Malton & Norton must do better in second half of season

Gazette & Herald: George Elliott, Malton & Norton’s loanee from York City Knights rugby league outfit, scored a try and was often a danger in the defeat at Driffield George Elliott, Malton & Norton’s loanee from York City Knights rugby league outfit, scored a try and was often a danger in the defeat at Driffield

THE mid-season report for Malton & Norton was “could do much better” in the wake of a 37-32 North One East defeat at Driffield.

The Ryedale side have won five of their 13 games to be eighth in the table – only four points above the drop zone – at the campaign’s halfway point.

Malt and Driffield shared 10 tries on Saturday, but the visitors came out second best.

Club spokesman Bill Laidler said: “We had to be content with two bonus points from a game in which we had the opportunity to take all five points.

“Had we not gifted Driffield at least two of their tries that would have been the outcome.

“Driffield must be given credit for a never-say-die attitude – something we could do well to emulate.”

Next up for Malt is the visit of Alnwick on Saturday (2.15pm) and improvements are sought.

Laidler added: “The half-term report should read ‘could do much better’.”

At times some of the rugby served up by Driffield and Malton was sparkling, but at others it was dismal and error-ridden.

Driffield spent most of the first five minutes in the Malton half, but when they transgressed at a ruck Malt were quickly into their stride.

A quick tap and go penalty by new scrum-half Charlie Birkett was passed on to wing Henry Newitt, who made headway before passing inside to second-row Mark Bradshaw.

His strong run was carried on by flanker Ali Coe, who crossed in the corner.

From the restart, Malton again attacked. Good handling and a fine break by centre George Elliott produced a penalty when Driffield failed to release the tackled player. Fly-half Charlie Ramsay added the three points.

Malton conceded far too many penalties, though, and, when Driffield found touch 20 metres from the Malton line, a catch and drive could not be stopped as the hosts narrowed the gap to one point.

Ten minutes later, Birkett was sent to the sin-bin when singled out following a succession of penalties – though, almost immediately, Driffield likewise had a man yellow-carded due to their own foul play.

On the half hour, Driffield were penalised in front of their own posts. Another quick tap and go penalty by Henry Newitt was carried on by the forwards and Paul Dobson came up with the score. Ramsay converted for a 15-7 lead.

Again Driffield struck back from the restart. An attempted drop goal soared wide and towards the corner. Malton seemed content to let the ball go dead, but Driffield’s right winger seized it and scored an unlikely try.

The next five minutes produced a flurry of scoring.

Elliott made a defence-splitting break before handing on to Ian Cooke, who outwitted the cover before handing on to Tom Newitt to cross in the corner.

But a combination of good handling by the home threequarters and poor defence from Malton opened the way for Driff to reduce the deficit to one point.

From the restart, Malton set up a couple of forward drives before releasing to the backs. Slick handling put the ball into Elliott’s hands and he crossed for Ramsay to convert and give Malton a 27-19 half-time lead.

After the break, Malt continued to concede too many penalties. They transgressed at a scrum in midfield and more poor tackling gave the hosts a converted try.

A couple of minutes later Driff took the lead with a penalty for offside. From a scrum in centre field, Malton got the ball to Tom Newitt and he made good yardage before the pack took over and Coe bagged his second try.

However, Tom Newitt was sin-binned for offering advice to the referee and, from the penalty, Driffield levelled.

Amid the mistakes some good rugby was still being played, with Malton trying to use their running game and Driffield retaining field position with accurate kicking.

The killer blow for Malton came midway through the half.

A lineout 10 metres from their line should have been secured, but the ball went loose for Driffield to use their extra man to cross in the corner. Malton tried hard thereafter but were unable to make any further inroads. Flankers Coe and George Harrison stood out, with Birkett and Elliott adding something to the threequarters.

Malton: I Cooke, T Newitt, H Shepherd, G Elliott, H Newitt, C Ramsay, C Birkett, P Dobson, S Thompson, E Gwilliam, D Foster, M Bradshaw, A Coe, G Harrison, S Triffitt. Subs (all used): S Emms, B Woodhouse, T Lowry.

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