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Spirited Malvern sunk following early red card
1:59pm Friday 4th October 2013 in Sport
FOURTEEN-man Malvern showed fighting spirit before losing 31-16 at Stoke after James Hynes was handed an eighthminute red card.
Looking for their first away points of the season, Malvern started the Midlands One West match at whirlwind pace, turning the ball over at the first ruck and forcing a penalty which went narrowly wide.
They went on the attack again with Alan Keylock punching holes in the home defence and won a second penalty for hands in the ruck which Adam Dixon slotted over.
However, from the restart it all went wrong.
Malvern claimed the Stoke tighthead had their player in a headlock and Hynes got involved.
The referee Nikki O’Donnell saw this but not the original offence, sending off Hynes while the Stoke player got away scot-free.
Some justice was done when the resulting Stoke penalty hit a post.
The hosts, buoyed by their early numerical advantage, forced play into the Malvern half but determined defence kept them at bay until they levelled with a penalty.
Undeterred, Malvern drove deep into Stoke territory with debutant Sam Parsons seemingly everywhere.
The returning Jamie Anderson snapped up the ball as Stoke were turned over again and drove to the line where scrum-half James Southall went over to regain the lead.
From the restart, Stoke countered Malvern’s attack but the referee ignored a blatant crossing move and the hosts equalised with the conversion putting them ahead.
Malvern stuck to their guns and forced penalties as the forwards stretched Stoke to the limit.
When the visitors were in range, Dixon reclaimed the lead at 11-10.
The advantage was held until the last 10 minutes, but the player shortage told as Stoke brought their backs into play more, resulting in three converted tries to put the game beyond Malvern.
However, the Spring Lane men were rewarded for their efforts with a last-minute try from hooker James Swain.
Ieuan Mustow’s leadership spurred the team on, while the mobility of Keylock and Parsons in the back row, allied to the extra punch added by Anderson, saw Malvern dominate the scrums.
Hynes’ replacement Charles Rambridge, who stepped up from the lower sides, did not disgrace himself, while Swain’s throwing ensured line-out dominance as Dave Smith and Nick Tisdale were solid in the second row.
Malvern, fourth-frombottom after one victory from the first four league fixtures, host winless basement boys Stratford tomorrow (3pm).
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