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Malvern Seven Try Crowd Pleaser

Malvern 43 - 17 Old Coventrians

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2015 06:54pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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On a day where conditions suited a running game, Malvern duly obliged the large crowd at Spring Lane on Saturday. At Old Coventrians in December they had to fight every inch against a forward-dominated opposition, so it was important to impose themselves from the start. The first scrum was in the Old Coventrians favour and Malvern held it, winning a scrum of their own and a penalty, which signalled the start of their expansive game. They took the ball to the men from Tile Hill, Rory Jones driving into their pack and recycling it. The tall flanker was on hand to join the line and drive through to open the scoring in the corner. From the restart, Malvern ran the ball from deep in their own half, slick handling skills in evidence as they kept play alive. As they arrived in the Old Covs half  Adam Dixon’s long pass to Ben King saw the outside centre run in a second score for Malvern, which he converted. Malvern lost Jordan Nwachukwu early in the game to a torn hamstring, making way for Conor Giggle. The nippy winger was soon involved after Malvern won a penalty and an opposition player was sin-binned. He made a dash down the narrow corridor and fed the ever-youthful Dave Smith, who put Jones in for his second try. Malvern were playing some stunning rugby, full of confidence and sure handling, switching the ball around and creating gaps, and not just in the backs. Props Grant Fraser and Craig Freeman, together with hooker George Withers were all involved in some enterprising carries, Smith and Adam Green were always to the fore in the “grunt” department of the second row, whilst Jack Longley, Rory Jones and Joe Wilks were roving the field and linking well with the half backs.  Conor Giggle hacked on and collected to collect and cut inside, that man smith was again up with the play and his clever delayed pass to Richard Fleming saw the big inside centre glide through to score and set up King’s conversion to secure the try bonus early on in the game. Smith charged down a kick as Covs tried to secure a foothold in the Malvern half, and then Fraser broke downfield on a dangerous charge as Malvern once more kept play in the opposition half. Their all-out attacking game once more paid off as they moved fluidly downfield, the ball being passed with aplomb along the line for skipper Luke Milton to join from full back and score. As the first half came to an end Covs put in their first serious attack into Malvern territory, winning a penalty and putting in a catch and drive move to score a try.

The second half started in the same vein as the first, with Malvern making all the running. Tom Mann had come on for the injured Joe Wilks and slotted in well, Malvern continued to play their expansive game and using the following wind to advantage. George Roberts made some telling runs and the opposition felt his strength more than once, whilst James Southall at scrum half had been having a field day. He was duly rewarded as he made a break after a line out, running the ball from midway in a stunning 50 metre sprint which left several potential tacklers sprawling in his wake for a superb individual try which King converted. Ollie Rayner replaced Richard Fleming in the centre as Dave Irish rang the changes for the final time. Milton then put the icing on Malvern’s cake as he stormed through, kicking ahead and collecting to go over for his side’s seventh try of the afternoon, King again converting. To their credit, Old Coventrians never gave up and as Malvern relaxed, they put together some trade mark forward moves as they camped in the home 22 metre area, finally driving over for a try. Malvern responded by attacking upfield but an intercepted pass gave the Covs winger a free run in for a converted try, but it had been Malvern’s day and the crowd had been rewarded by a dazzling display.

Director of Rugby Dave Irish said “We knew that the conditions were ideal for our brand of rugby today and the lads responded with one of the best performances of the season. They ran the ball with confidence, from the props to the full back, and showed the benefits all the hard training throughout the season has given them. We now visit unbeaten league leaders Old Laurentians in Rugby next week, looking for a win after being denied at home.” 

Malvern were unlucky not to take the points at Spring Lane when a perfectly good try was refused and they failed to draw level in contentious circumstances over an early charge down run which was allowed at the very end of the game. Irish wouldn’t dwell on that, saying “Every game has controversial decisions, but we have to accept that. Our job is to go out on the field and do our best, just as the opposition and the referees do. Today was an example of that, we were fortunate to have a side which all hit top form together and there are a lot of happy faces in the clubhouse. That makes my job very satisfying!”

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