MALVERN'S dreadful run of luck with injuries and several non-availabilities meant they fielded half of the second XV in their 48-19 defeat at Sutton Coldfield.

The front row contained one prop Will Gough in only his second game in that position while the other supporting berth was filled by Charles Rambridge in his first outing of the season.

Both more than fulfilled their roles with grit and bravery as a makeshift scrum held the more experienced Sutton unit for most of the Midlands One West match.

The game started badly for the Spring Lane men as Sutton scored a first-minute try but they soon showed plenty of heart by responding with running rugby into a stiff wind.

Director of rugby Rob Cook, in the former Gloucester player's first outing of the season after a wrist injury, added another dimension to the team as they attacked repeatedly.

But a dropped ball saw Sutton turn over to attack for their second try and a 12-point lead.

This provoked an instant response with Cook's penalty taking Malvern deep into Sutton territory and Jasper Windsor-Clive's break saw him feed Jack Curtis for a well-taken try.

Sutton came back strongly with their well-drilled forwards popping the ball well to keep play going and they stretched the defence to increase their lead.

Malvern's injury jinx struck again when the influential Ieuan Mustow received rib damage from a belated hit and Sutton scored two quick tries for a 31-5 lead at the break.

But Malvern had competed strongly with a lack of experience and a few outstanding Sutton players being the main differences between the sides.

The second period opened with another Sutton score from their speedy winger after Malvern lost the ball while on the attack.

But they won a penalty for a scrum infringement, took it quickly and Cook went over in the corner before converting his own try.

Malvern's scrum continued to cause the hosts problems in the set-piece. Although the strong wind nullified some of their lineout work they continued to play open rugby as did their hosts.

Sutton again stretched the lead as they worked the ball well.

Malvern responded by going deep into the home half but the ball was turned over and worked up the short side for Sutton's tricky winger to score once more.

Never letting up, Malvern shrugged off the loss of Luke Milton to a leg injury and Curtis embarked on a 60-metre charge before feeding debutant James Wood for a superb try which Cook converted.

If Malvern's injury list can be sorted and more players become available regularly then there is still hope of a revival but the last two matches, despite losses, have shown there is a strong spirit running through the club.

Bottom-of-the-table Malvern entertain third-placed Whitchurch on Saturday (2.15pm) following the lunch with a legend featuring Graham Price MBE of Pontypool, Wales and British Lions fame.