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Swain scores as Malvern bounce back in fine style
6:20pm Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Sport
REJUVENATED Malvern bounced back from the previous week’s drubbing to take the Midlands One West points from an enthralling 15-7 victory over Whitchurch.
Having weathered their visitors’ opening 10-minute onslaught, the Spring Lane hosts counter-attacked when they stole ball and ventured across halfway for the first time.
Kicking a penalty into touch on the five-metre mark, they put in a concerted forward drive and flanker Alan Keylock powered over to score.
Luke Milton showed he has returned to form by gaining good yards but Whitchurch responded to again put Malvern, who crashed 115-0 at leaders Lichfield the previous week, under pressure.
They stood up well to the task despite losing Keylock to the sin-bin and Nick Miller to a knee injury, while Jordan Hillier also came off with a knock.
Malvern finally ran the ball out of defence and made good headway with man-of-thematch Jamie Anderson putting in immense carries and knocking opponents down.
The home side won several kickable penalties but, for once, Nathan Dunford’s accuracy was off.
However, Milton put in a punishing run to the 22, setting up the ball for hooker James Swain to score a try with Dunford converting before half-time.
The second period followed much the same pattern except Malvern’s defending was mainly done in the Whitchurch half. Malvern forced a penalty 12 minutes in which Dunford kicked to give them a 15-point cushion.
Whitchurch showed their frustration before the referee spotted a blatant punch and sin-binned the offender.
A few minutes later, Malvern’s Stuart Clarke was also shown a yellow card but they remained in control until, with five minutes left, fullback James Park scored a try for the mid-table visitors and Ryan Horton converted.
Malvern showed their growing confidence by closing the game down in the final minutes to claim a well-worked win.
Although the town side look safer in fifth-from-bottom position, a few more wins are needed to secure a mid-table place in a season of consolidation.
They hope the injuries will dry up and a more settled side can take a few scalps against sides who narrowly beat them earlier in the campaign.