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Malvern give up points in defeat
2:20pm Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Sport
MALVERN managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a 29-28 loss at Oxford Harlequins in National Three South West.
The hosts moved off the bottom of the table with their first league success of the season, denying the Spring Lane outfit what should have been a routine victory.
Malvern looked sluggish early on, going behind to a penalty, before most of the match proved too frantic and disjointed.
Even when the visitors put good passages of play together, wrong options were taken with needless kicking surrendering possession.
However, a good drive upfield saw Malvern awarded a penalty and a scrum was taken with James Southall nipping in on the short side to score for the lead.
It did not last long as they aimlessly kicked away and Oxford’s winger gratefully accepted the ball to run through and score.
Malvern woke up and a sustained period of play saw persistent offending by the Quins, allowing Tom Longley to claw back three points with 15 minutes left.
Failure to secure the ball at the restart gave possession away and sloppy marking gifted the Quins tighthead a try.
In the 10 minutes before the break, Malvern finally impressed and winger Will Pennell scored twice with Longley converting one for them to retake the lead at the break.
Longley stretched the lead with another penalty but Oxford replied with one of their own to stay just four points behind.
The growth in self-belief in the home ranks was visible as Malvern continued to make poor decisions.
However, Ieuan Mustow looked to have rescued them as he seized the ball and ran in from 60 metres to open a ninepoint gap.
However, Malvern kept trying to run the ball and, with 10 minutes left, Oxford intercepted to score and set up a nail-biting finale. The visitors then gave away a soft penalty and the hosts’ speedy winger carved through appalling cover to steal the victory in the last minute.
Ninth-placed Malvern now face stiffer opposition in Redingensian at Spring Lane tomorrow (3pm).
- Malvern under 16s’ long undefeated run, stretching back almost 11 months, finally came to an end when they lost 32-10 at Worcester.
The hosts were stronger at the set-piece, particularly in the line-out where they made their significant height advantage count.
However, Malvern competed fiercely in the loose and at the breakdown and were level at half-time with scrum-half Laurie Essenhigh touching down just before the break.
But Worcester gradually pulled away, scoring five more tries with prop Kai Allton pulling one back for the visitors through a forceful charge for the line.