MALVERN’S five match losing streak came to an end – and in some style – as they powered to a comfortable 41-10 victory over Barkers Butts on Saturday.
Last week’s 22-11 defeat at Walsall, which left Malvern in the Midlands One West relegation zone, appeared to wake the Worcestershire outfit up as they burst out of the blocks at Spring Lane.
After Nathan Dunford opened the scoring with a coolly dispatched penalty, Malvern struck twice in five minutes. Firstly, Ben Essenhigh used his pace to great effect to score before hooker James Swain crashed over to give his side a 15-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes.
Barkers were struggling to cope with their opponents’ high-tempo rugby, while Malvern were also competing well against the visitors’ heavier pack.
And while the Coventry-based outfit missed the chance to close the gap with a penalty, Malvern seemed to be clinical at every opportunity.
The hosts moved further ahead on the half hour mark after a catch and drive saw flanker Alan Keylock over the whitewash, which Dunford converted.
But it was Barkers who had the first final say in the half. With a couple of minutes remaining before the break, the visitors drove forward and Alan Southwell touch down.
Half-time brought a dramatic change in the elements as the heavens opened, which played into Barkers’ hands. They kept the ball tight in the forwards and retained possession for long periods.
But Malvern’s defence held firm and unlike in previous matches this season they refused to let the lead slip.
The conditions made handling difficult as Barkers fumbled at the line-out, which Ieuan Mustow was quick to pounce on. The skipper then sprinted clear to score, which Dunford again converted.
The away side hit back moments later with a try from hooker Owen Whittle who was forced over the line.
But Nick Tisdale’s men made sure they finished the game in the ascendancy as they added two further tries to their haul. A kick and chase put Richard Jeynes in to score before Malvern rounded off the win with a try from Richard Preece in the dying seconds.
The morale-boosted side will now travel to struggling Berkswell and Balsall, who have yet to notch up a win all season, next Saturday (3pm).