Malone gained their second victory of the current Ulster Bank League run with a 23-10 dismissal of UL Bohemians at weather-beaten Gibson Park on Saturday.
The Cregagh Red Sox got back to winning ways in Division 1B, using the conditions to their advantage in the first half as wily scrum half John Creighton grabbed a brace of tries and centre Nathan Brown also touched down.
Creighton scored the first and third, showing a clean pair of heel during two excellent solo bursts, while Brown added a well-taken effort in between. Out-half Josh Pentland contributed five points off the kicking tee.
That opened up a considerable 20-point lead by the break, but it was Malone's well-drilled defence which eventually copper-fastened the win as they staved off a second half fight-back from UL Bohs in the driving rain.
The home side had to cope with Creighton's departure through injury soon after the restart, while yellow cards for captain Conor Joyce (pictured below) and James McCallister had them playing for 20 minutes with 14 men.
However, the Ulster outfit pulled through in the end as they defended doggedly and stayed on top in the scrum, with hooker Paul Jackson and flanker Ben McDonnell both impressing in the forward exchanges. A final penalty from the trusty boot of Pentland was enough to steer them over the finish line.
From UL's point of view, they will be frustrated that they allowed Malone to dominate the first half. Had their defence been better, they might have been able to hang onto the hosts' coat-tails.
The second period saw the Bohs pack hurt Malone with a series of well-executed driving mauls. Openside Ian Condell touched down from one in the early stages and out-half Shane Airey converted and swiftly added a penalty as they chipped away at the deficit.
But the visitors were frustrated by Malone's strong willed defence and they were unable to even pick up a losing bonus point, with their attentions now quickly turning to next Friday's Limerick derby against Garryowen.
Malone head coach Jacques Benade will have been disappointed not to garner five points on the day given their three-try salvo in the opening 40 minutes, but the result gives his charges a timely boost ahead of next weekend's trip to unbeaten leaders Ballymena.
Giving his reaction to the Newsletter, Benade said: “This was an important result as with Corinthians beating Buccaneers (on Friday) I think if we didn't get four points we would have been in trouble. It would have put us in a position that we wouldn't want to be in going into these next three games (against Ballymena, Galwegians and Garryowen).
“It was good to get this win and it wasn't easy in these conditions. We're not a team who enjoy playing in these conditions as we like to play a bit of rugby.”
Asked about missing out on the try-scoring bonus point, he admitted: “I think we threw away one and were maybe a little bit ill-disciplined (over a first half disallowed try), but I thought we took our chances really well and our scrum was outstanding.
“When the final whistle went I think anything would have done for us really 3-0, 5-3, 6-3 whatever would have done for us.
“The attitude from the boys was first class and they all wanted to go and win and I think that defensive effort (in the second half) was just magnificent.”
Referee: David Connolly (IRFU)