MALVERN Rugby Club continued to flex their muscles in Midlands Two West (South) as they defeated a lively Spartans team 43-26, writes Ash Bajwa.

The last time the two teams met earlier in the season Malvern came out as dominant winners.

But Saturday was a different story as Spartans didn’t allow Malvern to get full control and showed their strength as a hard-running team.

Malvern were without familiar faces with John Clark, Tom Hale, Joe Murcott and Lewis Hardiman all absent.

This saw opportunities given to a swathe of second-team players to impress.

Ashley Budding, Liam Moloney, Harvey Smedley, Thomas Brainwood and Tom Bill all put in outstanding shifts to ensure the win.

The game also marked Adam Green’s 75th cap for Malvern.

Spartans gained early ground, giving away a scrum inside Malvern’s 22-metre line.

The ball was shipped down the back-line where Dan Batty broke through several tackles to give Malvern a strong foundation and then passed down to Jon Wills for the first try.

Malvern scored again quickly afterwards through Max Richardson's solo effort.

Spartans hit back and kicked a penalty to the corner before a backs move allowed their inside centre to barrel over for a converted score.

But Malvern scored two more tries before half-time to secure the bonus point.

Joe Pritchard and Luke Milton both scored off powerful offensive surges.

After the break Malvern kept the scoreboard ticking as a lineout led to a catch and drive from their robust forwards which was finished off by man of the match Glen Potter.

Questionable defending from Malvern allowed a spirited Spartans side to get another try.

But Malvern kicked on with two more as Potter peeled of the side of a maul and offloaded to Rob Cook who put Wills over in the corner before Milton bagged his second.

Spartans grabbed a consolation soon after through their right winger after a chip and chase.

Third-placed Malvern head to Barkers Butts, who are one position and two points below them, on Saturday.

Malvern must visit Leighton Buzzard in the RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup final on Saturday, March 14.

Malvern lost 27-0 at Birmingham Solihull in the North Midlands Colts Cup first round.

A stronger town side improved on a previous 56-7 beating and fronted up against physical hosts in sloppy conditions and driving rain.

They kept the first half scoreless and had a try disallowed but Birmingham got clear in the second period although Malvern, who visit Silhillians on Sunday, continued to graft.

Meanwhile, it was a frustrating day for Upton in their top-of-the-table clash at Old Wheatleyans.

Upton went into the game in pole position in Midlands Four West (South) but were replaced at the top by their opponents after a convincing 32-12 defeat.

Bromyard dropped to 10 points off the top with an 11-8 away defeat to Claverdon.

Upton host Claverdon on Saturday while Bromyard go to Coventrians.