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Home > News > Injury hit Malvern just pipped in epic encounter
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Your News Injury hit Malvern just pipped in epic encounter
03
MAR

Walsall 21 Malvern 19

Although they top the table, Malvern went into this encounter at Delves Road as the underdogs, due to the ever-lengthening injury list and non-availability of some key players. A much-changed line-up faced the wind, sun and a buoyant Walsall side in the first half, expecting a battle. They were not disappointed as the Staffordshire team, trying to get back to Midlands One at the first attempt, came out of the blocks on fire. They pinned Malvern back in their own 22 metre area from the start and starved the visitors of ball, taking the lead with a fifth minute penalty. Forced to defend as the red-shirted home side put in wave after wave of attack, the Malvern line repulsed further incursions until the 13th minute, when the outside centre broke to the corner to increase Walsalls lead. As Malvern continued to defend, the penalty count grew and another three points were added halfway through the first period. As Walsall continued to batter away at Malverns rearguard, a lazy clearance kick was charged down by Ted Lang, the young centre fielding the ball to feed Stewart Clarke for the flanker to pull back a try for Malvern and make the half time score 11-5, keeping an increasingly battered visiting side in touch. Owen Jones had left the field with a recurrence of a hamstring problem after 15 minutes and second row Dave Smith took a very painful knee to the kidneys which signalled the end of his participation, leaving Chris Smith to battle in the line out single handed. With Phil Rawle proving inspirational in the number eight slot, the much lighter Malvern pack continued to battle on, and two minutes into the second half attacked Walsall, Hooper breaking and setting Watkins away, the final pass frustratingly dropped to deny a lead-taking score. The resurgent Malvern side took the game back to the hosts until the home team countered with a converted try and penalty to seemingly put them into the safety zone.

Malvern had other ideas and a pivotal moment came when Rawles massive hit stopped the home inside centre in his tracks. Malvern took heart and suddenly it was Walsall under the cosh as Malvern attacked. With five minutes left and Walsall with a man in the sin-bin, Lang broke, Hooper joined the line and Streather ran in a try to bring it back to 21-12. A potential match saving penalty was missed before Walsall, now in a state of panic, had another player binned. Streather went on the loop with two minutes left and scored, converting the try himself, but time ran out on a brave Malvern fight back.

Robins: Proud of every last man.

David Robins, Malverns Director of Rugby, said We came here expecting damage limitation, but in the end we were so close to stealing a win we can rue our poor place kicking for that, but it wouldnt be fair to apportion blame. Im proud of every last man who took the field in a Malvern shirt today. With our selection already in disarray due to a growing injury list, adding to that list during the game was a serious setback. However, the lads took everything that Walsall threw at them and showed exactly the sort of spirit that has made us front runners for most of the season. From the old stagers like Steve Cooper to youngsters like Will Clee and Stewart Clarke, they can be proud of their performance.

Robins now faces a nervous few days as injured players hopefully mend by this Saturdays visit of Stratford to Spring Lane. Needing three wins from the final four matches to ensure automatic promotion, he is hoping for some quick recoveries amongst the walking wounded. One consolation is the addition to the squad of England Under 18 stand-off George Crook to augment a seriously depleted back division.

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