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Heroics at Whitchurch boost Malvern fight against the drop
6:00pm Thursday 10th April 2014 in Rugby
MALVERN Rugby Club sent out a clear message that they are determined to survive in Midlands One West.
The Spring Lane side completed a league double over Whitchurch with a 25-20 victory in Shropshire.
They travel to bottom-of-the-table Market Bosworth on Saturday (3pm), knowing their future is in their own hands.
Malvern were hit by an early injury blow at Whitchurch as flanker Sam Parsons suffered an ankle injury.
All-rounder Grant Fraser moved from prop and James Hynes joined the front row.
Whitchurch piled on the pressure, winning a series of five-metre scrums, before the referee awarded them a penalty try to take the lead on 22 minutes.
Malvern worked their way upfield, winning several penalties, and Adam Dixon made a quick break to score.
Whitchurch responded quickly by driving downfield and securing a penalty to stretch their lead.
In the last minute of the half, a try out wide took them 10 points clear at the break.
With the wind in their favour, Malvern piled on the pressure, claiming a penalty which secured a line-out five metres from the Whitchurch line.
The ball was secured and Stuart Clarke came off the back to go over for a rare try which Tom Longley converted.
To cap a devastating opening five minutes of the half, Malvern stormed into the Whitchurch 22 and a loose ball was fed to James Southall, who darted in to give his side the lead. Longley converted.
As Whitchurch attacked again, Malvern’s defence held firm although at the expense of 10 minutes in the sin-bin for Clarke.
However, the 14 men held firm, denying Whitchurch and Longley stretched the lead to seven points with a penalty.
In the final 10 minutes, Malvern lock Jon Bywater had a bad shoulder injury, requiring an ambulance to hospital.
But, with five minutes left, the visitors won a penalty and Longley put the kick over to give his side a 10-point cushion.
As Whitchurch tried to hit back, they squandered a couple of good chances before finally scoring a try in the corner.
However, it was too late and Malvern were four points closer to safety after an epic away performance.