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Survival bid suffers blow
2:58pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
MALVERN Rugby Club face an uphill battle to avoid relegation from National League Three South West after losing 20-12 at fellow strugglers Avonmouth Old Boys.
Nick Tisdale’s side must now play sides much better off in the table, starting at Old Patesians in Cheltenham tomorrow (3pm).
Malvern are weakened with several players turning out for the University of Worcester on the same day.
The Spring Lane men then entertain Barnstaple before ending the season against Brixham, Chippenham and Exmouth.
The forced south-west move has proved damaging for Malvern, who lost almost half of their squad as a result, and they have found the standard higher than in the Midlands.
At Avonmouth, both sides were nervy with plenty of errors. Malvern missed a penalty but the hosts kicked their opportunity.
The home forwards mounted a succession of drives and sucked in Malvern to release their tricky winger who went over in the corner.
However, Malvern hit back with a penalty to the corner and a catch-and-drive move which was blatantly pulled down. The referee awarded a penalty try which Tom Redfern converted before halftime.
The second period saw Malvern start well but lose the ball to the stronger opposition forwards.
Avonmouth put in another catch-and-drive move and passed outto the winger who nipped in to score.
Malvern countered, passing the ball along the line for Ieuan Mustow to run in a try and bring them to within three points.
But Avonmouth had the final say with a late try which may have decided third-from-bottom Malvern’s fate ahead of a summer rebuilding job.
e Malvern lost 26-14 at Whitchurch in the North Midlands Under 16s Plate semi-finals after conceding an early try in a nervy clash.
They found their rhythm and Kai Allton drove over from close range but Whitchurch regained the lead with a converted try.
The lead was extended with a third score but another front-row effort, this time from Tom Crooks and converted by March Cossali Francis, made it 19-14.
Late on, the Whitchurch fly-half produced a clever chip over the defence and followed up to clinch victory.