,” The kick off will be at the earlier time of 2.15pm.


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