Malvern 8 - 26 Newbold on Avon

Malvern Beaten but not Disgraced

Last Updated: Mar 2, 2015 08:12pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
Share |

On a bitingly cold afternoon at Spring Lane, Malvern entertained table-topping Newbold in what was to be an enthralling struggle. With Newbold sporting a much heavier pack, containing three players who had all appeared at higher levels, Malvern’s defence was bound to be tested, and it was. The visitors from Rugby started with purpose but were repelled by some excellent Malvern defensive play and the home side cleared their lines. A kick ahead from Luke Miltonwas followed up by the speedy Jordan Nwachukwu, who collared the collecting Newbold player and forced a penalty. Unfortunately Ben King’s attempt was caught by the swirling wind and bounced off the post. Newbold countered to the Malvern 22, were awarded a penalty but opted for the scrum, hoping their huge pack would drive over, but they knocked on. However, they won another but still the Malvern defence held up, winning a scrum of their own. Newbold were awarded a free kick and quickly took it to go through for a converted try and the lead. Malvern attacked from the restart and made inroads into the Newbold half and were rewarded with a penalty of their own, and this time King made sure of the three points. It was becoming apparent that the exchange referee from Berkshire was out of his depth and several bizarre decisions had both sets of supporters offering their vocal opinions. Luckily, the players just wanted to play rugby and concentrated on the game, and it is to the credit of both sides that tempers were kept in check in what was a hard but clean game. The penalties were coming thick and fast as both sides struggled for supremacy. Newbold were relying on their scrum to do the damage whilst Malvern’s defence was courageous in keeping them at bay, but close to half time Newbold scored again when the referee ignored a deliberate knock on right in front of him, the conversion giving the visitors a 3-14 lead at the break.
The visitors had the strong wind in their favour in the second half, but it was Malvern who made most of the running, pinning Newbold back for long periods. However, the visiting defence proved to be as well drilled as Malvern’s and managed to keep their line safe. Against the run of play, they hacked the ball downfield and Malvern had to scurry back to ensure a 22 metre drop out. From this Newbold set up a counter attack and their stand –off went through for a well worked try. Newbold again forced Malvern back, winning penalties and opting for scrums as they tried to push Malvern back, but the addition of Alex Easterby steadied the Malvern eight somewhat and they cleared the danger. Malvern broke out of defence, were nearly clear through for a try and the referee bizarrely brought play back for a Malvern penalty instead of applying the advantage law. Cue more howls of disbelief from the sidelines! Malvern lost the impressive Joe Wilkes as Newbold managed to secure the ball, then they won a scrum and broke for a fine try, converted to make the score 3-26 and securing the bonus point. Their winger almost made it five tries but was adjudged to have received a forward pass by the referee, who was about 30 metres behind the play. Malvern still didn’t give up and had the last say when they intercepted the ball and George Roberts sped through to score.
Director of Rugby David Irish wasn’t too downhearted after the match. “Our lads performed well against a side who must be favourites to win the league. We certainly made them work hard for their victory and were unlucky not to have a couple more scores to our credit. We now look to collect a couple of wins, away to Nuneaton Old Edwardians and home to a tricky Old Coventrians side, before the challenge of an away fixture at Old Laurentians, the other side at the top of the table. We will keep applying the lessons learned in training as we seek to improve and consolidate our position in the top half of the table.”


blog comments powered by Disqus