RESURGENT Malton & Norton moved eight points clear of the North One East drop zone with an eye-catching 25-21 victory over high-flying West Hartlepool.
The outstanding Gannock triumph over third-placed Wests was the perfect follow-up to Malt’s much-needed victory at Wheatley Hills the previous weekend.
Club spokesman Bill Laidler said: “Once again the entire side can take credit for this performance.
“The pack were immense but the no-nonsense defence and skilful use of the ball by the backs ensured that wherever we attacked we caused a threat.
“We travel to second-placed Huddersfield YMCA on Saturday and can carry the confidence gained in the past two weeks forward into that encounter.”
Like in the previous week, the key to the victory was teamwork.
The forwards dominated the opposition pack and the backs used the ball sensibly to cause problems in the visiting ranks.
An early setback had Malton trailing after two minutes when they were penalised in front of their own posts for an offside offence at a ruck. Visiting full-back Stu Waites kicked the points.
The reply was immediate. The Malton pack, resuming where they left off the previous week, drove deep into the West Harlepool half.
This time it was Wests who conceded a penalty and fly-half Charlie Ramsay converted.
From the restart, Malton showed their quality. Taking the ball cleanly, the play was set up for Ramsay and, in a pre-planned move, he hoisted a kick high and wide. The aerial challenge was won by winger Leki Atiola who knocked the ball into the hands of full-back Ian Cooke.
A dummy and sidestep took him past the defence and on a 60-metre run to the line for a try under the posts. Ramsay converted.West Hartlepool had a period of pressure and narrowed the gap with another penalty when Malton were again adjudged to have transgressed at a ruck.
A further period of pressure was relieved when hooker Simon Thompson, the standout forward of the first half, intercepted a pass and raced 50 metres.
However, the ball was eventually put into touch and Wests again made ground. Malton were penalised at the breakdown and Waites reduced the arrears to one point.
Malton were still showing a willingness to take the game to the opposition and pick-and-drive moves pushed Wests back time and again as the first half ended with the hosts 10-9 in front.
Malton kicked off the second half and their intentions were clear in the opening minute.
When Wests knocked on 30 metres out, Malton executed a training ground move from the scrum.
Atiola, coming off his wing, cut through the first line of defence before feeding Cooke, who in turn fed flanker Ali Coe and he powered over in the corner.
Malton were flying and 10 minutes later they were awarded a penalty under the posts. Spurning the opportunity of three points, flanker George Harrison took the tap to set up a drive which gave scrum-half Tom Boyle the touchdown.
Ramsay converted and Malton led 22-9. West Hartlepool were still a danger, however, and they narrowed the gap once more with a catch-and-drive try from a lineout by number eight Sam Miller midway through the half.
When Malt conceded a penalty, the boot of Waites brought his side to within one score again. Malton needed another score to create breathing space and Ramsay supplied it with a 40-metre penalty.
The visitors had to score twice to take the spoils and a concerted effort had the Malton defence creaking.
Deep into injury time, they finally cracked. Wests mounted a series of drives close to the line and, when the numbers ran out in defence, flanker Jon Boatman crossed for his side’s second try to ensure the losing bonus point.
Malton: I Cooke, P Angus, P Fifita, B Woodhouse, L Atiola, C Ramsay, T Boyle, P Dobson, S Thompson, E Gwilliam, M Bradshaw, S Emms, A Coe, G Harrison, S Triffitt. Subs: T Parsons, A Turnbull, N Daley.
Guy is main man as third team enjoy fine win
WINGER Guy Welsh scored all four tries as Malton & Norton 3rds enjoyed a 24-19 win at Selby in a fine third-team contest.
Malt, having rallied to get out a team, borrowed a Selby forward to make a full complement.
They had a much smaller pack, with Tony Watson and Ben Owston in the front row, Phil Scaling and the ever-improving Sean Ward in the engine room and a youthful back row of Joe Tenge and Alex Machin aided by wily old fox Marty Nordlii.
But they did well against the powerful Selby eight, with Tenge quick to every breakdown, Machin superb in the lineout and Ward having his best game to date.
Jon Newsome marshalled his troops from stand-off, while the midfield bossed proceedings as Simon Massey was the perfect foil for his young outside centre Mike McCourt, and it was their hard work that set up Welsh for his first score, Marcus Lyon converting.
From a deep kick, Matt Midgley at full-back countered to link well with winger George Lumley. Then a swift interchange saw Newsome bring Massey and McCourt into play to set up Welsh for his second.
Selby responded from a driving maul for a 12-7 half-time scoreline and, after battering the Malt line on the resumption, finally broke through to equalise.
But Malt rallied again using the backs to good effect and soon Welsh bagged his hat-trick, Lyon converting.
Selby levelled again after great work by their forwards, but again Malt responded, this time from a scrum which, for once, they won.
Tenge picked up, drove on and fed Lumley. Lyon then fed Newsome, who again found space for his centres and Welsh popped up to score the winner.
Selby went all out to respond but Malt held on.