MALVERN's challenging season continued on Saturday as a young, inexperienced side were comprehensively beaten by Stratford.

The first team has seen a number of younger players introduced to the set-up in recent weeks with a view to being in a better place to compete next season.

But that has resulted in some heavy defeats and it was the same again at the weekend as a strong Stratford side put them to the sword with what was a comfortable victory, even if Malvern fronted up and left it all out there on the pitch.

But it was better news for the club's second team as they were able to put an end to a recent run of defeats to reignite their push for the Counties 4 Midlands West (South) title.

The 2s were perhaps the team most affected by the club's decision to give some new players a run in the first team, with back-to-back defeats against league strugglers Keresley and Bishops Castle & Onny Valley seeing them lose control at the top of the table.

But a convincing 43-10 win over Redditch on Saturday at Spring Lane has generated some momentum ahead of the final four games of the season.

They are a point behind leaders Upton, but they do have a game in hand over Malvern at the summit and will need to slip up if they are to be caught.