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Berkswell and Balsall 30 - 20 Malvern

Battling Malvern beaten by Berkswell

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2016 10:18pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Malvern visited the heart of the Warwickshire countryside buoyed by their 9 try win the previous week, but under no illusions that they faced much tougher opposition. With the wind and slope in their favour, the Spring Lane men started brightly, attacking the home line and winning a penalty which Adam Dixon slotted for an early lead.

Full of running, Malvern collected and Conor Giggle made a break, finding Dave Irish who in turn fed Ben King who went over for the try. The hosts responded with a couple of penalties which took them deep into Malvern territory and after a catch and drive move the ball was sent out to the winger who pegged back 5 points. Again Malvern went on the attack as Dixon made a clever half break and won a penalty, this time seeing his kick go wide.

Malvern then collected a first yellow card owing to one of many bizarre refereeing decisions. They made a substitution, having called out to the official several times, but he promptly sin binned the replacement for entering the field of play without permission! However, Malvern were spurred on by this and responded in true fashion, feeding the ball quickly across the line for Tom Hale to put in a scorching run from 60 metres to score, giving Dixon a simple conversion.

The Berkswell team, aided by the referee’s seeming inability to apply the offside rule, used their greater power and weight in the pack to attack the Malvern line, some fine defence keeping them at bay, but finally the pressure told and they scored a converted try to bring the gap down to three points. Malvern finished the half full of running as Hale twice came close, but they were unable to stretch their lead. 

Playing uphill and into a stiff breeze, Malvern carried on where they left off before the break, patiently recycling the ball in the face of some fierce, and often unpunished illegal defence, before finally the ball was sent across the back line and Luke Milton was on hand to finish off a glorious piece of play.

However, all this good work was undone when they tried to run the ball from their own 22 and conceded a penalty which then led to Berkswell scoring a try to bring the score back to17-20.  Malvern again went on the attack but Liam Roleston was sin binned for retaliating to a punch thrown by one of the home forwards.

Despite again being a man short, Malvern tried to camp out in the home half for long periods, but B’s bigger pack was taking its toll and gaining the upper hand. Driving Malvern back at a scrum in the 22, they drew level with a penalty, then spent long periods forcing Malvern to defend, during which a third yellow card was issued, this time to the dynamic Sam Parsons.

The official then awarded a penalty try at a scrum. Malvern were finally robbed of a losing bonus when a last minute penalty for offside saw the ball slotted between the posts.

Although on balance the home side’s dominance in the tight and at the line out probably justified their victory, an abject performance by an official who constantly missed home infringements and didn’t manage the game well meant Malvern played 30 minutes with 14 men.

Arguably the result may have been different had he punished the home side in the same way. However, Dave Irish would not be drawn on the subject as he said “We can’t play the game without referees, whatever the standard. On the day our forwards were given a torrid time, so we are looking forward to some of the injured lads returning when we play Dunlop in two weeks.

On the positive side, we played some sublime running rugby today and scored some excellent tries against a very difficult side. With a week’s rest, I’m certain that we will come back stronger in our run up to the Christmas break.”

Photo: File pic

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