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Malvern 5 - 36 Burton

Burton best as Malvern go down fighting

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2013 04:06pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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On a day when the elements held sway at a blustery Spring Lane, Malvern came out to play into a strong wind and for the first 15 minutes took the game to high flying Burton.

They put in wave after wave of attacks to repeatedly drive into the away 22 metre area and twice went over the line, only for the referee to adjudge that the ball had been held up on both occasions. Having weathered the initial storm, Burton were awarded a penalty for a crooked feed and cleared their lines, going on the attack and finally winning another penalty to open the scoring. Using the strong following wind the Staffordshire side again went deep into the Malvern half and forced another penalty to go 6-0 up. Malvern rallied, Alan Keylock leading an attack into the Burton half as the Spring Lane side sought to control play by keeping it tight, but the Burton defence held. Nathan Dunford put in a clever chip which was quickly followed up to the Burton line but Malvern were adjudged to have gone over the top at the ruck and the ball was cleared. Burton’s bigger and heavier pack were edging the set scrums, then Malvern were struck a double blow when winger Tom Hale and influential skipper Ieuan Mustow both left the field injured . A third penalty saw Burton stretch their lead to 9 points before they eventually scored their first try five minutes before the break, then a further penalty giving them a 17 point cushion  as the sides turned round.

Playing with the wind at their backs, Malvern failed to make the advantage tell early on in the second half as long kicks didn’t find touch and Burton ran the ball back. Much of the play seemed to happen in the middle of the park as both sides struggled to gain the upper hand, although the well-drilled Burton forwards were increasingly making their presence felt at the scrums. As the wind dropped slightly Malvern’s advantage lessened and Burton continued to play through their pack, putting in a series of drives before their scrum half put in a chip and chase to score under the posts and convert. As Malvern  continued to defend the penalty count inevitably went up and Burton were camped out in the Malvern half, their attritional play finally winning out as they took a scrum against the head to set up a further try. Still Malvern battled on and were finally rewarded when Jon Bywater went on a run to find alan Keylock in support, the flanker’s strength taking him over the line for a try. However, as Malvern tired towards the end Burton came back with a final try just before the final whistle to claim the try bonus.

Malvern showed the fighting spirit which will surely see them climb out of trouble as the season progresses. There was no shame in being beaten by a team such as Burton, who will surely be competing for promotion at the end of the season, and as long as the injury jinx which has beset Malvern comes to an end, then the best is yet to come.

Malvern now travel to Hereford for the first local derby of the season, with a 2.15pm kick off at Wyeside this Saturday. 

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