DIRECTOR of Rugby Dave Irish hailed the “dogged determination” of his players as Malvern eventually put Spartans to the sword at Spring Lane on Saturday.
Two tries from George Roberts gave the hosts a 15-8 lead at the interval, but the Warwickshire side were still in the contest as they began the second half strongly.
However, Malvern withstood a 15-minute spell of intense pressure before running out convincing winners thanks to a Laurie Essenhigh brace and a late score from James Southall.
The 41-8 victory delighted Irish who admitted he was now left with a selection headache ahead of Saturday’s clash against Midlands Two West (South) leaders Newbold.
“Spartans gave us a tough examination and we passed through dogged determination,” Irish said. “The performance of our backs, engineered by some inspired play by man of the match Laurie Essenhigh and James Southall, was exemplary.
“But I also want to highlight our often unsung forwards. We won good line out ball courtesy of Dave Smith and Jack Longley. Dave White and Ben Redler slotted in well in their first games while Grant Fraser and James Redfearn did a difficult job well.
“The fact that we had a couple of first team regulars missing didn’t seem to affect us and leaves me with a bit of a selection headache for next week’s game against table topping Newbold.”
The visitors from Sutton Coldfield started well as they used their forward power to go deep into home territory. But it was Malvern who opened the scoring as Richard Fleming, Luke Milton, Essenhigh and George Withers combined to release Roberts for his first try. Ben King converted and Malvern looked to be well on their way to a comfortable win.
However, Spartans had other ideas as they hit back with a penalty before their well-drilled front eight drove the Malvern pack backwards to claim a pushover try and edge ahead.
A series of handling mistakes threatened to get the better of Malvern, but they continued to plug away and got their reward. A penalty from King gave his side the lead before Roberts finished off a well-worked move.
The second period saw Spartans play to their forward strength and there was a 15-minute period of play when they camped in the Malvern half as they tried to drive the ball over the line.
However, the home defence dug deep to keep them out and their scrum eventually stabilised to negate the threat. Spartans then went a man down and Malvern took full advantage as King slipped the ball inside for Essenhigh to dart through to score.
Liam Rolleston came on and immediately made an impact with a couple of strong runs up the wing as his team sensed victory.
They repeatedly attacked the Spartans line before Essenhigh broke through and scored his second try. Southall then rounded off a fine Malvern performance when he touched down and King converted late on.