DIRECTOR of rugby Dave Irish got one over his former club as Malvern defeated Ludlow 27-16 to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the North Midlands Shield.
There was little between the two sides at the interval as tries from Will Elt and Tom Hale gave the visitors a narrow 15-13 advantage.
But Malvern proved too strong for Ludlow in the second period as prop Grant Fraser drove over before Hale clinched the win by scoring his side’s fourth try of the afternoon.
The result will also come as a big relief to Irish who quit Ludlow in February before joining Malvern in the summer. His new side did not take long to open the scoring as Elt went over after Adam Dixon, who landed the resultant conversion, made a break.
Malvern were full of running in the early stages, but an interception saw Ludlow sprint through for a try.
Dixon fired home a penalty, but Malvern could not seem to shrug their opponents off as they hit back with a try to level the score at 10-10.
Malvern managed to secure a two-point cushion at half time, though, thanks to a well-taken try from Hale who won a kick and chase to score.
The away side did not look back in the second half as replacement Luke Milton found prop Fraser who powered through to touch down, with Dixon adding the extras.
After Richard Hobbs suffered a hamstring injury, Irish rang the changes, with scrum half Joe Budd and wing James Southall coming on as he looked to put the game to bed.
And they did just that when Malvern moved the ball across the field before Hale danced his way through to score what proved to be the match-winning try.
Ludlow did not give in and closed the gap with a penalty, but Malvern’s defence held firm as they went on to claim an impressive victory.