The Eds travelled the fifty miles to enjoy Malvern’s hospitality and a game which saw two well-matched sides at the top end of their League Table slugging it out for 80 minutes. An unusual tally of 3 yellow cards presented the Eds with additional challenges and may have been the deciding factor as the advantage swung back and forth. Both sides had to work hard to find ways of breaching the opposing defences.
Malvern showed good continuity with early possession until a turnover took the Eds upfield to within a few metres of the Malvern line. A dangerous Malvern attack on their right flank was ended with an Eds’ deliberate knock-on which was rightly yellow-carded. Soon after, Malvern won their line-out 5m out and their well-rehearsed catch-and-drive yielded the first try: 5-0. Five minutes later, the Eds returned the favour with their own catch-and-drive try for No2 Tom Leeson who had a fine game: 5-5.
Eds No14 Jake Holder made a strong run on the left wing only for his pass to be spilled. Malvern went through several phases of good continuity but the Eds’ defence held firm. No8 Ryan Hatch won a line-out ball and then, to both his and your correspondent’s astonishment, was yellow-carded for stamping. Even though a player short it was the Eds who scored next as a 20m drive culminated in a trademark dummy to score from No6 George Parker: 5-12.
The second half saw a strong start from the home side as the Eds’ defence scrambled to keep them from scoring. A third yellow card for the Eds again handed the numerical advantage to Malvern although the Eds’ forwards managed to drive their way out of the 22. Malvern were on top for fifteen minutes and scored when their No10 passed to his No12 and looped around for the return pass to release his backs for an expansive score:12-12.
The winning try came several minutes later when, again moving right to left, the Malvern backs produced a scissors move to release their No8 into space to score: 19-12.
Eds finished strongly seeking to level the score but the home defence held out for their win.
The return fixture on 28th March is one to look forward to.
Final score: 19-12
Old Eds’ Scorers:
Tries: T Leeson, G Parker
Conversion: T Young
Old Eds First Team: G Cartwright, T Leeson, D Oldham, R Singh, B Carter, G Parker, P King, R Hatch, W Canning, R Southall, J Harrison, J Darlaston, D Elkerton, J Holder, T Young
Bench (both used):, B Jones, T Smith