Malvern Bounce Back with a Fine Win

Malvern 15 - 7 Whitchurch

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2013 05:19pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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A rejuvenated Malvern side bounced back from the previous week’s drubbing to take the points in an enthralling game at Spring Lane on Saturday.

Having weathered Whitchurch’s opening onslaught for a full 10 minutes, Malvern counter-attacked when they stole the visitors’ ball and ventured across the halfway line for the first time. Winning a penalty which was put into touch on the 5 metre mark they put in a concerted forward drive and flanker Alan Keylock drove over to score. Luke Milton again showed that he has returned to top form with a good run to gain good yards, but Whitchurch responded and again put the Malvern defence under pressure. They stood up well to the task, despite losing Keylock to the sin bin and Nick Miller to a knee injury, whilst Jordan Hillier also came off with a knock.  Malvern finally ran the ball out of defence and made good headway, Jamie Anderson putting in some immense carries and knocking opponents down as though they were featherweights. Malvern won a couple of kickable penalties but for once Nathan Dunford’s accuracy was off. However, back came Malvern when Milton put in a punishing run to the 22 and set up the ball for hooker James Swain to go over for a try which Dunford converted, leaving the half time score at 12-0.

The second half followed much the same pattern except that Malvern’s defending was mainly done in the Whitchurch half as they stifled any move the Salopian side made. This “offensive defence” paid off when Malvern forced a penalty 12 minutes into the half which Dunford put over to give Malvern a 15 point cushion. This pattern of play continued, and Whitchurch started to show their frustration with several kicks and punches which the referee was unable to spot, although he finally saw a blatant punch and sin-binned the offender.  A few minutes later and Malvern’s Stuart Clarke was also shown a yellow card, but the Spring Lane side remained in control until, with 5 minutes left, full back James Park went over for the visitors and Ryan Horton converted. Malvern then showed their growing confidence by closing the game down in the final minutes to claim a well-worked win. Jamie Anderson was awarded the Waitrose Man of the Match award for his performance, and the side are looking forward to the last game before Christmas when  they entertain Old Laurentians from Rugby this Saturday, kick off 2.15pm. Whilst Malvern are now looking a little safer, with the second half of the season now beginning they still need to grab a few more wins to secure a mid table position. It’s to be hoped that the injuries which have caused so much trouble for the team selectors will have dried up and that they can put out a more settled side as they look to take a few more scalps against sides to whom they narrowly lost earlier in the season. Confidence levels are still high and with a few more players to come back the plans to consolidate before making an attempt to get back to level 5 look to be back on track.




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