Late blow puts Malton & Norton in the mire

Gazette & Herald: York’s Andy Kay, right, breaks away from a busy midfield during his side’s 20-7 defeat by Heath in Yorkshire One at Clifton Park York’s Andy Kay, right, breaks away from a busy midfield during his side’s 20-7 defeat by Heath in Yorkshire One at Clifton Park

MALTON & Norton RUFC suffered an agonising setback in their fight for North One East survival as they lost 13-10 at home to fellow strugglers Northern.

The Ryedale side remain one place and three points above the drop zone, but all their relegation rivals have games in hand after a string of postponements.

The game at the Gannock looked to be heading for a 10-10 draw until Malt conceded a series of late penalties and Northern’s Donal Collins kicked the final one in injury time.

Former Sheffield kicking ace Collins had given his side an early lead when the hosts were caught off side in front of the posts.

Malton second row Mark Bradshaw was yellow-carded for entering a ruck from the wrong side. From the penalty, Northern went to the corner and a clean catch and drive produced a try wide out for Collins to convert.

Once restored to a full complement, Malton drove deep into Northern territory and, after three penalties in succession, fly-half Charlie Ramsay narrowed the gap.

On the stroke of half-time, Malton flanker Ali Coe was sin-binned for offering some advice to the referee.

With two minutes of the second half gone, Ramsay was unfortunate to see a penalty attempt rebound to safety from a post. Midway through the half, Malt had a scrum in the Northern 22-metre area.

Number eight Sean Emms picked up and made ground before setting up a ruck. Quick ball was fed to prop Paul Dobson, who arrived at speed to crash over under the posts. Ramsay’s conversion levelled the scores.

The two sides missed further difficult kicks but, in the closing minutes Malton lost second row Duncan Foster to the sin bin when he was adjudged to have taken out his man in a lineout close to the Malt line. As the game entered injury time, Northern were awarded a succession of penalties and Collins converted the last to snatch victory.

Pocklington gave a textbook display of how not to play with the wind at Driffield, and it rendered their courageous second half performance insufficient as they went down 23-20.

Pock’s indiscipline also cost them as they lost two forwards to the sin bin at key moments.

Pock made a strong start and exerted forward pressure before a lineout catch and drive was finished by flanker Jack Holbrough.

Full-back Nick Bennett converted from out wide.

Driffield pulled back an easy penalty through full-back Jordan McGregor and Bennett replied with a similar kick before Pock were pinned on their own line and the referee awarded a penalty try after a couple of scrum offences.

That made it 10-10 at the interval and put Driffield in the driving seat with the wind to come.

Five minutes after the restart, Driffield hacked on a loose ball and wing Sam Furbank got a try, converted by McGregor.

Good pack drives set up the position for the Pock backs to launch a midfield switch that saw wing Tim Nixon carve through to the posts, Bennett converting.

The two kickers again swapped penalties to make it 20-20 going into the last 15 minutes, but Pock gave away a needless penalty and McGregor was on target to edge Driffield to victory.

Sixth-placed York lost 20-7 to Heath in Yorkshire One, having held a 7-3 half-time lead at Clifton Park.

Flanker Steve Kerr crossed for York’s try on 30 minutes and Charlie Young converted.

Heath pulled a penalty back before the break and a try gave them the lead six minutes into the second half.

A 58th minute try extended the visitors’ lead and, despite late pressure from York, Heath added a converted try in injury time.

Selby’s trip to Old Brodleians in Yorkshire One was postponed, as was York RI’s Yorkshire Four fixture at Ossett.

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