RELEGATED Malvern’s dismal Midlands One West season ended at Glasshouse Lane with a comprehensive 45-7 defeat by Kenilworth.
However, the scoreline did not tell the whole story as the visitors, fielding several changes, competed well with their hosts while playing into a strong wind in the first-half.
Having conceded an early try after a penalty, Malvern looked by far the more composed side for most of the period. The scrum, with veteran Steve Cooper anchoring at tighthead, looked more solid and held their own, meaning more ball was secured than of late.
But Malvern’s injury jinx continued when loosehead Charles Rambridge succumbed to a back problem early in the half with Alex Easterby coming on to put in a good shift.
As the half progressed, Malvern repeatedly attacked the hosts as both Nick Clark and Tom Hale went close but they could not convert possession into points.
Kenilworth went further ahead against the run of play when their speedy winger was fed on the blind side and sped in from long range to score.
Only two scores down at half-time, Malvern turned round to find the wind had dropped and Kenilworth opted for an open game, popping the ball well and using the speed of their wide players.
Kenilworth’s defence also held up well, stifling repeated forays and running back at speed, which proved to be Malvern’s downfall as five tries were scored.
For all this, Malvern never gave up and continued to press with Richard Preece once more putting in a massive performance.
The game ended with Malvern putting in eight phases within the home 22-metre area and James Southall went over for a late consolation try converted by Adam Dixon.
Malvern now await tomorrow’s visit of Worcester Wanderers, who have been relegated into Midlands One, in the North Midlands Cup semi-finals (3pm).