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Malvern drop fears grow
12:34pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in Sport
MALVERN Rugby Club are running out of games to preserve their National League Three status.
They have four South West Division fixtures left after a 32-12 defeat in a Cheltenham mud bath at mid-table Old Patesians.
Following tomorrow’s home game with ninth placed Barnstaple (3pm), third-from-bottom Malvern face teams in the top half of the table, heading to Brixham, entertaining Chippenham and visiting Exmouth.
But, to escape the relegation zone, the Spring Lane side must catch Avonmouth Old Boys, currently five points ahead with a game in hand, by adding to their four victories so far.
In Malvern’s shortest league trip of the season, they discovered the Old Pats pitch was waterlogged before kick-off and it deteriorated during the game.
The hosts opted to start down the considerable slope and announced their intentions at the first scrum, driving the Malvern pack downhill to score the opening try.
Undeterred, Malvern surged deep into home territory with Luke Milton trying to defy the conditions which made handling a lottery.
Although they battered away at the try-line, Old Pats finally cleared their lines at the scrum when superior weight again told.
They forced a clearance kick to touch and, from the line-out, put in a drive to the line with the Old Pats flanker picking up to score in the corner.
Malvern would have been happy with a 10-0 deficit alongside slope and wind advantage in the second-half.
However, Old Pats had other ideas and twice forced scrums which ended in tries and a 22-0 lead at the break.
The second period saw a brighter start by Malvern who spread the ball wide for Tom Hale to score in the corner. But Old Pats drove upfield and responded with another try from a catch and-drive move.
Malvern hit back as TJ Harris finished off a move by scoring under the posts and Nathan Dunford converted.
But Old Pats stifled a visitors’ comeback as a breakaway move ended with a try in the corner.
Malvern will hold a former players’ lunch before the Barnstaple game, meeting at noon for a 12.30pm start.
Anyone interested in booking a place can call Alan Evans on 07971-574946.