A POOR first half display from Malvern helped pave the way for Banbury to ease to a comfortable 30-10 victory in Midlands Two West (South).
The North Oxfordshire side set the tone with a try from Sam Ridgway before Chris Phillips followed up his conversion with three penalties to give his side a 16-0 advantage at the break.
Malvern came back in the second period with a penalty try and a further three points from the boot of Ben King, but director of rugby Dave Irish said they had given themselves too much of a mountain to climb as Jed Boyce struck twice to wrap up a convincing win.
“In the first half we didn’t really look as if we wanted to be there despite the fact that we had beaten them comfortably at Spring Lane,” Irish said.
“To be fair, they were a different side today, much more disciplined and clinical and the better side won.”
Irish would have looking for a repeat of the performance which saw his side defeat their opponents 27-19 in October, but instead he was left scratching his head as lacklustre defending and an increasing penalty count helped Banbury gain the ascendancy.
Malvern soon fell behind as number eight Ridgway cut through to score, with Phillips adding the extras. The visitors put in a couple of attacks as they notably won a penalty on the Banbury 22 line, but the opportunity was wasted as they struggled at the lineout.
The hosts continued to put pressure on Malvern’s defence and Phillips punished them with three penalties to open up a healthy lead at half time.
After some stern words from Irish at the break, Malvern started the second half more positively as they drove Banbury back and attacked their line.
This led to a penalty try, which King converted to give Malvern a glimmer of hope, but this was soon dashed when livewire wing Boyce chased down a kick to score, which Phillips converted.
Malvern’s injury hoodoo then struck again as captain Luke Milton and winger George Roberts both left the field in quick succession.
Charles Rambridge went on as a front row replacement, but he lasted barely five minutes before sustaining an ankle injury. With two other Malvern players off the pitch, Banbury took advantage of their superior numbers to score and convert once more, with Boyce going over.
However, Malvern showed some spirit and fought back with a late consolation try from Richard Fleming, which King converted.