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The only way is victory for Malvern in friendly
3:56pm Monday 2nd September 2013 in Rugby
A SHARP Malvern side batted off Woodford 39-15 in their second pre-season friendly at Spring Lane.
Led by ex-Malvern hooker Andy Murphy, the Essex side were promoted to the equivalent level in the southeast last season.
Although the hosts attacked their opponents’ line early on, they conceded a penalty which allowed Woodford to go ahead with a catch-anddrive move.
However, this only fired up Malvern and the ball was worked for Ryan Watkins who went through to level.
Outstanding new playercoach Alan Keylock put in the first of many carries to set up another foray into visiting territory. Malvern’s incisive backs were too much as skipper Ieuan Mustow powered through for the lead.
They stretched the advantage further as superior fitness told alongside impressive defensive work.
Mustow ran in a try from 60 metres after a turn-over and James Doorbar converted.
Malvern piled on the pressure, stealing a line-out, and, although Bill Clee was caught, the ball was retrieved for Richard Fleming to score with the conversion rebounding off the post.
Woodford lost the ball in the Malvern 22 and Fleming broke, feeding winger Nick Clarke to speed over.
Doorbar’s extra two points brought a satisfactory half to a close at 29-5 to Malvern.
Head coach Nick Tisdale rang the changes, bringing on emerging players, and Malvern’s play became disjointed, especially at scrums, but they still defended well.
In the late stages, Woodford bagged a second try but Malvern hit back when Tom Longley broke to find James Southall with the key pass.
From the restart, Southall charged forward from a penalty and Nathan Dunford scored the final Malvern try.
Woodford dummied the ball to complete the scoring by diving over.
Malvern forwards Keylock, Jonathan Bywater and Richard Preece foraged well, while James Hynes’ return gave plenty of front-row bulk. Dave Smith and Richard Hobbs played their part.
- Ledbury retained their Midlands Three West (South) place for 2013-14, have been encouraged by pre-season training so far.
Chairman of rugby Stephen Burgess said: “The players have responded by turning up in excellent numbers.
“We started off in the first week in July with an average of just over 20 attending but, as news spread of the quality of training, this soon increased and over the last few weeks we have seen mid- 30s every session.
“I know Paul and his team are particularly pleased at the mix we have seen which includes last year’s firstteam squad, a number of new players and numerous youngsters from our thriving junior section.”