Defence Lapse Costly for Malvern

Southam 41 - 18 Malvern

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2016 09:12pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Southam 41 Malvern 18

When you concede four tries before half time, you know you are going to have an uphill struggle in the second half. On their first ever visit to Southam, Malvern started brightly, driving into the home 22 area but after a scrum, a poor pass allowed the Warwickshire side to counter and drive upfield, finding their way through a paper-thin defence to open the scoring. This seemed to set the tone for the day, with Malvern looking good when on the attack, but too easily turning the ball over to their opponents though hasty missed passes or knocks-on. Two more tries followed in quick succession as Malvern tried to run the ball from defence but gave away penalties or scrums, from which the Southam side attacked the centre of the Malvern defence and cut through to go 19-0 up. Malvern replied in spirited fashion as Adam Dixon’s break brought about a penalty which Ben King put over. They followed up with another good move which petered out with a dropped pass – a recurring error throughout the game. Malvern then attacked again, putting a penalty into the home 22 but shot themselves in the foot as they infringed at the line-out when in a fine attacking position. Southam countered, put in two phases then again went through the Malvern defence like a knife through butter for the bonus point try.  Malvern again tried to reply and put in some good work in the forwards, winning a penalty, but opted for a long range kick at goal when perhaps it would have been better to find touch. The kick was missed. Southam won a scrum and penalty just inside the Malvern half and their kicker put the ball over with ease to stretch the lead to 29-3. Malvern responded from the restart, finally showing some bite as Ieuan Mustow ran in from 40 metres to pull back five points just before the break.

Malvern were still suffering from an injury crisis which meant eleven players were unavailable and with some out of position, this had contributed to the leaky defence. After some stern words at half time, they came out looking a lot more cohesive after the break. The pack, which had looked solid in the scrum and good in the loose, took the ball into the Southam 22, Glen Potter to the fore, and they continued to batter away at Southam. They were rewarded after a 5 metre line out and some good recycling saw Alex Stockwell go over in the corner for a deserved try. The Spring Lane side continued to batter away and came close a couple of times before Southam finally cleared their lines and a kick ahead saw their winger win the chase to touch down and score, much against the run of play as they visited the Malvern half for the first time since the break.  Malvern responded with spirit, running the ball back at Southam and Mustow went over for his second try of the afternoon. Looking for the try bonus, Malvern ran the ball out of defence, but the old failings let them down as a misjudged pass which should have put them in for the score was intercepted and the home side ran in from 60 metres to score.

Director of Rugby David Irish was unhappy with the defensive performance. “We have built our game around a solid defence but with all the injuries having forced so many changes we looked very frail when attacked in the midfield. Added to this, we made so many basic errors which gifted Southam several tries. Our pack matched them in the set piece, our loose play was good, so it wasn’t all a disaster, but we need to get a couple of wins under our belts. Hopefully some of the injured players will be available next week as we face Barkers Butts at home.”

Kick off at Spring Lane will be at 3.00pm.


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