MALVERN Rugby Club gained a losing bonus point from a 24-18 defeat at unbeaten leaders Droitwich in Midlands Two West (South).

The second-placed side are six points off the top after going close to ending their hosts' 100 per cent record in the league.

On a bitter afternoon, the long-awaited clash between the Worcestershire rivals had plenty to warm up the large crowd along the touchline.

Droitwich boasted their renowned heavyweight pack while Malvern's backs had been running riot in previous weeks.

For the first half-an-hour honours were fairly even.

Malvern probed away at Droitwich’s defence which held firm against waves of attack.

The visitors kept their discipline while the home side were at one point given a team warning over their behaviour.

Heartening for the Spring Lane side was in the set scrums the addition at tight head of former colt Kai Allton gave them plenty of stability so the big Droitwich unit were unable to drive them back.

It was against the run of play that Droitwich scored first with their winger winning a kick and chase to the corner to score an unconverted try.

A late knee drop by a Droitwich player saw Malvern win a penalty and they then forced a five-metre line-out after a sin-binning for another home offence.

Two more penalties followed before the Malvern pack forced their way over for Jon

Bywater to touch down with Rob Cook’s conversion giving them the lead at half-time.

In the second half Droitwich’s indiscipline carried on as they continued to offend.

A tackle on a man without the ball gave Cook a fairly simple penalty to stretch the lead.

Droitwich then reverted to an up-the-jumper style of rugby and put in a tremendous driving maul to score and retake the lead by two points.

But this did not last long as from the restart Cook put the ball deep with the Malvern pack following up quickly.

The clearance kick was charged down and Bywater claimed his second score of the game.

However, Droitwich showed why they were top when they won another penalty to a few metres out and put in another catch and drive to retake the lead.

Malvern refused to capitulate and as they won another penalty for the tackler not releasing Cook again put them into a slender one-point lead as the clock started to tick down.

But Droitwich had the final say as another penalty put them into Malvern’s 22-metre area and the inevitable driving maul ensued for a converted try to win the day for the league leaders.

Malvern end the first half of the season on Saturday when they entertain Earlsdon at Spring Lane (2.15pm).