MALVERN BOUNCE BACK WITH FIGHTING DISPLAY
South Leicester 13 Malvern 13
The form book went out of the window at Welford Road on Saturday as Malvern came back to spoil South’s 100% record. The Spring Lane men, eager to banish all memories of the previous week’s humbling at Scunthorpe, came out playing with great purpose, moving the ball about well and taking play to the home side. Their efforts were duly rewarded in the 11th minute when South’s conceded a penalty 38 metres out and Robin Fransson effortlessly drilled the ball between the uprights. The heavier home forwards heeded the wake-up call and drove the play upfield to set up a dropped goal for stand-off Aley to equalise. A few minutes later and it was Malvern on the back foot as South’s forced a turnover and the ball was quickly shipped across for winger Greesley to run in a try. This signalled a 10 minute spell of intensive pressure for the men from Wigston, ending with a beautifully flighted cross field kick into the arms of Fisher to give South’s a 10 point lead.
However, Malvern were showing a new determination and the last ten minutes of the half were all about penetrating attacks and some desperate defence from the home team. Another justified penalty, this time from 40 metres out, saw Fransson once again claw back three points, and the half finished with Malvern threatening the South’s line.
The second period began with South’s attacking down the slope, but Malvern ran the ball from deep, Adam Dixon and Richard Fleming breaking free from defence and feeding winger James Bennett, who outstripped the home defence to run in an excellent try, Fransson equalising with the conversion. Malvern’s tight five were holding the bulkier South Leicester pack at the scrum, debutant prop Dave Wrightson making a good impression as the cornerstone, whilst the back row were in the faces of their opposition throughout. Number eight Chris Griffiths was Malvern’s man of the match, making some telling breaks and gaining valuable yards, whilst flankers Simon Daws and Christian Edwards buzzed around like angry hornets, putting the home half backs under tremendous pressure, As South Leicester realised that Malvern were posing a real threat, they came back strongly, using their forwards to try and batter down the defences. However, Malvern’s tackling inside their own 22 was exemplary, at one stage driving South’s back 15 metres from the try line and forcing a poor dropped goal attempt from Aley As the danger ebbed, Malvern got stronger and forced play upfield. A penalty from a metre inside South’s half with 12 minutes left saw Fransson’s enormous kick unluckily hit the crossbar and rebound into play, much to the relief of the home support. The last minutes saw Malvern escape a three pointer as the normally accurate Aley missed a simple penalty and a dropped goal attempt, but at the end it was all Malvern, harrying and forcing South’s errors and only just failing to snatch a win with an ambitious penalty from halfway which fell just short.
The smiles on the faces of the Malvern players, coaches and supporters told the story of the day. The team had regrouped following the Scunthorpe debacle, taken the game to the side tipped for play-off contention and restored a good deal of pride at the same time. Still a young team, with only a couple of players over 25, they stood up to the plate and gave a tremendous account of themselves and will no doubt build upon.
This Saturday sees the visit of old rivals Newport, when the club will hold a pre-match lunch with fundraising for the Noah’s Ark Trust. The following week sees a visit to all-conquering Rugby Lions, who are streaking ahead under the tutelage of Neil Back, with aspirations to climb back to the Championship with the backing of a Canadian investor
Member since: 10th July 2012
Dedicated to building TBO Malvern but I still like to find time to play golf, usually on a Friday afternoon.Decorating and gardening is best left to the lovely Mrs Cook!