IT proved to be another testing afternoon away from home for Malvern on Saturday as they suffered a fourth defeat in a row at high-flying Silhillians.

In what was their fifth consecutive away game, Malvern made the trip to the side currently second in the Regional 2 Midlands West with eight wins from their 10 matches to begin the 2023/24 campaign.

And it proved to be as difficult as first feared, despite Malvern being in the game until the final quarter.

The hosts were forced to spend sustained periods of time in their own 22 but brave defending meant they were able to soak up the pressure and led 13-3 at the break, despite also playing with a man in the sin bin during the first period.

Malvern continued to press at the start of the second-half and they won an early penalty in front of the posts, which was somehow missed. But soon after, Malvern did reduce the deficit as a swift move in the backs ended with Ben King finishing well. 

At 13-8, the visitors were right back in the game, but Sils continued to dig in defensively and despite being pushed over their line a couple of times, the ball was held up and Malvern just could not find another score.

In the end, Sils were able to hit Malvern with a couple of late tries to take the game away from them and it was another afternoon of good effort but no points for the Spring Lane side. 

As for the 2s, they were involved in a thrilling game at Spring Lane in front of the home support. 

With seven wins from eight going into the clash with Old Halesonians 2s, Malvern remain in contention for the title with the other four teams at the top of the Counties 4 Midlands West (South).

They are all separated by just three points, so it was imperative Malvern kept up their winning streak, and they did, but not without a dramatic finale.

Hales had twice taken the lead in the game but Stu Clarke scored his second late on to put Malvern within three of winning the game at 12-15.

And with time up, Malvern kept the ball and worked their way forward before Clarke was able to scramble over and complete his hat-trick to seal a 19-15 victory.

Malvern sit in fourth in the table, but are only three points off leaders Birmingham Exiles with a game in hand. 

The 2s host Stourport 2s this weekend at Spring Lane, whilst the 1s finally return home to take on Stratford Upon Avon.