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Malvern Beat a Fiery Pinley

Malvern 28 - 9 Pinley

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2016 06:29pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Over the last couple of seasons the Pinley fixtures have become notorious for the added edge which the Coventry-based side bring to the table. This game was an example of this as their hard, uncompromising tactics ensured a bruising encounter t Spring Lane. However, it was the Malvern side that played the better rugby and for the opening 15 minutes had almost all the possession and territorial advantage. The forwards showed they had the better of Pinley, driving them back over 20 metres and gaining the first of countless penalties. Pinley managed to defend their line, then against the run of play surged upfield and won a penalty of their own, taking the lead. However, that was a short lived state of affairs as Malvern took the game to the visitors and Richard Fleming made a great break to the 22 metre line, winning a penalty which Will Gough despatched to level the scores. Malvern looked assured and full of running, Tom Hale went on the rampage, supported by Charles Rambridge and Josh Herbert, to be bundled into touch 5 metres from the line. The Pinley throw was not straight, Malvern won the scrum and put in a series of pick and drive moves before number eight James Tutty went over to take the lead, Gough adding the extra two. As Pinley continued to leak penalties, Malvern continued to move the ball about, Herbert went on the charge and Luke Milton was on hand to go over and set up another Gough conversion. The Warwickshire side responded with some good possession and forced a couple of penalties to narrow the gap to17-9 as Malvern suffered two injuries in succession. Herbert came off with a damaged knee and prop Toby Vermeire suffered a suspected dislocated thumb. Liam Roleston and the veteran David Irish, Malvern’s Director of Rugby came on. Any worries about losing the upper hand were soon dispelled as they put the opposing the scrum in the air several times, although bizarrely the official refused to penalise the obvious transgressions. Hale again proved the scourge of the Pinley back line, working across field to link up with Conor Giggle, whose run was ended as he was forced into touch. The half time whistle blew as Malvern again turned over Pinley ball.

As the second half began, Alex Stockwell made way for George Roberts, whose speed and aggression were soon to the fore. Gough added three points with another penalty, and then Tom Hale showed how good his all-round game is when he hunted down his winger with an enormous hit which had the crowd cheering in delight. After another Gough penalty score Malvern kept up the pressure as Pinley’s discipline started to desert them. From a scrum Malvern drove on and prop Charles Rambridge went over to stretch the lead. Malvern were now chasing the bonus point and looked certain to have secured it when Roberts put in an bone-shaking tackle then picked up the loose ball with a clear run to the line. However, the referee adjudged his tackle to be high, much to the incredulity of the crowd, and awarded a penalty to Pinley. As the game entered the final minutes it descended into a series of minor brawls as the visitors became more frustrated, but Malvern had clocked up the first win of the season. 

David Irish was proud of the way the Malvern side had handled the negative tactics on display, saying “We kept our heads and concentrated on playing rugby, which is what our supporters come here to see. It was a messy game, with too many penalties, but we have to accept that not all matches are going to provide a spectacle. Sometimes you have to graft and dig out a win, which is what we did today.”

Malvern now go on the road for the next two weeks, first to Old Yardleians in Birmingham for an Intermediate Cup match next Saturday, then away to a resurgent Rugby Lions side on the 1st October.

PHOTO: FILE PIC

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