MALVERN became the latest victims of Midlands Two West (South) high-flyers Newbold-on-Avon, who ran out 26-8 winners at Spring Lane on Saturday.
But director of rugby Dave Irish insisted his side did not disgrace themselves against second placed Newbold who have lost just once all season.
The hosts could only muster a Ben King penalty and a late George Roberts try, while the Warwickshire outfit racked up four tries, but Irish said his players can be proud of their efforts.
“Our lads performed well against a side who must be favourites to win the league,” he said.
“We certainly made them work hard for their victory and were unlucky not to have a couple more scores to our credit.
“We now look to collect a couple of wins, away to Nuneaton Old Edwardians and home to a tricky Old Coventrians side, before the challenge of an away fixture at Old Laurentians, the other side at the top of the table.
“We will keep applying the lessons learned in training as we seek to improve and consolidate our position in the top half of the table.”
With Newbold fielding a much heavier pack, containing three players who had all appeared at higher levels, Malvern’s defence was bound to be tested.
However, they stood up to the challenge, with some excellent Malvern defensive play in the early stages.
The home side were also given the change to take the lead, but unfortunately King’s penalty attempt was caught by the swirling wind and bounced off the post.
Newbold then made them pay for this miss as they cranked up the pressure before scoring their opening try, which was converted.
Malvern attacked from the restart and made inroads into the opposition’s half and were rewarded with a penalty of their own, which King dispatched.
The penalties were coming thick and fast as both sides struggled for supremacy. Newbold were relying on their scrum to do the damage while Malvern’s defence was courageous in keeping them at bay.
Close to half time Newbold scored again and added the extras to give themselves a 14-3 lead at the break.
The visitors had the strong wind in their favour in the second half, but it was Malvern who made most of the running, pinning Newbold back for long periods.
However, against the run of play, the Rugby side hacked the ball downfield and Malvern had to scurry back to ensure a 22 metre drop-out. From this Newbold set up a counter-attack and their stand-off went through for a well-worked try.
The hosts were now under heavy pressure and they eventually conceded their fourth try. After Malvern lost the impressive Joe Wilkes, Newbold managed to secure the ball, win a scrum and break free for a fine converted try.
Despite the blow, Malvern refused to give up and had the last say when they intercepted the ball and Roberts sped through to score.