MALVERN RFC drew for a third game in five matches on Saturday as their rather remarkable start to the 2023/24 season continued with a 17-17 tie at Stow-on-the-Wold. 

After draws with Hereford on the opening day of the Regional 2 Midlands West season (20-20) and last weekend at home to Ludlow (21-21), Malvern registered a third draw of the campaign with another impressive performance in the Cotswolds. 

Stow were first on the scoreboard when a penalty was kicked to the corner and the subsequent driving lineout was pushed over the line. The conversion was missed and the score remained at 5-0.

It was all a little scrappy from the visitors and they fell further behind on the half-hour mark when as their ill-discipline was punished by their hosts with a converted score to push the lead to 12-0.

As they did at home to Ludlow last weekend, Malvern fought their way back into the contest and after some hard yards were made by the forwards, Harvey Smedley was able to dart over with a good finish before adding the conversion to make it 12-7.

The lead was further reduced just before the break when Smedley kicked a penalty and at half-time it was just a two-point game at 12-10.

The away side began the second half on the front foot but despite having a fair amount of possession, they could not quite turn their territorial advantage into points. 

And when Niall Potter Farrant was sent to the bin for an infringement at the ruck, all of a sudden it was the hosts who had their tails up and that ended up in a five-point score that saw them re-take the lead. 

Stow had a man shown a yellow card as the game continued to hang in the balance and after failing to make their pressure count earlier in the half, Malvern did not make the same mistake when they were back up to 15 players on the pitch. 

Replacement prop John Clark powered his way over from close-range following some strong carries close to the Stow line. Smedley silenced the home supporters with his conversion to seal a draw. 

Malvern have a week off this week but return with a trip to Moseley Oak in a fortnight.