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Success was no walk in the park - Irish

Malvern Editorial 12th Dec, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

IT WAS a case of getting the job done at bottom club Old Coventrians for Malvern director of rugby Dave Irish and he was pleased to see his side run out 29-13 winners.

Twenty-seven points separated the two sides before last Saturday’s encounter as the Coventry side languished at the foot of the Midlands Two West (South) table.

But Irish said he was expecting a difficult afternoon in Tile Hill and he was proved right as Old Coventrians fought hard throughout.

A brace from James Southall and first half try from Luke Milton put Malvern in a strong position, but it still needed a late score from Nick Clarke to settle the contest.

“I was rightly quoted before the match as saying this wouldn’t be an easy place to win, despite the difference in league positions,” Irish said.

“We know that OCs have a bad injury list, but they still played to their forward strengths to prove that Tile Hill is an uncomfortable place to collect points.

“The game was one of fits and starts, partly because we rarely got into top gear but also because OCs’ disruptive style of play makes life difficult.”

Malvern knew they were in for a battle in Tile Hill and that was made clear when a strong forward surge led to an Old Coventrians penalty, which they converted to take the lead.

The hosts were also proving to be a tough nut to crack in defence as Malvern struggled to gain much ground with their driving maul.

It was turning into a scrappy affair as frustrations boiled over at times, but as Old Coventrians’ penalty count increased Malvern began to settle into the match.

A Ben King penalty levelled the score before the fly half set up the visitors’ first try. From the lineout, the ball was quickly moved to King who found Southall to score. King added the extras.

Malvern were now controlling the game and they struck again when George Withers sent his side on the attack before skipper Milton crossed the whitewash to make it 15-3.

This lead was extended after the interval when Southall went over for his second try, which King converted.

But after Malvern lost tight-head prop Craig Freeman just before the break to a rib injury, the home side began to dominate the set piece and their pressure soon told in the second half.

They were awarded a penalty try, which was converted to get within nine points, while Malvern were being forced to deep deep as their opponents pressed for another.

But they held firm and their defensive efforts were rewarded when Clarke slipped through to score the Spring Lane side’s fourth try.

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