Malvern too good for Evesham new boys
Evesham 17 Malvern 39
Malvern made the short journey to Worcestershire rivals Evesham for the first fixture between the clubs in over 15 years. The newly promoted home team started enthusiastically but were caught offside far too often as Malvern opened well. Following a penalty and line out Malvern's pack drove over to open the scoring and Rob Cook
converted. The home side replied with a penalty for not rolling away, but Malvern responded when a Cook break saw the ball finding its way into the hands of skipper Tom Hale
, who powered through to score and give Cook the extra points. Malvern were shipping penalties at the breakdown as they seemed to find it difficult to adjust to the law changes, and Evesham were rewarded as they made their way to the Malvern line. Despite some good defensive work the Avonsiders finally forced their way over to score a converted try to bring them to within four points. however, as they were again caught offside, Cook's penalty nudged Malvern further ahead. Further scoring chances went begging as Malvern again infringed and conceded penalties, but despite heavy rain showers and a slippery ball, they continued to run the ball. Stealing an Evesham line out, they worked the ball well, Hale breaking, passing to Ben King
who fed debutant scrum half George Parsons
for his first Malvern try, Cook's conversion giving Malvern a12 point lead at the break.
After a half time discussion about the penalty count, Malvern improved that part of the game in the second half as they played up the slope. Luke Milton
made some fine breaks from full back as Malvern probed at the Evesham defence. Applying patience in the build up, Malvern worked their way up the right hand side , Mossie Tauribau took on the ball and fed Hale for the bonus point try. A knock on in front of their own line by Malvern saw Evesham putting them under pressure and they drove over in the corner to score a converted try. however, as Malvern came back at them, Evesham's centre deliberately knocked on and Cook made no mistake with the penalty. As the game went on Malvern's superior fitness told, and as they rang the changes, Liam Roleston
went on for his first ever game at prop, replacing loose head Dominic Murphy and acquitting himself well. Murphy had taken the sting out of Evesham's big tight head and Roleston continued the job, whilst Glen Potter
and Craig Freeman
were steadfast all afternoon. With the Adam Green
/Jon Bywater second row dominating the line out, Evesham were starved of good ball and Will Brown
, Tauribau and Sam Parsons
in the back row stifled and harried all afternoon. Whilst wingers Tom Williams
and Conor Giggle
had a fairly quiet afternoon, it was the centre partnership which had the last say, Ben King
going over for the final try, Cook again making sure with the boot.
A solid start to the league campaign gave Director of Rugby Rob Cook
some satisfaction, although he was well aware that a lot of work still needs to be done, especially at the breakdown, as players still come to terms with the law changes. Malvern now have a blank Saturday, returning to action in two weeks with their first home game against relegated Kenilworth.