MALVERN won 31-24 in their first visit to Syston, replicating the heroics of their previous match against Rugby Lions.

The Leicestershire-based hosts were determined to beat their National Three Midlands midtable rivals, however, and put in 10 minutes of early pressure.

Malvern’s pack hit back to get into the Syston 22 only to give away a soft penalty.

Syston full-back Craig Hewitt took a quick tap-and-go and carved through an unprepared Malvern defence to score with Ian Smith converting. With their tails up, the East Midlanders ran the ball around and Smith hacked on to score and convert with Malvern looking to be in disarray.

They hit back, however, and put in a controlled 21-phase pick-and-drive movement that took them 40 metres into the home half and Nick Miller was on hand when the ball went out to pull back five points.

But, on the half-hour mark, the hosts won a turn-over that allowed winger David Torr to score and Smith to convert for a 21-5 lead at the interval.

Malvern, who had only lost 16- 13 to runaway leaders Rugby on February 18, emerged from the interval an improved side and Gary Dipple claimed his maiden try for the team with Adam Dixon converting.

Syston were not given a chance to regroup as Malvern retained the ball and, after excellent handling across the back-line, Ryan Watkins went through and Dixon’s kick brought the visitors back to only two points down.

With the home pack being put under pressure, a couple of penalties took the Spring Lane men deep into Syston territory.

The ball came out quickly and Miller was again on hand for Malvern to go over with Dixon converting.

Syston battled back and, after Luke Milton was sin-binned, the resultant penalty made it 26-24 for Malvern to set up an exciting last quarter.

The visitors controlled the rest of the game, however, and Dipple closed out the match for Malvern with an unconverted try.