MALVERN remained one point behind leaders Droitwich in Midlands Two West (South) after a 36-24 win at lowly Nuneaton Old Edwardians.

The game was played on a sticky pitch with persistent rain and Malvern had to make pack changes due to unavailability.

They faced a challenge up front against Nuneaton who were determined to impress watching coach and Wasps professional Jimmy Gopperth.

The visitors were pinned back for the first 15 minutes but tackled with power and precision.

A moment of magic gave Malvern the lead as fly-half Adam Dixon chipped into the corner for full-back Rob Cook to catch on the run and then convert his own try.

The Spring Lane side struggled with the conditions with knock-ons, over-runs and penalties conceded.

Old Eds broke to exert pressure and kicked a penalty but Malvern kept the ball alive well in reply and scrum-half George Parsons supported well to finish off a fine try.

However, the hosts' dominance in the scrum paid off and they eventually got close enough to force a penalty try, making it 12-10 to Cook's side at half-time.

The second period started with another try for Parsons as he took advantage of a dropped ball on halfway and kicked through to go over in the corner.

But an inspired Old Eds side put Malvern under pressure and scored a converted try next to the posts to level.

From kick-off, Cook switched play and kicked with a fumble by the Old Eds winger allowing captain Tom Hale to feed centre Ben King for a try.

Malvern altered their game plan by turning the home defence with kicks through and then using their pacy backs to put pressure on.

A resulting knock-on resulted in a Malvern scrum 10 metres from the line and quick ball saw Cook fend off weak tackles to score under the posts and convert.

Repeated Nuneaton scrums eventually led to Malvern prop Charles Rambridge receiving his first career yellow card and the home side took full advantage with a second penalty try.

But Malvern pinned Old Eds back again and a wayward clearance went to Cook on halfway before he ran straight through to score a hat-trick try and convert, completing the scoring.

Cook said: "This wasn't our best performance. Old Eds played to the conditions and their strengths and we were in a real game.

"I am however pleased with the way we stuck to our task and achieved the bonus-point win."

Malvern host Veseyans on Saturday in the North Midlands Shield quarter-finals (2.15pm).