MALVERN RFC were denied a memorable win at Belverdere Lane as local rivals Hereford scored two tries in the final 15 minutes to clinch a 16-7 victory.
A first half penalty try appeared to be enough for the visitors as they headed into the closing stages, but a second penalty try of the afternoon followed by a try from Scott Robinson with six minutes to go turned the match on its head.
To compound their misery Hereford’s Lloyd Collier slotted over a penalty to deny Malvern even a losing bonus point for their endeavours.
Despite their differences in form, with the hosts flying high in the league and Malvern struggling to hit the ground running in Midlands One West, the latter refused to be overawed.
However, Hereford did open the scoring as Conor Sullivan landed a penalty on the sixth minute and he had chances to extend his side’s lead.
The scrum half missed two in quick succession which kept Malvern in touch. But Nathan Dunford was also having a bad day at the office as he failed to score with two efforts from the tee.
Malvern were building pressure, though, as their forwards began to hammer away at the home side’s try-line, with Jamie Anderson and Phil Snare going close.
And the pressure soon told as Hereford were penalised several times for having hands in the ruck before the referee awarded a penalty. Dunford duly dispatched it to give Malvern a 7-3 advantage.
Hereford had the chance to close the gap just before the interval after Alan Keylock was sent to the bin, but Collier, who took over their kicking duties, was unable to convert the resultant penalty.
With a man down, Malvern had it all to do to hang on to their lead, but their defensive work in training appeared to be paying off as they kept Hereford at bay.
As the second half wore on tempers flared on the 56th minute when Nick Miller and Josh Bell clashed, which saw the pair both receive yellow cards.
Malvern had an opportunity to put further breathing space between themselves and the hosts moments later, but Dunford missed the target.
The full back was then made to pay for it as Hereford piled forward before a penalty try was awarded which Collier converted.
With a slender one point advantage and a bumper crowd behind them, the hosts had the bit between their teeth going into the final ten minutes.
And soon enough Hereford’s supporters were celebrating as Robinson barged his way over. Collier failed to add the extras to give Malvern a chance to claiming at least a bonus point, but it was not meant to be as the fly half made no mistake with a penalty.