MALVERN came within a whisker of winning their league opener at Hereford but had to settle for a 20-20 draw in an enthralling game at Wyeside. 

Vern absorbed plenty of early pressure but were able to work their way back into the contest and Lewis Hardiman’s penalty put them into the lead before Ieuan Mustow scored under the posts to give Malvern a 10-0 half-time lead. 

Malvern Gazette:

The hosts started the second half strongly and two tries brought them level, before another Hardiman penalty pushed Malvern back into the lead. 

Hereford scored their third as the game swung back in the hosts’ favour heading towards the final 10 minutes.

Malvern Gazette:

Malvern had done plenty of defending in the second period but regained the lead when Henderson Jonathan raced under the posts. Hardiman’s perfect day from the tee continued as the score moved to 20-15. 

But the game wasn’t done there and the hosts scored their fourth and bonus point try to draw level but crucially for Malvern, the conversion was missed.

And with time up, a penalty 40 metres out was awarded to the away side. Hardiman stepped up and struck it well, but the ball fell agonisingly wide of the upright and the final whistle blew.

There was obvious disappointment after the game given how close the visitors had come to a win, but head coach and player Ieuan Mustow admitted he was "pretty content" with the end result. 

"We worked really hard there and it feels like a bit of a loss to be honest but to come away to Hereford, a difficult way to start the season, I am pretty content with two points," he said. 

"Lewis had the chance to win it at the death but I am not going to hold that against him, he is a brilliant player and on other days he will nail that kick.

"There are plenty of things to work on with some of the new rules but we have to adapt.

"The momentum is back with us after having a difficult pre-season with only playing one game so I am very content with two points, it feels like we are where we need to be going into Worcester this weekend."