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First published in Sport

MALVERN Rugby Club take on fellow Midlands One West mid-table battlers Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow (2.15pm) unsure of the challenge their visitors will provide.

The Spring Lane side pushed them all the way in Staffordshire in September during a 31-16 defeat, even after having prop James Hynes red-carded in the opening 10 minutes.

Despite being down to 14 men, Malvern led until the final 20 minutes when Stoke’s numerical advantage told, which suggests they could overpower them on home soil.

However, Stoke pulled off a massive shock last weekend by thrashing runaway league-leaders Lichfield 35-6 to inflict the table-toppers’ first defeat in 15 outings this term.

Malvern spokesman Peter Woods said: “Stoke are a good, solid side and they put in a great effort to beat Lichfield, but they have won a few and lost a few this season, so who knows?”

Malvern: Milton; Essenhigh, Watkins, Fleming, Hale; Longley, Southall; Snare, Swain, Edwards, Smith, Bywater, Preece, Hillier, Anderson. Replacements: Clark, Dunford, Rambridge.

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