MALVERN hosted London side Hampstead, from the equivalent league in the South East, for this final warm-up before the opening league match against Newport.


After the heroics against the professionals of Reading, the Spring Lane outfit disappointed for much of the match, showing little shape and making a series of basic errors whilst in possession.

The Hampstead defensive cover was efficient, putting in first-time tackles to disrupt Malvern's attacking forays. A titanic struggle in the front rows saw a large number of set pieces disrupted, and tempers flared early on in incidents involving Hampstead's enormous French prop, which ultimately saw the sin-binning of him and Alex Thomas after some interesting exchanges of views.

The direct-running Londoners took control of the game as the half progressed, scoring two minutes before the break, then increased the lead after the turn-round through a fine solo effort by their scrum half. He ran 60 metres almost unopposed to stretch the score to 0-12, leaving several red faces in the Malvern side.

Midway through the half, with Vince Hill on and Malvern becoming more disciplined, the home side at last started putting some fluidity in to their play, Dave Irish opening the scoring after a tap penalty move before Jim Callow scored a try on his debut, Longley converting to even the scores.

In the last 20 minutes, the Malvern pack started to dominate a tiring Hampstead, driving to the line for Blakeway to nip through and do the honours, Longley again bagging the extra two points.

Some good recycling saw them finish off the spirited opposition, skipper Longley closing Malvern's account for the day.

Despite the win, Director of Rugby David Robins was not pleased with the Malvern performance.

Robins said: "A bad day at the office, with poor handling and tackling meaning we were outplayed for most of the match. We had little or no shape, were too frantic and it was only in the last quarter that our spirit showed through.

"On the plus side, it was good to see Jim Callow score on his debut. We must work on our continuity for the Newport game."

Tomorrow (Saturday) Malvern entertain Newport at Spring Lane, kick off at 3pm.