MALVERN returned to form in style with a 34-22 beating of county rivals Droitwich in Midlands One West at Spring Lane.

Josh Herbert was back for his first game in over two years after a serious knee injury alongside debuts for scrum-half George Bilclough and colts players Lewis Hardiman and Tom Bill.

With thoughts of avenging October's 59-29 defeat at Droitwich, Malvern started with an intensity which shook the visitors, tackling like demons to stifle their big, powerful forwards and forcing errors to keep the Saltmen on the back foot.

After one promising attack took them close the Malvern pack shocked the large away support by driving back the Droitwich eight to secure the ball against the head.

Quick recycling saw Jasper Windsor-Clive dart through to open the scoring for Malvern.

Rob Cook grounded but winger Hardiman was adjudged to have just put his foot in touch in the lead-up.

But then Hardiman showed his blistering pace to outrun the defence to score after Malvern forced another turnover.

As Droitwich struggled to fight back Herbert produced a big tackle and linked up with Hardiman to set Grant Fraser off on a gallop to score a third try.

Bottom-of-the-table Malvern continued to thwart the visitors with tenacious tackling and utilised the strong wind to kick downfield.

Turning over the ball again, Malvern whipped it across the back-line for Hardiman to turn on the afterburners and score his second try with King converting for a 22-0 lead at the break.

With Droitwich benefitting from the strong wind they replied with a try from a five-metre scrum but Malvern increased the gap to five scores when they patiently took the ball deep into away territory for Sam Parsons to score and King convert.

Droitwich scored again but Malvern denied them momentum as changes were made.

Fraser made way for John Clark who was making his first appearance for many years.

Two late scores from fourth-from-bottom Droitwich earned a bonus point but Malvern's sparkling first half had ensured their first league win since November 17.

With two colts making their first XV debuts and four more in the seconds, Malvern look to have a bright future even if this season has been a write-off because of injuries and other disruptions.

Malvern are still 19 points off Droitwich who are comfortably outside the drop zone.

They visit Dudley Kingswinford on Saturday in search of more points while Droitwich go to Moseley Oak.