Much improved Malvern display as DK made to graft
Malvern 10 Dudley Kingswinford 38
Malvern bounced back in performance terms against a strong, high-riding Dudley Kingswinford side at Spring Lane. Although the visitors had much more possession in the first half hour of play, the main features were the Malvern tackling and the set scrummages. Whereas the previous week against Droitwich the tackling had been woeful, against a busy, well-drilled DK team , they more than held their own. The first half was a game of cat and mouse as both sides probed the other, Malvern driving the visiting set scrum back a couple of times even though they were conceding a massive weight advantage. James Tutty made a couple of breaks to take Malvern into away territory before they again destroyed the DK scrum to win a penalty, which Jasper Windsor-Clive slotted home for the lead on the 30 minute mark. George Roberts made his mark with an enormous tackle on his opposite number which met with roars of approval from the Malvern faithful, but DK responded. They showed just why they are early promotion contenders, turning the ball over in the Malvern 22 and scoring a converted try, then doubling their total on the stroke of half time as Malvern tried to run the ball from deep and were penalised for crossing.
The second period began with Malvern once more pressuring the visiting defence, winning a series of penalties as DK strayed offside. The final kick into the red zone was marked, but Dudley gave possession back to Malvern with some sloppy play and Adam Dixon's cross field kick saw Malvern deep into the away 22 once more. A chip through caused some indecision in the defence and Jack Longley was on hand to charge through and win the race to touch the ball down. Windsor-Clive slotted the conversion and Malvern looked to be back in the game at 10-14.
However, DK showed just why they sit near the top as they patiently worked the ball the length of the field, retaining possession to score once more. With Sam Parsons in the sin bin, Malvern conceded a penalty at the scrum as DK's weight advantage began to tell, and the inevitable catch and drive saw them stretch their lead and with it take the bonus point. Malvern never gave up and were far better value than the previous week, but lost Tutty to injury, although they still threatened with the ball in hand. However, strong DK defence kept them at bay and as the game drew to an end scored two more tries to give them a rather flattering 28 point margin.
Malvern can take heart from their performance against a strong, professional side who are sure to be challenging at the end of the season. The first year back at level 6 was always going to prove difficult, and hasn't been helped by an injury list which has denuded the squad of several key players. However, with the exception of league leaders Newbold they now go into a series of what should be winnable games against teams who sit mid table or below. This starts with a tricky visit to Wyeside on Saturday to play Hereford, always an interesting experience. Kick off will be at the earlier time of 2.15pm.