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Malvern Go 3rd after Derby Win

Droitwich 8 - 16 Malvern

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2014 08:53pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Malvern climbed to third on points difference after a rather disjointed performance at local rivals Droitwich on Saturday. Playing against a strong wind in the first half, Malvern’s defence was tested several times as Droitwich used their big front five in an effort to breach the visitors’ line. However, Malvern’s much more mobile pack continually disrupted their attempts and stole the ball on several occasions. Trying to play their normal running game the Malvern put in several attacks, but conditions were such that the final pass to the wingers kept going astray. However, it was the home team who eventually struck first as they won a penalty which took them into Malvern’s 22 metre area. They then put in a series of drives to score in the corner, although they failed to convert. Malvern responded by moving the ball into home territory and won a penalty, from which the referee marched the Droitwich team back for some unwise talking back, and Ben King made no mistake to pull back three points. This spurred Malvern on and they raised their game to take control, repeatedly running at Droitwich. However, a neck injury to Stuart Clarke halted the game for a good 10 minutes and added to the rather stop-start nature of this match. On the restart, Malvern’s strong defence held up a Droitwich drive, and then the Spring Lane side again imposed themselves as they again ran at the home team. Like Milton started off a move, Nick Clarke took the ball on and it was moved back into the middle of the field where prop Grant Fraser showed he still had some residual speed from his days as a centre as he charged through for a try to take the lead for Malvern. King added the conversion and Malvern reached half-time with a five point lead.

Malvern now had the wind at their backs, although it had died down somewhat, but continued to run the ball and forcing Droitwich into some desperate defending. Inevitably, they infringed again and King assuredly put over the penalty kick to stretch Malvern’s lead to eight points. For all their dominance, however, it was a day when passes didn’t stick or the ball was knocked on too many times as Malvern repeatedly threatened to increase their lead. Nick Clarke had to receive treatment after he appeared to receive a boot to the head but fortunately was able to resume. Droitwich had a five minute period of good possession in their forwards which resulted in a penalty from which they scored, but Malvern were well in control and a further penalty from King restored the eight point gap and ensured that Malvern took the win. Results elsewhere mean that Malvern are now on the same points as second placed Banbury but with a lesser points-scored difference. It seems that the league is going to prove a competitive one, with no clear favourites having emerged after the first five games, which isn’t lost on Director of Rugby Dave Irish. “We had to grind out a win today against a side who didn’t have much to offer but who stuck to their own way of playing. The conditions weren’t ideal and our final passes went astray too often, but the lads kept trying to play and ground Droitwich down. As we get into the wetter months we know that we will have to adapt as the more forward-dominated teams start to see their 10 man game come into focus. However, I’m confident that our pack is equal to anything as they have both strength and mobility. A little more penetration from the back line should complement the forward effort – we don’t need to play a complicated game, just concentrate on our own skill levels. With continued good attendance at training we can work on our game and continue to improve.”

Malvern host Leamington this Saturday, kicking off at 3.00pm, with the match being preceded with a “Lunch with a Legend”, featuring Thinus Delport, formerly of Springbok and Worcester Warriors fame.

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