FACED with tropical conditions the Malvern squad took the field at Tewkesbury on Saturday for this pre-season friendly.

After a minute's silence in memory of the father and son who died so tragically at the home club during the floods, both sides approached the game robustly.

The Tewkesbury front five belied the lower level at which they play with a wily performance that helped to contain the Malvern scrum and they put in some early drives to put the visitors on the back foot.

However, having soaked up the early onslaught, Malvern started to attack, putting together some good moves and offloading the ball well. Stretching the home defence, Malvern created a gap for Ryan Watkins to nip through to outpace the defence then convert his own try.

Tewkesbury battled back upfield and won a penalty, putting in the catch and drive to pull back five points. The Midlands Two side then took the game by the scruff, piling in drive after drive from the forwards, Rawle, Taylor and Lancett all much to the fore.

The backs sometimes looked a bit disjointed, perhaps taking too long in the decision-making process, but they were still far superior to anything the opposition could offer.

Winger Chris Williams had a good run before the forwards again went on the rampage, Smith, Hobbs and Anderson all putting in the hard yards until the ball was driven over by Lancett, Richard Fleming adding the conversion.

As the side was changed around to allow everyone in the squad a good run out, play was always going to be a little haphazard, which is when the calming influence of an older head comes into its own, amply demonstrated by Dave Wilkinson, who put in a lovely cameo including a 50 metre kick that turned defence into attack. Alistair Hills impressed in the centre all afternoon, his strength in holding up the ball and breaking tackles crucial to Malvern's attacking continuity. Some good work by him saw a move finished of by a Watkins try, then, after a Tewkesbury penalty, Hills himself picked up a ball hacked on by Wilkinson to score.

Malvern saved probably the best score until last, the impressive Fleming running at the defence and breaking tackles to power through for a fine individual score.