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Malvern Winning Streak Continues

Spartans 10 - 29 Malvern

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2014 09:42pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Malvern visited Sutton Coldfield for their first ever game against a Spartans side which had gone 22 games without defeat at home. Playing up a considerable slope with a gusting wind at their back, the visitors started brightly, Adam Dixon’s long kick taking them deep into home territory. The referee issued an early yellow card to Spartans for a late tackle, but Malvern’s drive was held up by the strong home pack. After a penalty to each side, Malvern got into their stride as George Roberts made a great 50 metre run through the Spartans defence, shipping the ball out and it went along the line for James Southall to go over and Ben King to convert for the lead. Although the Spartans were showing plenty of movement, good Malvern defence meant that they didn’t really gain much ground and much of the play was confined to the middle of the park. Turning over a Spartans maul, Malvern threatened once more, Dixon’s half-break taking them close without any reward. Richard Hobbs killed a Spartans attack and Malvern used the wind to advantage to gain ground, but a couple of clear scoring chances were wasted as the final pass went astray. Still Malvern pressed, Dixon once again making a telling break, but a deliberate knock on by Spartans foiled the move. From the resultant penalty, King stretched the lead to 0-10.  Another good run from Roberts took Malvern into home territory once more but again a knock on lost the advantage as the game approached half time.

Now playing downfield but against the wind, Malvern continued to run the ball at every opportunity, but again a promising scoring opportunity was foiled by a knock on.  Malvern won a penalty, James Redfearn put in a great carry before the ball was moved across the backs but as the line was crossed the ball was dislodged by some desperate defence. Undaunted, Malvern piled on the pressure, running some excellent lines for skipper Luke Milton to join in and go through to extend the lead, King’s conversion taking the score to 0-17. Spartans pulled back thee points from a penalty then had a good spell of possession without really threatening as Malvern’s defence held firm. Roberts again broke, Dixon followed up, Malvern won a scrum and the ball was again moved well, flanker Rory Jones making ground to feed James Redfearn for a try, King again converting. Spartans, never giving up, worked their way into the Malvern 22 and from a 5 metre scrum the ball was fed to their winger, who scored in the corner for a try, then their kicker put over a difficult conversion. The conditions saw several knocks on from both sides before Spartans, using the wind to advantage, once again got into Malvern’s 22, but some great defence kept them at bay. Back on the attack, Grant Fraser almost got through, then another Dixon half-break won a penalty, quickly taken and the ball was shipped to Rory Jones for the bonus point try and a hard-earned win which keeps Malvern at the top end of the table.

Malvern’s Director of Rugby, Dave Irish, was happy with the points. “Spartans are a tough side, as witnessed by their 22 game home winning streak, and we managed to halt that today. To come away to a home fortress like this and take the points shows great determination, especially as the conditions were not ideal. Our fitness and mobility allowed us to dictate large swathes of the game, and in truth we weren’t completely at our best today, butchering some clear cut scoring chances. However, training can help to remedy this and we now have a home North Midlands Shield game this weekend against Old Yardleians where we can ring the changes and look at some emerging players. We then return to league duty the following week at Newbold, one of the other front runners, for what should be our sternest test to date.”

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