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Malton & Norton hold out for encouraging triumph
2:45pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Sport
A MALTON & Norton side much-changed from the one originally selected made the long trip to Alnwick – and returned with the North One East spoils after a fine 20-17 win over the newly-promoted hosts.
It all came down to the final play when the home team opted against going for an equalising penalty goal and instead sought a winning try, only for Malton’s defence to hold firm.
It was the Ryedale club’s first win of the season and one from which they could take great credit, said spokesman Bill Laider.
“This victory should give the squad much more confidence for the weeks ahead,” he said.
“Because of the long injury list, a number of players have been asked to play in unaccustomed positions and all have performed admirably.
“George Harrison was the undoubted man of the match but others including Nick Salisbury, Ali Coe and Tom Parsons were close behind with Ian Cooke a dependable last line of defence.
“The team can take great credit from a winning performance.”
Malton had begun poorly – making a mess under the kick off with Alnwick awarded a scrum on the visitors’ 22-metre line – but it all ended up working in their favour.
A crooked feed gave Malt a free-kick which was taken quickly by flanker Harrison, who set off on a run which took him through several tackles before side-stepping the full back to score a great opening try with less than a minute on the clock.
Although heavily outweighed in the set-pieces, the Malton pack were hunting as a unit and some of the handling at close quarters was a joy to watch. On 10 minutes, they were unfortunate not to add to their lead when a long-range penalty from Charlie Ramsay rebounded off a post.
Both sides were playing an expansive game and it was Alnwick who struck next. From a set scrum on halfway, they moved the ball right before switching left to create a score in the corner to level the scores.
On the half-hour, Alnwick were denied another score when they knocked on close to the line. However, they shoved Malton off the ball at the scrum and spread the ball wide to the right to this time score and take the lead.
Malton were playing with great spirit and, with the back row of Harrison, Tom Parsons and Sam Triffitt covering every inch of the ground, they were first to most breakdowns.
After turning over possession in midfield, winger Henry Newitt made the initial break before handing on to Harrison who again broke two or three tackles to score close to the posts for Ramsay to convert and regain the initiative. The final two minutes of the half saw both sides miss long-range penalty attempts and Malton went into the break with a two-point advantage.
The second period began with Malton in determined mood and, when Alnwick were penalised for killing the ball at a ruck, Ramsay made no mistake with his penalty. At this stage, Malton were playing the better rugby and, had some of the passing been more precise, they could have added to Alnwick’s woe.
As it was, Alnwick contributed to their own demise when skipper and former Malton player Ben Boothman was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Newitt. Boothman was the mainstay of the Alnwick pack and his absence gave Malt some respite at close quarters.
At an Alnwick lineout, Coe stole possession and handed on to Harrison who in turn put hooker Salisbury in the clear to score from 20 metres out for what at the time seemed to be the killer score. Alnwick were far from finished, though, and with the game into injury time used the speed of their backs to finally break the Malton defence and score wide out. The conversion brought them back to within three points.
Then, in the sixth minute of added time, Alnwick were inexplicably awarded a penalty in front of the Malton posts. However, spurning the opportunity of a draw, they opted for a scrum, and, instead of keeping the ball in the pack for the expected pushover try, for some unknown reason they tried to spread it wide. The Malton defence held and the final whistle heralded an away victory.
Malton: I Cooke, T Clark, K Leiataua, B Woodhouse, H Newitt, C Ramsay, T Boyle, R Featherstone, N Salisbury, S Thompson, J Lumley, A Coe, T Parsons, G Harrison, S Triffitt. Subs (all used): L Welch, T Riddolls, J Bulmer.
* Malton & Norton 2nds lost 48-10 at home to a Sheffield Tigers 2nds side who were much stronger than the last time the sides met.
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