Salt Men Impress
By andy maginnis
Droitwich First XV 59 v 29 Malvern First XV
A fine Autumn day saw an enthusiastic crowd pack into the Glyn Mitchell Memorial Ground for what turned out to be an entertaining afternoon of rugby.
Droitwich started strongly with some powerful route-one forward carries from Shewell, Tranter, Knight and Captain O’Brien and the Salt Men were rewarded after 5 minutes when unstoppable Flanker , Nico Mason crashed over from close-quarters and the afters were added by Full-back, Maginnis. Three minutes later after some smart work by Outside Centre Horrocks, veteran Inside Centre, Chris Hooper tiptoed around the Malvern defence to boost the Droitwich lead to 12 points to nil. Determined not to be outdone, Malvern fought back and unlocked the Droitwich defence with apparent ease to bring the score to 12-5 with 30 minutes of the first half still to play. The high-scoring trend continued with Droitwich’s hirsute Open-side Flanker, Aron Middleton, bundling over from close range, only for Malvern to reply with a converted try five minutes later.
Having kept the ball tight for the first 25 minutes, metronomic Droitwich Scrum-half, Josh Skinner now started to spin the ball wide which soon reaped rewards with young marauding Hooker, Josh Olver, going under the sticks and Nat Maginnis adding the extras. Flight-footed Lawley came close on two occasions but Malvern were unfortunate a few minutes later to have a pass intercepted by predatory Winger, Dan Guest who romped home unchallenged resulting in a 31-12 home advantage at half time.
Droitwich kept the pressure on in the second half with a rampant Sean Walker picking a fine crash line to get over the whitewash inside the first five minutes with Hooper adding the extras. A determined Malvern refused to lie down despite some athletic line-out work from Keith Adams and they replied to Droitwich’s opener 10 minutes later with a well-worked unconverted try. The Malvern fight-back seemed to inspire twinkle-toed Chris Hooper who scored three entertaining tries in quick succession, all of which he converted. Stu Thomas and Fraser Martin made a great impact from the bench and Steve Poke gave an entertaining cameo performance at 9 when Droitwich rang the changes. To their credit, Malvern fought to the end and were justly rewarded with a late converted consolation try. The final score was 59-29 to Droitwich.
Droitwich Director of Rugby, Adam Drew said:
“I would like to thank the players, coaches, supporters and officials from Malvern for contributing to a highly entertaining game. I would also like to thank referee Lex Allen for keeping the game flowing and well under control. I was pleased with most aspects of our performance but we need to tighten up on our defensive structure in broken play so we will be working on that during midweek training. As ever I would like to thank the DRFC players, coaching staff, physios, photographer, hospitality team, groundsman, car park stewards, supporters and officials for all their hard work and the local sponsors who continue to support the club.”