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Credit but no spoils as Malton & Norton RUFC open with defeat
3:29pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in Sport
Malton & Norton centre Pat Fifita breaks through the Cleckheaton defence to score his team’s first try in their opening game of the North One East campaign
Malton’s injury woes meant the make-up of pack was in doubt until late on the eve of the game. Eventually, farmer Duncan Foster forsook the land for an afternoon and Tim Casey was called into action in the second row alongside him. Both played a large role in what, in the circumstances, was a good display from Malt.
Malton spokesman Bill Laidler said: “Cleckheaton were the better side for much of the game and fully deserved the victory but Malton can take a lot of credit for the way in which they came back from almost oblivion to almost take the final spoils.”
Malton next go to Alnwick, this Saturday, looking to cut down on the amount of cheap turnover ball.
Added Laidler: “Had we not been so benevolent (to Cleckheaton) in the way we handed possession to the visitors on several occasions there may have been a different final outcome.”
Cleckheaton, so often a hard side to overcome, opened brightly. From a lineout 20 metres out they drove forward before releasing to the backs. They then reset and changed the direction of play to open up the defence for the opening try. Cleckheaton continued to pound away at the Malton line throughout the opening quarter. Determined defence held them at bay until a strong drive took them over for the second try. The conversion was successful and the home support was beginning to worry.
However, Malt counter attacked and gained a penalty when Cleckheaton failed to release the ball after a tackle. Fly-half Charlie Ramsay reduced the deficit. Malton came more into the game and tried to free their dangerous backs. Centres Pat Fifita and Kenton Leiataua showed good touches while the Newitt brothers were a constant threat on the wings. Cleckheaton were again penalised when they did not release under pressure and Ramsay’s boot cut the deficit to 12-6.
However, deep in first-half stoppage time, Malton gifted the visitors another try and conversion when a loose pass in midfield was seized upon, Cleckheaton creating a four-man overlap for a 19-6 interval lead.
Malt resumed in determined fashion. Cleckheaton again conceded a penalty at the breakdown and Ramsay again obliged. However, Cleck struck straight back. Malton tried to run the ball out of their 22 instead of clearing the ball upfield. A loose pass was gladly accepted and Cleckheaton had their bonus point try. Malton were not finished, though.
Flanker George Harrison set up Fifita 30 metres out and the centre bust through the line and carried two defenders over the whitewash. Five minutes later, Malton skipper Sam Triffitt, Harrison and Tom Parsons, proving to be a very competent back row, got their reward, a strong drive by the pack fittingly seeing Parsons credited with the try after a break from scrum-half Tom Boyle. Ian Cooke added the extras to bring the score to just 24-23 in Cleckheaton’s favour.
Hopes were now raised in the Malton ranks as they battled to gain the ascendancy. However, the injury jinx struck again when Fifita was forced off with a knee injury, and it was the visitors who drew next blood. Stealing a Malton throw at a lineout, they set up a series of drives to suck in the defence before freeing up their threequarters for the final score of the game.
Malton: I Cooke, T Newitt, K Leiataua, P Fifita (B Woodhouse), H Newitt, C Ramsay, D Boyle, P Dobson, N Salisbury, R Featherstone (S Thompson), T Casey, D Foster, T Parsons (R Garland), G Harrison, S Triffitt.
• MALTON & NORTON RUFC Under-13s competed with a strong Castleford XV but lost 33-15.
After an uncertain start when they conceded three tries, the Malton boys hit back to score a penalty and an excellent try from Cameron Wainwright.
The second half was quite evenly matched with Malton performing strongly in the scrums, lineouts and rucks. George Austin-Thompson scored a try under the posts. Malton’s penalty and conversion were both kicked by Iain Oakley.
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