IT proved to be a winning weekend for Malvern RFC on Saturday as both the first and second teams picked up important league victories.

The main event saw the 1XV welcome Berkswell & Balsall in a bottom-of-the-table clash in the Regional 2 Midlands West.

And it proved to be a real scrap, especially in the first-half as only 11 points were scored.

A couple of penalties from the visitors saw them hold a slender one-point lead at the break, with Malvern scoring their only try through winger Calum Tinsdale.

The game opened up a bit more in the second-half with Malvern keen to get on the front foot and move back into the lead. Harvey Smedley converted his own try to do just that and Franco Bent also crashed over the whitewash as the hosts extended their advantage.

The away side, sitting bottom of the table, did manage a score of their own to keep in the fight but Malvern's Tom Bill sealed the deal in the last play to wrap up a much-welcomed bonus-point win.

Malvern are now 13 points clear of second-placed Worcester with a game in hand and look like being clear of relegation trouble.

On the other pitch, the Malvern 2s continued their march towards the Counties 4 Midlands West (South) title.

They went into the game knowing a win would help them open up a small gap on second-placed Upton, with their game being frozen off earlier in the day.

Malvern Gazette: Ant Hitchings goes over for MalvernAnt Hitchings goes over for Malvern (Image: Malvern RFC)

It was an even first-half as Malvern played up the slope. Ant Hitchings scored the opening try of the game but visitors Keresley fought back well and scored two tries, including one brilliant solo try from the full-back, to go ahead 14-5.

Malvern responded well, however, and tries from Ollie Hale and Cullen Harris right on the whistle saw them hold a narrow 15-14 lead at the break.

Back in front, Malvern looked to kill the game off early in the second period and Harris crossed for his second of the afternoon to open up a bit of a lead and secure the bonus-point.

Hitchings crashed through the defence from 20 metres out to further that advantage for the hosts and with the score at 27-14, the game looked safe.

But back came Keresley, pinning Malvern deep in their own territory and eventually getting over the line following a long spell on the try-line.

With the game still in the balance and the hosts coming under more pressure, Malvern had to dig in and defend, which they did before managing to break up field and seal the result through replacement Archie Strutton's try.