DIRECTOR of rugby Dave Irish has urged his Malvern RFC side to ‘not relax until the final whistle’ after Nuneaton Old Edwardians almost snatched victory at Spring Lane.
Malvern were in a strong position at half time as they led 13-0 thanks to tries from Will Clee and Tom Hale and Irish was hoping to see his side kick on after the break.
But instead Irish felt his side produced a disappointing second half display which allowed the visitors back into the contest as they got within three points before some desperate defending at the death secured Malvern a 13-10.
This result got the Worcestershire side back to winning ways in Midlands Two West (South) after their crushing 44-10 defeat to Newbold last week, but Irish was left frustrated by the scoreline.
“Overall we were worth the win, but we need to continue our pressure game for the full 80 minutes,” he said.
“Being 13-0 up at the break was OK but not great and we need to put more points on the board and not relaxing until the final whistle.
“We had a few changes today which caused a few stutters, but we still took four points from the game. We now have a week off before visiting bottom side Old Coventrians before the visit of unbeaten league leaders Old Laurentians, and we will be training hard to work on several areas which need improvement.”
Malvern made a bright start and Laurie Essenhigh, who was making his first start at scrum half, made a break and found Hale to take Malvern to within five metres of the line.
The ball was moved quickly across field and Clee ran in the opening score.
Ben King was unable to add the extras as his attempt hit the upright, but he soon made amends with a penalty to extend his side’s lead. This came moments after Nuneaton missed an opportunity at goal and this was as close as they came in the opening period.
Despite the wet conditions, Malvern continued to run at their opponents and they got their rewards just before the interval when Hale went over.
The half time interval appeared to come at the wrong time for the hosts as they began to lose their shape in the second half.
Nuneaton, meanwhile, slowly edged back into the match as their forwards started to take control. A penalty cut back the deficit before Nuneaton scored under the posts to set up a simple conversion.
Malvern then lost Richard Fleming when he was sin-binned and suddenly it was Old Eds who looked the most likely to claim all four points.
But Irish’s men dug deep and saw out the remaining minutes to the relief of the Spring Lane faithful.