DIRECTOR of rugby and player Rob Cook admitted Malvern were “beaten by the better team” in their RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup final but he was full of admiration for his side.

Malvern got overpowered by Leighton Buzzard as a crowd of more than 500 turned up to support both sides with three coaches of supporters coming from Worcestershire.

But Leighton were too strong in the end as they ran out 32-16 winners and now move on to the national semi-finals.

Cook said the home side deserved their win but he was proud of the effort and application from the squad.

“Yes, proud is the right word,” he said.

“I am proud of the boys and the club itself.

“When we rocked up in the morning at the clubhouse to see the coaches turning up and everyone there to cheer us on and then at the ground all round the touchline it was really good and I think it’s ultimately been a good day for the club.

“On the pitch we were beaten by the better side.

“I said to the boys before the game I don’t mind how we play, as long as we perform we will be somewhere close but if we get beaten by the better team I’m not going to be fussed.

“Fair play to Leighton Buzzard, they were the better team.”

The hosts were reduced to 14 men after just 14 minutes when their centre was sent off for a dangerous tackle but Malvern could not capitalise, even with the slope and a man advantage in the second half.

Leighton were too physical and dominated up front for most of the game as Malvern could not gain a foothold in the game.

Cook continued: “They set up a decent platform but we created enough opportunities to get into the game.

“The slope was decent but home advantage made a big difference to them and they were hanging on in the first half as they wanted to play up the slope first.

“But it’s hard, they knew their own pitch and had some good players, the right players in the right positions, and they dominated.

“I wish them the best of luck, they’re a good club and it has just been a great day all-round.

“Yes, I am gutted because we wanted to go all the way but fair play to them, they deserve it.”

Cook was keen to mention the support that made the two-hour trip to the game and expressed how much it meant to the players.

“There are a lot of boys in this team who have been involved in the club for a long time,” he added.

“To have this buzz and three coaches turn up it’s a great day for the club and this is what is building here.

“I have been here three years now and we want days like this. The RFU should be down here watching this because this shows you what is happening at grassroots level and it’s just fantastic really.

“The club is going in the right direction and that’s the main thing."

Cook added before the RFU this week suspended all rugby until April 14: “We have a massive two weeks coming up now. Stratford away (top of the league, on Saturday) and then Nuneaton the following week so it’s not going to get any easier for us.

“The boys know they’ve given a good account of themselves and have done as well as they could and they will be gutted but back in training on Tuesday and ready to go to give some payback to Stratford.”