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Home > News > Malvern 36 - Chippenham 43
Your News Malvern 36 - Chippenham 43

Although Malvern were again out-powered physically by a massive Chippenham pack, they fought to the end in atrocious conditions, only losing by seven tries to six. With a bare-bones selection, the pack more than held their own at the scrum despite giving away around a stone a man. An impressive debut at prop by John Davies and an equally solid performance by replacement prop Charles Rambridge negated much of the Chippenham weight advantage. With Jamie Tsang again putting in a tremendous amount of work in the tight and around the field and the rest of the pack marauding as though their lives depended on it, the spectators were treated to a festival of rugby. Both sides love to run the ball and this was evident from the off as Malvern piled in to Chippenham for the first 10 minutes. However, a penalty saw them clear their lines for a line out from which blind side flanker John Boddington went over for a try against the run of play. Malvern hit back within a couple of minutes as they worked their way up a narrow channel, Rory Gratwohl making yards and Tom Longley was on hand to outpace the defence for an equalising try. The scorekeepers were kept busy as Chippenham responded almost immediately as they secured the ball from the restart and moved it swiftly out to winger Ryan Surry, who went over to retake the lead. As Chippenham again threatened the Malvern defence pushed forward and Ieuan Mustow was on hand to intercept and run over half the length of the field to score and set up Tom Redferns conversion to take the lead for Malvern. However, the lead only lasted for a minute as some indecision at the restart saw Malvern concede possession and centre Rupert Crockett cut through to score under the posts and give scrum half Lewis Surry his first two points of the day. Chippenham then tightened the game up, using a mixture of accurate long kicks to get deep into Malvern territory, then putting in driving mauls which the lighter Malvern pack struggled to contain. After a series of scrums led to penalties the referee awarded the inevitable penalty try to Chippenham, but again Malvern hit back. Redfern rang the changes, kicking away from the Chippenham forwards and some slick handling by the Malvern backs ended with James Southall scoring in the corner to keep the crowd warm on an increasingly wet and blustery afternoon. Again Malvern fumbled the restart and Chippenham collected and put in a driving maul to the line for lock Aaron Ascott to touch down just before the half time whistle, leaving Chippenham 17-29 up.

Malvern started the second half defending resolutely as Chippenham again used the maul and pick and drive to try and increase their advantage. However, the defence remained secure, even though the dynamic Richard Hobbs was sin-binned, followed a few minutes later by visiting scrum half Surry. As Malvern attacked the Chippenham half, it was the visitors turn for a bit of luck as outside centre Hugh Campbell was the recipient of an interception, which allowed them to stretch their lead to 19 points after Sam Saunders conversion. Still Malvern refused to lie down, putting in controlled phases in the pack and driving to the Chippenham line, Tom Redfern nipping in to score. The next 10 minutes saw Malvern controlling the game and Rory Gratwohl was rewarded for the immense amount o work he had put in when he came off the back of a scrum to score, giving Nathan Dunford the conversion and bringing Malvern back to within one score. With 5 minutes left, Chippenham were awarded another penalty and from a resulting scrum Lewis Surry went over, Saunders converting. However, Malvern were game to the end and a cheeky dummy by Tom Longley saw him clear the defensive line to score, Dunfords conversion securing a losing bonus point to add to the try bonus.

In many ways this highly entertaining game outlined what has gone wrong for Malvern this season. Poor restart collection, too many balls lost at the line-out and lacks of bulk to halt the physicality of many sides have conspired to lose games that were winnable. On the plus side, the spirit and effort put in by the whole side has brought many plaudits from opposition sides, especially the willingness to try and play running rugby at all times. This was in evidence at Spring Lane on Saturday and with the contribution made by Chippenham, gave the spectators a marvellous afternoons rugby.

Malvern make their final away trip of the league season this Saturday, visiting an Exmouth side who have already guaranteed a playoff spot, before switching to Cup duty at Worcester Wanderers the following Saturday.

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