UPTON went to Dunlop for their first fixture of 2018 but just missed out on a vital Midlands Three West (South) bonus point from a 26-17 defeat.

With the visitors still struggling with injuries and unavailability, there was a debut at scrum-half for James Page and Will Dovey started for the first time at fly-half with Rich Clive in the centres.

The trio along with others called into action ensured Upton put up a spirited performance but to no avail.

The Worcestershire side played with the wind in the first half and started brightly, running the ball with pace and power at the home defence.

After three minutes they opened the scoring when Clive was held up just short of the line and Rob Heeley sniped over for a try from the resultant ruck.

Heeley converted to make it 7-0.

Dunlop soon scored their first when they found a gap in the defence but with the conversion missed Upton held the lead.

The visitors extended their advantage when the impressive Clive made a break through the centres and fed Martin Muleko who scooted under the posts to score and Heeley converted.

Fifth-placed Dunlop came back but the away defence was impressive led by number eight Matt Dunwell as Upton kept them out.

Using the wind, the Old Street side played the rest of the half in Dunlop territory and were rewarded with a penalty which Heeley kicked to make it 17-5 at half-time.

But the second half was all about the home side and their own use of the wind.

Upton gave away too many penalties and Dunlop used this to push them into their own 22 for much of the half.

With their tails up, Dunlop used their extra size to batter the defence and Upton just could not keep them out as they scored three unanswered converted tries.

Upton tried to get up the pitch towards the end to try to snatch a losing bonus point but despite a few half-chances they came up a couple of points short.

The third-from-bottom side, who are eight points ahead of Bromyard with a game in hand, host local rivals Ledbury on Saturday.

Meanwhile, first-half tries from Toby Rivers and Kris Brown earned Bromyard a 12-10 home victory over mid-table Alcester.

Pat Hill added the remaining points for the second-from-bottom Herefordshire side who visit Woodrush on Saturday.