IT was another testing afternoon for Malvern on Saturday as they were well beaten by a strong Newent side at Spring Lane.

The title-chasing visitors arrived in Worcestershire needing maximum points to keep in touch with the top two sides in the Regional 2 Midlands West, and they did so in style as they proved too good for the young Malvern side.

The visitors started well and the early signs were that it was going to be a long day for Malvern. Newent crossed three times in the first-half to hold a commanding 19-0 lead, with fly-half Thomas Webb the star of the show.

Malvern had their moments in the opening 40 minutes and, like most weeks, enjoyed plenty of possession, but were unable to convert pressure into points. 

Newent scored their bonus-point try immediately from the restart but, instead of imploding, the hosts battled away and Jack Curtis crossed the line to cap off an excellent team try.

They were throwing everything they had at Newent, but the away side were a level above and weathered the storm before finishing with a flurry of tries down the left wing to wrap up the 43-5 win.

As has been the case all season, it was not just the first team in action on Saturday as Malvern fielded three senior teams. 

The second XV came into 2024 in pole position to win the Counties 4 Midlands West (South) but last weekend's surprise defeat to strugglers Bishops Castle & Onny Valley dented their chances, meaning their trip to bottom-of-the-league Five Ways Old Edwardians took on increased significance.

Looking to bounce back, Malvern were first on the board when Corey Ncnally raced under the posts from 60 yards out and the winger soon had a second as the visitors led 14-0.

The home side did provide a warning to Malvern later in the first-half with a try either side of Cullen Harris adding a third for Malvern as the game was evenly poised at 12-21 at half-time.

But, playing against the wind, Malvern collapsed in the second-half and two tries from Five Ways saw them record a big upset by a single point.

That leaves the 2s a point off the league summit having played a game more than leaders Upton, who romped to a 63-24 victory over Droitwich.

Both the 1s and 2s have a rest week this weekend, but the 3s will again be in action away at Woodrush. They also played on Saturday at home against Alcester.