MALVERN won a scrappy friendly 17-13 at home to Wolverhampton as they prepared for the new season.
The Spring Lane hosts looked to be the better side by far in a keenly-fought contest, opening the scoring within five minutes.
Having gone close at the line, they won the ball and second row Will Elt went over to open his Malvern account.
Wolverhampton clawed back three points with a penalty from 30 metres and then relied on their burly pack for much of the game.
Wolves fought back though, attacking the Malvern line and, after four phases, got the ball over to take the lead.
Malvern showed plenty of enterprise but several promising moves broke down as passes were dropped.
One aspect of the Spring Lane side’s play gave hope for the new season as the scrum held firm, even when flanker Richard Hobbs had to move to hooker when John Davies was injured.
The second-half opened with Wolves driving downfield to put the Malvern line under siege and scoring another forwards try to stretch the lead to eight points.
However, Malvern’s relentless running game began to have an effect.
Malvern won a penalty, spread the ball wide and new signing Conor Giggle cut through the defence to score.
Adam Dixon’s conversion from wide out bounced off the outside of the post, leaving Malvern three points behind with six minutes left.
Sensing victory, Malvern turned up the heat on their opponents, centre Ollie Rayner breaking through and nearly making it to the line with only a last-ditch tackle halting him.
However, James Southall followed in close to go over, giving Malvern the lead.
Dixon made no mistake with the conversion and, although Wolves were awarded penalties for questionable infringements, they couldn’t break a resolute Malvern in the remaining minutes.
Director of rugby Dave Irish now has to settle on his starting side for the North Midlands Shield match at Ludlow on Saturday (2.30pm).
Given the good showing by some of the new signings and with more players available, they hope to avoid so many injuries this season.
Irish believes their fitness levels are higher due to the intense sessions led by trainer Billy McGinty.