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Pinley Outfought at Spring Lane

Malvern 1st XV 13 - 6 Pinley 1st XV

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2015 02:51pm
Malvern, Malvern Hills
By Peter Woods
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Malvern Win on Points as Pinley Outfought in 'Battle of Spring Lane'

 

To paraphrase a famous American sports quote “I went to a fight on Saturday and a game of rugby broke out”. In the fixture at Pinley the home side deservedly won, playing some good rugby.

Five yellow cards and a red for the visitors to only two yellows or Malvern – both for technical offences – give some measure of the indiscipline displayed.

To their credit, Malvern generally kept the lid on their wish to retaliate bar a couple of flare-ups, but the general consensus amongst the home support was that this was the most awful display seen at Spring Lane in living memory.

Now to the game itself, such as it was. Pinley took the lead with a penalty, which Malvern equalised through Ben King after the Pinley stand-off was sin binned for a late tackle. He was followed by two more players from the visiting side as the referee finally started to take notice of some of the off-the-ball tactics, but Malvern failed to make the numerical advantage count, insisting on taking the ball back to the forwards when the intelligent tactic would have been to spread play wide. All they had to show for this period was another King penalty, which Pinley equalised just before the break.

Malvern Director of Rugby Dave Irish had some words of wisdom at half-time which obviously galvanised his team. They pressed the Pinley defence from the whistle, turning the ball over and for once played the expansive game for Ben Essenhigh to go over in the corner to score the only try of the match. King converted with a magnificent kick from the touchline and that was really the end of anything worthwhile watching bar a couple of decent breaks. To say that the rest of the game was a war of attrition is a bit like calling the siege of Stalingrad a bit of a skirmish as the visitors continued to try and goad Malvern with some extremely underhand methods. To their credit, Malvern didn’t respond much, keeping their discipline as Pinley lost theirs, and some great defence towards the end of the match kept the visitors at bay. One Malvern player, penalised for not rolling away after being tackled, was heard to comment “It’s difficult to roll away when you are held down by the throat”, which just about sums up the whole afternoon.

Irish, showing all his diplomatic skills after the match, said “Sometimes you have to meet teams like this and just try to play your own game and not get distracted. I think that, by and large, Malvern managed that today.”

Malvern now travel to second-placed Banbury, whom they beat at Spring Lane earlier in the season, looking to consolidate a place in the top five and to secure their first double of the term.

Photo: File pic

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