MALTON & Norton achieved just the result they needed to start the new year – an 11-7 victory at Wheatley Hills to ease their relegation concerns in North One East.
Despite the pre-match drama of late call-offs and one non-appearance, Malton’s young guns pulled off a great result against a side renowned for giving little away at their Doncaster home. Malton’s fast and mobile pack were the architects of the success but a lack of errors in the backs and some excellent game management from fly-half Charlie Ramsay made it a total team performance.
Said spokesman Bill Laidler: “It would be unfair to pick out individuals from such a good performance. “All 17 players who took part were prepared to put their body on the line for the team and the result was the finest performance of the season.
“If they can reproduce the same commitment for the remainder of the campaign all fears of relegation will be dispelled.”
Such a belief will be quickly put to the test, as Malton have a tough home game on Saturday against promotion hopefuls West Hartlepool. But confidence will surely be boosted.
From the off against Wheatley Hills, the pack attacked with some driving runs, quick offloads and superb ball retention to gain valuable yardage and keep the home side on the back foot. The reward came after eight minutes when another move took Malton 40 metres upfield and included backs and forwards combining well before skipper Sam Triffitt made a break for the line and touched down in the corner.
Malton’s pick-and-drive game, executed at speed, had Hills’ defence at sixes and sevens and, with a little luck, could have produced more tries. As it was, the hosts were reduced in numbers due to a yellow card for a deliberate infringement in front of his own posts. Ramsay increased the lead to 8-0 with the penalty.
Despite the dull conditions, Malton began the second half in much the same way as they had finished the first. Some excellent positional kicking from Ramsay and the siege-gun boot of Pat Fifita meant Wheatley had little territorial advantage and kept Malt on the front foot. However, a long-range penalty effort from Ramsay fell just short after 10 minutes and, midway through the half, Wheatley showed what they could do if given the opportunity.
Following a lineout close to the Malton line, they mounted a series of unstoppable drives to bring the score differential to one point. Malt were still a hungry unit and increased their efforts again. They were unable to increase the try tally but ensured that what they had they would hold. With 15 minutes left, Wheatley were again forced to concede a penalty after another Malton pick-and-drive assault.
This time Ramsay put the ball cleanly between the posts from range to increase the lead to four points. This time there was no way Malton were going to allow a comeback from the opposition as has been the case in several previous games and they kept up the pressure with some ferocious drives right to the final whistle.
Malton: I Cooke, H Owston, B Woodhouse, P Fifita, P Angus, C Ramsay, T Boyle, P Dobson, S Thompson, E Gwilliam, M Bradshaw, S Emms, A Coe, G Harrison, S Triffitt. Subs (both used): A Turnbull, T Parsons.
• Malton & Norton 2nds bagged their first win of the season at the start of the new year thanks to a six-try 30-0 win over old enemies Bridlington 2nds.
Despite the scramble to get a side out, Malt ended up with a squad of 22 thanks to the third team's opposition calling their game off. Jonny Newsome and Tim Casey also made their seasonal debuts, bringing much-needed experience to the young side.
Although none of the tries were converted, it was a competent, organised, team win and showed what the side is capable of with the correct balance of youth and experience in the ranks.
Malt started brightly with forwards Rob Featherstone, Rob Stephenson and John Lumley taking the ball to the opposition, allowing dynamic prop Nick Salisbury to burst over for the first try.
Brid were struggling to cope with the driving pack and, with fly-half Sean Quinn bringing centres Scott Kneeshaw and Paul Sykes into the game, wingers Gary Davies and James Dwyer were able to make some strong runs, ably supported by full-back Rob Dempsey.
Pressure on the Brid line resulted in scrum-half Reggae Cattle surging over and the half time score of 10-0 was a reflection of the endeavour and reward for Brid's defence.
The second half saw Malt up their game as Brid tired, and the back row took full advantage. Gary Davies was next over the whitewash following a good attacking period before Tom Lowry grabbed two opportunist tries. Sean Quinn rounded off the scoring with a deserved individual try.
Salisbury was probably the standout player but only just ahead of several others including Quinn, Sykes, Kneeshaw, Lowry, Lumley and Sam Annan.