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Home > News > Malvern 27 - Burton 15
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Your News Malvern 27 - Burton 15
14
APR

“We’re halfway there.” This was the verdict of Malvern’s Director of Rugby David Robins after his side had despatched a feisty Burton side at Spring Lane on Saturday. It had all so nearly gone wrong when a blatant knock on was missed by the referee and 29 players stopped to await the whistle. It didn’t come and the Burton winger touched down for the visitors to equalise the scores at 15-15 and give the home crowd a nervous final 20 minutes.

The game had started with Malvern attacking from the kick off. Richard Fleming used his strength and pace to carry the ball for 20 metres despite the attentions of several Burton defenders, winning a 2nd minute penalty for Hooper to take the early lead. The Staffordshire side hit back straight away and saw a penalty hit the post, but five minutes later they drew level as Malvern were penalised for not releasing. On a dry and breezy day, made for running rugby, Malvern then obliged by running out of defence, skipper Ryan Watkins breaking to link up with support in the middle of the field, hooker Luke Greenwood taking the final pass to outpace the defence and score under the posts for Hooper to convert. At 10-3 and with their tails up, the Malvern players went through the full repertoire, only stifled by some good defence from Burton and increasingly quick whistle from the referee, Mr Burton, who only seemed to penalise one team for most of the afternoon. Putting together some adventurous moves Malvern continued to dominate, Ryan Henshaw and Owen Jones proving a threat. However, the referee again interrupted the flow of play with some suspect decisions, enabling Burton to regroup. A Malvern attack then split open the Burton defence but the final pass was forward, The Burton back row seized the loose ball after the scrum and worked their way into Malvern’s half, a good move down the narrow channel producing a try five minutes before the break to bring them back to 10-8. With a minute to go, Malvern won a penalty to 8 metres from the Burton line. The inevitable catch and drive move was well controlled and lock Nick Tisdale grounded the ball to restore a seven point lead.

The second half was a different story. With the strong wind in their favour, Burton came out strongly and used the breeze to play a kicking game, pinning the Spring Lane side in their own half for 20 minutes of relentless pressure. Malvern’s line out, so strong in the first half, wasn’t working well and some poor clearances handed the advantage back to Burton. However, a superb defensive performance by the whole Malvern team kept the Staffordshire men at bay. Ironically, Malvern were starting to respond by attacking Burton from deep when the infamous knock-on occurred, allowing Burton to draw level. Realising the danger they faced, Malvern upped the game and started to take the game back to Burton. Jamie Gwynne put in a fine kick ahead, chasing up well to put the Burton defence on the back foot. A rare Malvern penalty, for not releasing the ball, was awarded by the referee with six minutes left. As everyone expected Malvern to opt for the kick at goal, Owen Jones took the defence and the spectators by surprise to take a tap and run; Stewart Clarke backed him up and went over in the corner. The large crowd went duly wild, most of the noise generated by relief as much as joy. After the restart Clarke suffered a cracked rib and Chris Smith went on to add stability to the line out. At the next throw in the ball was quickly whipped out to Tim Streather, who was able to show his electric pace to great effect as he left the whole defensive cover standing as he sped through to seal the victory and set up Hooper’s conversion.

Robins was delighted with the outcome, but very unhappy with the poor refereeing. “ The contentious try , which the referee admitted afterwards was his mistake, has cost us dearly in terms of points difference, allowing Hereford to edge slightly ahead of us in that department. Having said that, this was a super result for us. We didn’t hammer home our advantage in the first half – we could have had three more scores – and Burton had a great 20 minutes at the start of the second half to come level with us. Their scrum half put our back row under pressure at the set pieces and our line out wasn’t working well for a time, but we got it back together in the last quarter. Owen Jones was my Man of the Match today – his tactical awareness was outstanding, as shown by his tapped penalty to give us back the lead, and he was non-stop around the park. Burton are a good side and we had to fight all the way. Our back line looked good today and was only stopped from adding to the score by some dubious decisions. Richard Fleming had an excellent game until injured and skipper Ryan Watkins was immense in defence- he was conceding about two stones to his opposite number and dropping him every time. Tim Streather’s pace was seen to brilliant effect, and his presence on the field, along with several other lads who have come from local schools, is a great advertisement for the opportunities we offer to Malvern youngsters – age is no barrier to first team rugby if you have the talent. We now go to Solihull’s Portway ground next week needing to beat them for the first time to secure automatic promotion. A draw is not enough – Hereford are too close to us for that and end their season at Bromsgrove, who are now safe from relegation. The decision to award us a 0-0 win after the Newbold game, where we were 40 points ahead when the scrums went uncontested during a 70-0 win, could yet hurt us. However, our players are all totally committed to bringing the title and promotion to Malvern.”

Chairman Peter Doran, leader of the unsung backroom staff at Malvern, made a plea to all Malvern supporters. “We want to see as many Malvern supporters at Portway as possible next Saturday. Our lads deserve as much encouragement as we can give them in return for some of the superb rugby they have dished up for us this season. They all say that the support gives them a big lift, so let’s have a huge turnout on Saturday to cheer them on.”

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