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1st XV - Match centre

Nuneaton Old Edwardians
Sat 22 Apr 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 2 West (South) Full time

Malvern 25 Old Eds 19

Old Eds Go Down Fighting

Old Eds made the long trip to sunny Malvern needing a win to be certain of avoiding relegation. A hard-fought game ensued as Malvern made it plain they were in no mood to make matters easy for their visitors. Despite leading at half-time, the Eds were pegged back, with Malvern’s winning try coming in the 48th minute of the second half. Final score 25-19 to Malvern.

Malvern started well but, as the half progressed, the Eds dominated both possession and territory and spent long phases in the Malvern 22, pounding away at the Malvern line. It has to be said that Malvern’s defence was excellent, and they will have been relieved to concede just one try in the half by hooker George Parker from a scrum five metres out. Cynicism also played a part as a Malvern player accepted his yellow card for a likely try-saving infringement. Half-time: 0-5 to the Eds.

The second half started well for the Eds as Parker second try, converted by Tom Short, extended the lead to 0-12. Soon after a Malvern penalty was reversed for stamping. A long-range try by the pacey Malvern backs took the score to 5-12. Tom Short was yellow-carded and Malvern kicked to reduce the deficit to 8-12. This was followed by another break-away by the Malvern backs, scoring again from long-range as the full-back supported his centre to touch-down to go into the lead: 13-12.

Sam Southall, now installed at scrum-half took advantage of slack Malvern defence to take Ryan Hatch’s pass from the back of an Eds’ scrum on the half-way line, and weave gloriously through the Malvern defence to score without a hand laid on him. Eds now in front: 13-19.

Malvern were finishing well, and the referee invited Josh Trowell to take ten minutes rest for not retreating ten metres from a Malvern penalty. A Malvern try ensued, although the conversion came back off the post to leave the Eds in front by a solitary point at 18-19 with thirty-eight minutes played. As the clock ticked past 40 minutes, Eds supporters were hopeful of victory. The minutes continued to tick by, Josh returned to the field, the shadows lengthened. The Eds pack once more made inroads into Malvern territory and were in control. However, they failed to use the ball when instructed by the referee, and gave away the penalty. Malvern’s backs again made full use of possession and scored a wonderful try from over sixty metres to joyfully celebrate relegating the Eds in the forty-eighth minute of the half. Final score 25-19.

The Eds can only wonder how the match got away from them. In hindsight, maybe they should have kicked for goal when awarded penalties in the first half. Your reporter would also point to the outstanding determined defensive effort of Malvern forwards, particularly in the second quarter, complemented by the enigmatic variations of the Malvern backs. For their part, the Eds pack dominated their counterparts for much of the match, and their efforts would have defeated most sides in this league.

In other key matches, Barkers Butts continued their late season winning run by defeating Spartans. Leamington’s win over Pinley snuffed out any remaining Eds’ hopes of staying up.

A great shame to see the Old Eds relegated, particularly as this young side were clearly developing during the course of the season and would have done well in this division next year. In the final analysis, results from earlier in the season came back to haunt them.

Old Eds: G Cartwright, G Parker, D McAdam, Z Cooper, B Jones, B Carter, P King, R Hatch, T Short, C Quick, J Trowell, A Cape, T Brown, L Roberts, S Southall
Subs: J Deans, R Singh, D Wilkins, A Wilson

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
6. Earlsdon 22 62
7. Pinley 22 49
8. Southam 22 47
9. Leamington 22 44
10. Barkers Butts 22 42
11. Nuneaton Old Edwardians 22 40
12. Dunlop 22 3

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