DIRECTOR of rugby David Irish says Old Laurentians have shown Malvern what is required to push for promotion after they put his side to the sword on Saturday.
The Rugby side, who are currently edging Newbold-on-Avon at the top of Midlands Two West (South), continued their unbeaten season with a 36-14 victory over Malvern.
Irish, who took over at Spring Lane last summer, said he was satisfied with his side’s performance and with their league position as they can finish no lower than fifth.
But he admitted Malvern, who were playing in National Three two years ago before back-to-back relegations, would be looking to put together a promotion bid next season.
“We have to have a measure of what is needed to win this league and this game and those against Newbold have shown us what is required,” he said.
“I’m proud of the lads and the way they didn’t give up playing the Malvern way.
“As our target at the beginning was a top six finish we can be fairly satisfied with our performance overall as we rebuild and aim for promotion next season.”
Playing into a strong wind in the first half, Malvern were forced to defend as the hosts used the elements to their advantage, with their well-drilled backs forcing some herculean defence from the Spring Lane men.
Despite this, Malvern still tried to play their own trademark running game, which included a couple of fine runs from winger Liam Roleston – the second of which brought an amazing try-saving tackle.
Just before that, OLs had gone ahead with a try as they finally breached the Malvern defence and they finished the half strongly, bringing a fine tackle from Conor Giggle.
However, as they continued to test the Malvern defence, they won a penalty on the stroke of half time to lead 10-0.
With the wind now at their backs, Malvern could feel they now had the upper hand and that a ten-point gap was comfortably within their sights.
Malvern put in some fine attacking moves but a mixture of over-elaboration, rushed passes and good OLs defence meant they were unable to breach the home line.
They also suffered a setback when Ben King was sin-binned and OLs took full advantage as they extended their advantage with a converted try before intercepting a pass for their third score.
OLs then turned up the heat with some blistering pace as they bagged the bonus point.
Malvern, however, refused to give in and responded with a try from Laurie Essenhigh who showed his speed of thought and movement by taking a quick tap and burrowing over. King converted.
OLs were quick to respond and put their opponents under a lot of pressure to score another try, but Malvern showed their spirit again, running the ball and passing well across the back line for Essenhigh who went over. King added the extras.