Weight plus Speed = Newbold win
By Peter Woods
Newbold on Avon 62 Malvern 3
A depleted Malvern team, with only one on the bench, travelled to the outskirts of Rugby to face a Newbold side challenging for the play off place in the league. From the moment the teams emerged it was evident that Malvern were in for a torrid time up front - the home front row alone probably outweighed the whole Malvern pack! Any thoughts that the extra bulk would slow them down quickly vanished as they proved to be good ball carriers, sharp and fast and adept at popping the ball amongst their whole pack. However gamely Malvern tackled, it wasn't enough to halt the Newbold onslaught as they quickly went into a two try lead before a Rob Cook penalty got Malvern on the scoreboard. With late call offs having disrupted Malvern's selection, the away faithful were given the unusual spectacle of seeing two back row players filling in at centre and wing as Richard Hobbs and Josh Herbert proved their loyalty to an admittedly tough cause. With Jon Wills also out of position at scrum half the Malvern team had a makeshift look in places, but to their credit all of those who played did so with spirit in the face of an opponent bent on a win. Malvern were unlucky not to get a couple of scores on the board as final passes went astray and Newbold seemed to have the rub of the green on the day as well as superior weight advantage. Malvern's scrum held up remarkably well most of the time, but as the game went on were bound to tire and Newbold kept up the pressure on second placed Dudley with a comprehensive win.
President David Robins had some words of encouragement for the Malvern team in the changing room afterwards, saying how proud he was of the commitment shown by the players, when others had perhaps not stood up to the challenge.
Malvern now play their final game of the season on Saturday at 3.00pm, entertaining Old Halesonians as they make their last appearance at this level for now. The team will regroup, bringing in some of the highly successful Colts side who ended their league season with a fine victory away to Shrewsbury, and looking to develop from within as much as possible. Relegation is a bitter pill to swallow, but in a season dogged by injury so much that over 40 players have been used in the first XV, it has to be put in context, and a year or two at the next level down will still give competitive and entertaining rugby for the Malvern faithful to follow.