MALVERN produced a resilient display as they battled back to secure a narrow 13-12 win over Stratford Upon Avon on Saturday.
Two tries in as many minutes just before the break left the Spring Lane outfit trailing 12-7 at half time, but the visitors responded superbly in the second period as Tom Longley landed two penalties to edge his side to victory.
The win is likely to be a huge boost for Nick Tisdale’s men who had suffered an agonising 27-23 home defeat to Stoke on Trent last week.
Malvern showed no signs of that loss affecting them as they burst out of the blocks and eventually opened the scoring. After a dangerous tackle on Tom Hale led to the hosts going a man down, the away side built heavy pressure before Richard Fleming brushed off a number of tacklers to score. Longley added the extras to give Malvern a 7-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The visitors’ defence also appeared to be holding up well and even without Fleming, who was sin-binned, the 14 men of Malvern were containing the Warwickshire side.
However, with just four minutes to go until the interval the match suddenly turned on its head. Full back Joe Cook showed a great turn of pace to go over, which Jake Young converted, before Malvern leaked another try moments later when James Kennedy touched down.
The double blow gave Stratford a five point cushion at the break, but the Worcestershire outfit quickly chipped away at it when Longley landed a penalty after just two minutes of the second half.
Malvern remained on top and soon edged 13-12 in front when Longley coolly dispatched a penalty. But their failure to kick on left for a nervy final few minutes and the home side almost snatched it at the death.
Stratford won a penalty in the dying seconds, but fortunately for Malvern Young’s effort went the wrong side of the post.
Malvern will be hoping to claim back-to-back wins for only the second time this season when they entertain Walsall at Spring Lane on Saturday (2.15 pm).