A DOUR Birmingham Sunday afternoon North Midlands Cup game greeted a changed Malvern side, but the Hillsiders had way too much horse power for their old nemesis of previous league campaigns as they ran out easy winners in appalling conditions.


Playing with the breeze, with the rain pouring down, the game started in a scrappy fashion as the ball seemed very difficult to hang on to. The home side applied the early pressure, before stand-in skipper George Blakeway, scrambled over out wide after a good break from Kristoffersen.

It was always going to be important how the pack played, and to their credit the Malvern forwards quite literally squeezed the living daylights out of the home team. Tight work from Daniels, Irish and Taylor ensured that the ball never moved much beyond a set distance from the forwards.

If it did debutante Ollie Banwell was always there, pouncing on anything loose. Such control inevitably brought pressure inside the Oaks 22 and soon after Richard Fleming added a penalty goal from a prolonged period of pressure.

Still chances went begging, until just before the half Bo Kristoffersen took a crash ball to score under the posts, after more forward pressure. Fleming converted.

The second half bought the same patterns of play from the visitors with the ball controlled by a dominant Malvern pack forcing the mistakes from the home side. Within minutes this paid dividends, as Kristoffersen chased his own kick ahead and won the race for the touch down.

By now the impressive Banwell was linking well with his back division who gradually started to move the ball and after several good phases of play the ball was worked wide to Dave Beech who duly touched down.

Selly Oak had no option to chase the game which was a gamble which paid off briefly as Simpkins went over for a try but the plan back fired as over adventure in the muddy conditions saw a superb switch between Gareth Richards and Ben Hughes that saw the wing dash to the points for Malvern's fifth try, converted by Fleming.

Malvern could have scored more, in particular as a rampaging run by prop Lancett was stopped 'magically' by left wing Potter, less than half his size, whilst diving over the line.

At the end of the match coach Rudi Smith was happy with the performance especially from the forwards given the conditions.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Malvern are back to league action, travelling to Longton (2.30).