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RUGBY UNION: Malvern get stuck in the Weston mud
9:51am Friday 18th January 2013 in Local
MALVERN were outpowered in the Weston-superMare mud as the thirdplaced side completed a 24-3 win in National League Three South West.
On a pitch that resembled the beach just after the tide had gone out, third-from-bottom Malvern were always going to struggle against a much heavier pack.
But the Spring Lane men competed throughout in the tight until the last quarter of the game.
Weston put them under pressure from the off but the defence held out until the seventh minute.
The hosts had two scrums deep in Malvern territory and loosehead prop Dave Swann went over from close in.
Malvern attacked by booting for territory though it may have been a better idea to find touch and put pressure on the home kicker.
However, they stuck to their guns and kept moving the ball around despite the cold wind and sticky ground.
After a missed Malvern penalty, Weston relieved the pressure on their line and a catch-and-drive from a lineout was trundled over for hooker Dave Burge to score and James Mackay convert.
Malvern responded as Luke Milton’s clever kick found touch deep in Weston territory and they drove their opponents back with Adam Dixon kicking the penalty.
They then dominated for the rest of the half, growing in confidence, but could not break down a resolute defence and Dixon’s longrange penalty fell short.
The second-half started with aimless kicking as they struggled to play in the worsening conditions.
Dixon collected an ankle injury and Tom Hale came on at wing with the midfield reshuffled.
However, the most significant change came from Weston. They used the rolling substitute rule to bring back the extra strength of Swann and their tactics suited the conditions, keeping the ball in the pack.
Deep in the Malvern half, they won a series of penalties, each time opting for the scrum, and ultimately the referee awarded a penalty try, converted by Mackay on the hour. The visitors were unable to escape the Weston stranglehold and lock Ashley Russell went over with eight minutes left to secure the bonus point.
But Malvern matched the much-heavier Weston unit for an hour.