MALVERN came up short in their bid to win the RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup after being overpowered by a physical and well-organised Leighton Buzzard outfit 32-16 in the final.

Buzzard, who were reduced to 14 men after just 10 minutes when their centre was sent off, dominated for large parts and didn’t look like a team who were a man light.

The visitors tried valiantly and despite hints of a comeback the hosts were worthy winners and their physicality was the crucial factor.

More than 100 supporters made the two-hour trip on three coaches to support Malvern but ultimately saw their team beaten by the better side.

There was a significant slope to the pitch and the feeling among fans beforehand was that whoever made the most of it would come out on top but that wasn’t to be the case.

Malvern started well and went 3-0 up after a few minutes when Dan Batty slotted a penalty from about 35 yards as they attacked up the hill.

Things got even better after 14 minutes when a late tackle from the Buzzard centre was punished by a red card and all of a sudden the Malvern supporters were starting to dream.

However, Buzzard didn’t let it affect them and continued to push the away side back in the tackle.

Their scrum was so powerful that Malvern lost numerous ball against the head.

They made the most of the slope and scored two tries through defensive errors out wide and a powerful driving maul to go 10-3 up.

Batty reduced the deficit with a penalty but Buzzard finished the half well and scored again in the corner as their big winger crashed over to make it 15-6. With Malvern attacking downhill with a man up, there was a belief Buzzard would tire and the visitors could mount a comeback.

But from the outset of the second period it was clear Malvern had met a better team on the day and a penalty in the early exchanges opened up an 18-6 lead.

The faint hint of a revival started thereafter as they worked their way into Leighton territory and after a string of penalties won a lineout just 10 metres from the line.

A powerful driving maul gained momentum and Charlie Kerr celebrated his first try as a senior. But Buzzard forced Malvern back and scored two more tries to put the game to bed.

Malvern refused to lie down and gave the large support something to cheer as winger Lewis Hardiman scored in the corner after build-up in the backs.

At the final whistle disappointment was etched on faces but overall the team did themselves and their loyal supporters proud.

By the time the coaches left for home spirits were high and there was a realisation of just how well this team had done to even get this far.