DIRECTOR of rugby Rob Cook was delighted to see a "massive improvement" from his Malvern side as they defeated Stoke-on-Trent 23-15 at Spring Lane.

Malvern were thrashed 41-0 on the opening weekend of the Midlands One West by Old Halesonians but responded well as they started Saturday's clash with intent.

Centre Dan Batty scored the opening try and landed two penalties in the second half to settle the contest with scrum-half Luke Milton also crossing the whitewash.

"After the Old Hales result we put in some pretty intensive training work to address the issues that arose in that game," Cook said.

"I think you could see from Saturday's performance that there was a massive improvement in our play despite a bit of a lapse after the break.

"Our younger lads are adjusting quickly to the pace of the adult game and our pack looked pretty stable.

"We will have many more games like Saturday where we will need to grind out results by concentrating for the full 80 minutes and I was pleased with the progress we made on the field."

Malvern made six changes to the side that were thrashed by Old Hales as they welcomed a Stoke team who finished fourth in the league last season.

After a few attacks which were halted by forward passes or knock-ons Malvern stole the ball after a Stoke scrum and centre Batty threaded his way through a flat-footed defence to score. Ben King added the extras.

The early converted try seemed to work wonders for Malvern's confidence.

They mounted repeated attacks before winning a kickable penalty which King duly dispatched for a 10-0 lead.

The Malvern forwards were giving the Stoke unit plenty of trouble and after a scrum secured the ball Milton went over to set up a conversion for Jasper Windsor-Clive.

Malvern crossed the line again moments later but Dion Shekells-King's effort was adjudged to have been held up despite photographic evidence showing that he had grounded the ball.

The young full-back was sin-binned soon after for interfering at a Stoke penalty as the half drew to a close.

The second period opened with a surprise for Malvern as Stoke took a quick penalty and scored a converted try.

This seemed to rattle the home side who then made a poor restart which allowed the Stoke pack to win a scrum and go over for another score, closing the gap to 17-12.

With the visitors only one score behind Malvern needed to regain control of the game and they duly did so, putting in some great defensive work to halt their opponents and then counter attacking.

They won a penalty and Batty settled nerves by slotting the kick over.

Losing Richard Fleming to injury on his first game after returning to the club Malvern reshuffled the backs, but sterling defence and quick counter attacking saw the Staffordshire side stifled.

Although they clawed back three points near the end, Batty ensured Malvern's lead was unassailable with a penalty of his own.

Malvern take on Stourbridge Lions at Stourton Park on Friday night (7.30pm).