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Malvern End Season on a 12 Try High

Malvern 74 - 12 Old Leamingtonians

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2015 10:47pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Malvern needed a win to cement their fourth place position and did so in style at Spring Lane on Saturday. The Warwickshire side were already condemned to relegation but played their part in an entertaining game, never giving up and on occasion testing Malvern’s defence. However, it was the home side who dictated the pace and outcome of the match from the start, defending well against an early OL attack and driving them back. George Withers stole the ball at the first scrum and Malvern drove to the opposition 22 metre line, winning a penalty. From the resulting touch the Malvern pack put in an immense catch and drive move for lock Dave Smith to continue his recent try scoring form as he touched down. Holding up an OL drive, Malvern spread the ball wide but Liam Roleston was halted by an illegal tackle which also saw him leave the field, to be replaced by George Roberts. A knock on at the line out gave the visitors the put in at the scrum but Malvern again won against the head, the ball was moved swiftly across the line and skipper Luke Milton was on hand to score and set up Ben King’s conversion. The scoreboard continued to be a busy place as Malvern won a penalty, opted for a 5 metre scrum and Roberts was on hand to scythe his way through the middle of the defence to score a fine try, King adding the extra points. Malvern then lost their way a little for a few minutes as OLs put in a series of attacks and the Spring Lane men tried to run from defence instead of opting for the easier and safer kicking option. They then lost a line out and the visitors drove to the corner and scored. This woke Malvern up and they responded immediately, stealing the ball gain. Richard Fleming’s long miss pass found Conor Giggle and the man they call the Lakeland Express powered through to score in the corner and secure the bonus point. They then broke from defence to threaten the OL line once more but knocked on, however the referee awarded a penalty. James Southall took a quick tap and go and Rory Jones made light of the opposition’s attempts to halt him, scoring and setting up King’s conversion. The half ended with OLs again threatening the Malvern line, but once more the defence held up and the teams turned round to give Malvern the benefit of a strong following wind.

Malvern started the second half as they had left off before the break, Craig Freeman and George Withers putting in some fine carries, but losing James Redfearn to injury and giving Alex Easterby a rare chance to use his weight to Malvern’s advantage. Rory Jones put in a powerful run down the wing but was just forced into touch, but Malvern dictated play and ran the ball around, retaining possession until Southall saw a gap and nipped through to score and set up another conversion for King. As Malvern continued to keep the ball in hand, it was King’s turn to join the try scorer’s list as the OLs line was stretched to breaking point. With the Malvern scrum now totally dominant at the set piece the forwards won the ball and went through several phases of pick and drive moves, Jack Longley and Adam Green well to the fore, then the ball was shifted out to Giggle once more for him to use his pace and go over. From the restart, Malvern defended patiently until they seized on a loose ball. Milton fed it to Roberts and the winger showed he had lost none of his pace as he sped in to score, taking the total to over the half century, and set up King’s conversion. As the match entered the final stages, a quick Malvern tap penalty saw Giggle feed the ball back to Southall for another score, and then George Withers broke downfield and put Adam Green over for a rare try. OLs still showed that they wouldn’t give up as they scored a second try, but there was still time for Malvern to finish with a flourish as playmaker Adam Dixon put in a trademark half break and sent Giggle in for a final try and King’s conversion.

Malvern’s Director of Rugby David Irish was delighted with the way his side had finished the league season with a flourish. “After the trials and tribulations of the two previous seasons it shows that the Malvern spirit remains undiminished. We have a happy dressing room, a superb coach in Billy McGinty who brings so much to training sessions, and a core of local lads who have regenerated the spark which two poor seasons had dimmed. We set out to finish in the top six and have ended up fourth as we rebuild for the future. I’m sure that next year we can perform even better and seeing some excellent youngsters coming through from our youth section I feel that the future of Malvern RFC is looking bright.”

Malvern may have finished the league season, but a North Midlands Shield semi-final still beckons as Bridgnorth play their catch-up games and a Twickenham Intermediate Cup Final. Irish is looking to keep the squad together and primed for that match and a possible final against Kidderminster on May 10th.

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