Malvern return to form with Droitwich drubbing
Malvern 34 Droitwich 22
Malvern took to the field at Spring Lane welcoming back Josh Herbert for his first game in over two years after a serious knee injury. They also gave debuts to scrum half George Biclough and two Colts, Lewis Hardiman and Tom Bill. With thoughts of avenging the comprehensive defeat at Droitwich earlier in the season, Malvern started with an intensity which shook the visitors, tackling like demons to stifle their big, powerful forwards and forcing errors to keep the Saltmen on the back foot. After one promising attack took them close, the Malvern pack shocked the large away support by driving back the Droitwich eight to secure the ball against the head. A bit of quick recycling saw Jasper Windsor-Clive dart through to open the scoring for Malvern. This was soon followed by another near score, Rob Cook grounding but winger Hardiman was adjudged to have just put his foot in touch in the lead up. However, he didn't have to wait long for his debut score. Adam Dixon, using the strong wind to his favour, put the ball into touch 7 metres from the Droitwich line. Although the visitors cleared the ball upfield, more intense tackling secured another turnover as the ball was intercepted and Hardiman showed his blistering pace to outrun the Droitwich defence to score. As Droitwich struggled to fight back, Herbert showed just how much he had been missed with an enormous disruptive tackle, then linking up with Hardiman to set Grant Fraser off on a gallop to score Malvern's third try.
Malvern continued to thwart the visitors with more tenacious tackling and utilising the strong wind kicked downfield. Turning over the ball again, Malvern whipped the ball across the back line for Hardiman to once more turn on the afterburners and score his second try of the day, King converting to give a 22-0 lead at the break.
With Droitwich now benefitting from the strong wind it was imperative that Malvern protected their lead, and did so with a Conor Giggle kick and chase. The Saltmen replied with a try from a 5 metre scrum, but Malvern increased the gap to 5 scores when they patiently too the ball deep into away territory for Sam Parsons to score, King again converting. Droitwich scored again. but Malvern continued to thwart them as changes were made. Fraser made way for the not inconsiderable figure of John Clark, making his first appearance for many years. Two late scores from Droitwich earned them the bonus point, but Malvern's sparkling first half had ensured a long overdue win. With two Colts making their first XV debuts and four more in the second XV, Malvern look to have a bright future even if this season has been a write off because of injury and other disruptions. They now travel to Dudley Kingswinford this Saturday is search of more points.