Basement duel lost as Longton prevail
By Peter Woods
Longton 43 Malvern 5
Malvern, already resigned to relegation after a season peppered with horrendous injuries, travelled to Longton in the Potteries on Saturday with a much depleted side. Late call offs made it an even more difficult task to match the fellow strugglers, who were also hit by injuries. All that there was to play for was pride, and the home side prevailed in that department also. As the Malvern line out failed to make the most of a penalty advantage, Longton moved the ball wide for their speedy winger to score in the corner. In a game plagued by penalties and errors Malvern tried to use the strong wind to effect, but with so many players forced to play in unfamiliar positions, attacks broke down before they got into the home half. after turning the ball over, Longton put in a couple of forward drives resulting in a second try. the Potteries men, scenting blood, then ran in a further try to end the half 17-0 ahead.
Longton, now with the wind advantage, won a penalty in the Malvern 22 area and the ball fizzed out to their winger for the bonus point try. Malvern then lost another player to injury as the jinx continued, with stalwart Richard Hobbs coming on but even with his added experience the Spring Lane side were unable to halt the tide as Longton's confidence grew. Malvern responded with a good drive by the pack, which had matched the home team's much heavier unit all afternoon, but lost the ball in open play and Longton countered to score once more. Malvern then conceded again as once more they lost their own line-out, then from the restart Longton collected and ran through Malvern's midfield to score a final try. Malvern finally put in a spirited driving maul to go deep into home territory and Jon Wills, playing in an unfamiliar role at scrum half, darted over to rescue Malvern from the indignity of being "nilled". An outbreak of handbags at the end of the game did stir the blood somewhat, but in truth, this fixture, which would not have altered the relegation situation, was a desultory affair.
Malvern now face local rivals Hereford on Friday evening under the lights at Ledbury's Ross Road ground in the rearranged fixture, when it is hoped thst local pride will spark a far better performance. Kick off is at 8.00pm