MALVERN Rugby Club suffered just their second Midlands Two West (South) defeat of the season with a narrow 28-27 loss at Barkers Butts.

A few enforced changes due to injuries and other commitments meant they were slightly understrength for the tough trip to the side one place below them in the table and the home team flew out of the traps early on.

It was Malvern who went ahead, however, after a lineout on the Barkers 22 allowed Luke Milton to join the line and put Tom Hale away for the opening score with Rob Cook converting.

The home side responded almost immediately with their first try of the afternoon before they were reduced to 14 men moments later when an outbreak of handbags saw a punch on Cook result in a yellow card for the scrum-half.

The coach slotted the resulting kick to put Malvern ahead by five points but soon after the match was halted for some time after a bad injury to Hale resulted in the action being moved to another pitch for the rest of the half.

On the exposed substitute pitch the wind had more of an effect and Barkers scored another try to level proceedings before kicking a penalty to give them a 13-10 lead at the break.

Back on the main pitch for the second period Malvern had the advantage of the wind at their backs and after a scrum 15 metres out was pushed over the line by the visitors Max Richardson touched down and Cook’s conversion put Malvern back into the lead.

Barkers were penalised for crossing and Cook put over another penalty from around 45 metres out soon after to make the score 20-13 in Malvern’s favour.

However, the home side responded by upping their game and scored two more tries from a dominant lineout and a sloppy Malvern clearance not finding touch that the Barkers backs ran back strongly.

A penalty then gave them an eight-point cushion before Malvern went on the attack and forced a penalty try from a powerful set of scrums to make it a tense finale but the Coventry side held on for the single point victory.

This Saturday will see a repeat of the game as this time Barkers Butts come to Spring Lane looking to inflict more damage in the rearranged fixture.

n Upton were awarded a home walkover in their game against Claverdon which means they stay top of Midlands Four West (South).

Bromyard maintained their push for the summit with a 22-7 victory at Coventrians.