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Home > News > London Irish Wild Geese 21 - Malvern 19
Your News London Irish Wild Geese 21 - Malvern 19

With a squad left in disarray because of an inordinate amount of injuries, a youthful Malvern side went on the long trip to Sunbury on Thames to meet the Irish side also new to the South West Division. A solid start by Malvern was negated with a penalty to the home side for not releasing, and after a scrum a deft kick ahead saw Irish open the scoring through winger Matt Betty, standoff Ed Keohane converting in the 6th minute. Malverns bad luck in the injury department then continued as danger man Nick Miller received a nasty blow to his forehead which needed stitches at a local hospital. The Wild Geese showed some good forward skills to keep the ball and sucked in the Malvern defence, finally passing out to centre Sean Cunningham for a 13th minute try and a second conversion for Keohane. Malvern came back into the game and won a line out, emergency fly half Ieuan Mustow broke the line, the forwards recycled the ball quickly and James Southall burrowed over to score. However, Malvern continued to be put on the back foot, in part due to poor possession at the line out and one such error on the half hour mark led to Irish regaining possession and moving the ball downfield for number 8 Darren Livett to claim the try and Keohanes boot to bag the extra two points. Malverns youngsters fought back, some good possession taking them deep into Irish territory, and when the home team countered at speed the Malvern defence were equal to the task, halting their forays. One Malvern move looked like a certain score, but the ball was knocked forward over the goal line. The game took an unwelcome turn in the 35th minute when a rush of blood saw the Irish skipper Sam McKinney given a red card for an attempted head butt on Southall.

After the break, Malvern piled on the pressure, using the extra man advantage and started to force a desperate Irish defence into conceding penalties. Although Malvern conspired to knock on at a resulting line out, the pack drove the 7 man Irish scrum backwards. Another scrum was won and this time the Malvern drive to the line was illegally halted, a penalty try awarded and Tom Hale converting to get Malvern back into the game. It was now all Malvern as attack after attack was gamely defended by Irish, but something had to give and as Malvern drove to within 10 metres of the Irish line they won another scrum, drove on and were awarded a second penalty try as the scrum was dropped. Hales conversion took Malvern to within 2 points of the Irish total, but for the final 15 minutes the canny Irish side managed to retain much of the possession, playing up the jumper rugby, to hang on for the win.

Although disappointed not to come away with an unexpected victory, the Malvern coaching team were happy that the new members bedded in well, although all the damage had been done in the first half hour. Director of Rugby Liam Hughes was confident that a side approaching full strength would have emerged victorious, and is looking to this weeks home game against early season strugglers Maidenhead to test the sides point scoring abilities and for the training to rectify the areas of weakness shown up by a somewhat stuttering performance in the first half.

With the Maidenhead match followed by another home game against early season league leaders Weston super Mare, Malvern look to secure a couple of meaningful results as some of the walking wounded come back into action and the recent debutants bed into the system more.

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