Malvern completed a successful season by beating Old Saltleians 53-12 in today’s North Midlands Shield final at Dudley Kingswinford.
It was Malvern’s second North Midlands title, following their success in the North Midlands Cup in 2002, and helped them to follow up winning promotion from Midlands Two West (South) two weeks ago with a trophy.
Malvern enjoyed the perfect weather conditions which allowed them to unleash their penetrative backs with left wing and captain Tom Hale crossing twice in the first seven minutes.
Rob Cook, the former Gloucester player, converted both tries from the touchline before Old Saltleians, who won this competition in 2010 and the Shield Plate in 2015 and last year, had found their feet.
Old Saltleians competed well for a period and Malvern lost Hale with a shoulder injury but it was his replacement, Connor Giggle, who went over for an unconverted try after 30 minutes which left Old Saltleians with more work to do.
Old Saltleians responded with a series of scrums and attacking line outs at the end of the first half and their forward pressure was eventually rewarded when blindside George Ward burrowed over for an unconverted try from a line-out drive.
At that stage Malvern were down to 14 men with number eight Jack Curtis in the sin bin for persistent team offending.
But Old Saltleians failed to convert further pressure at the start of the second half and Cook demonstrated his class with a superb upfield kick that lifted the siege.
Cook, Malvern’s playmaker, then popped up in attack with a floated that put openside flanker Sam Parsons in for the fourth try which Cook converted from wide out.
Cook’s distribution again helped Malvern create space for right wing Ben King to score on the overlap with Cook’s conversion stretching the lead.
Old Saltleians hit back with an excellent individual try from full-back Michael Ho, who jinked through, with Joel James converting.
But Malvern went back up the other end and smuggled Parsons over from a driving line out and finished with a flourish with Jon Wills, Giggle and Curtis all scoring tries from flowing attacks.
Droitwich gained some consolation for losing in the final of the RFU Intermediate Cup last week by beating Shrewsbury 19-7 to win the North Midlands Shield Plate.
Droitwich, twice winners of the Shield proper, led 19-7 at half-time with number eight Phil Horton, centre Matt Handford and full-back Matt Barnes scoring tries.