IN this top versus bottom of the table clash at a bitterly cold Bob Coward Memorial Ground it was the struggling home team who came out of the traps looking the livelier.

The young Barkers side probed away at the Malvern defence, finally scoring a try in the 12th minute.

Slowly the league leaders began to gel and made headway into the Coventry side's territory with a long range penalty from Hooper A further penalty saw Huw Dimond pull back three points in the 25th minute.

Malvern started to get into gear and three minutes later Ted Lang made a break, the ball was patiently recycled and the impressive stand-off Adam Dixon went round the defence to put the Spring Lane side ahead, Dimond converting.

The Malvern pack forced another penalty, coolly despatched by Dimond in the 33rd minute, and from the restart Malvern's backs worked the ball again and full back Chris Hooper finished the move with a try.

Barkers pulled back a penalty, but Malvern forced a line-out eight metres from the home line. Hooker Matt Humphreys charged down the narrow channel but was stopped short; however prop Shaun Lancett was on hand to pile through to score.

From the restart, Malvern forced a line-out and Chris Smith was cynically taken out in mid air. After the ensuing contretemps, Smith and the offending prop were each yellow-carded and Lancett was shown a red card.

At the break, some reshuffling was necessary but six minutes into the half, Hooper put a penalty deep into the home 22 metre area, the line-out was won and Owen Jones burst through to make Malvern's lead 20 points.

Barkers fought back but Malvern countered and Dixon put in a cross field kick for Lang and Jones to chase, the Welsh number eight winning the race for the touchdown.

Dixon capping a man-of-the-match performance with a cheeky reverse pass to Lang for the youngster to carve through to score and set up Dimond's conversion.

Barkers Butts put in a maul and scored in the corner, but Malvern had the last word when Hobbs made a break and Dimond was on hand to finish the day's work.