Leamington 0 Malvern 17: Leamington can take plenty of positives despite being shut out by Malvern

Action from Leamington's home defeat to Malvern. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt

Action from Leamington's home defeat to Malvern. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt

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Following the previous week’s poor performance against Spartans, Leamington rebounded to produce one of their best displays of the season.

Malvern started at a high tempo but were soon on the back foot as Leamington hit them with some excellent rugby.

Dan Kane, reverting to the centre, set the scene with a bonecrunching tackle by way of introduction and this was followed with a couple of strong runs by wingers Ryan Byrne and Jamie Harrison.

Not wanting to be outdone by their back line, the Leamington pack stole a couple of balls against the head to get the visitors’ nerves jangling.

In the 15th minute, Leamington nearly unlocked the Malvern defence as Alex Carroll’s exquisite inside pass to Mark Baldwin opened up a huge gap for the centre to exploit.

An inept crossfield kick from Malvern then fell into the grateful arms of Ryan Byrne who set off at pace up the nearside wing. His pace outwitted the visiting defenders but despite looking to have opened the scoring, the referee deemed he had been in touch before grounding the ball.

Malvern reminded the hosts why they are within earshot of the league leaders, breaking out of defence at speed, but Byrne was on hand to clear his lines.

Half-time arrived with the game, despite producing some eyecatching rugby, remaining scoreless.

The interval did nothing to diminish the momentum of the Leamington attack, but while the hosts had been far the better side, especially in the first period, they still had nothing to show for their efforts.

The alarm bells began to ring when Malvern slotted over a penalty attempt and they got louder as they profited from astray pass to score under the posts.

In such a tight fixture, these scores proved pivotal in swinging the match fortunes the visitors’ way.

And Malvern were finally home and dry when they hit Leamington with a well-worked try to open up a 17-point lead.