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Battling Malton & Norton stun Rochdale to fire safety bid
Updated 10:44am Monday 31st March 2014 in Sport
MALTON & Norton RUFC kept alive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation from North One East with a stunning 22-19 victory at high-flying Rochdale.
The result lifted the Ryedale side off the bottom of the table and to within four points of fourth-from-bottom Middlesbrough with two games remaining.
The home side opened the scoring with a converted try, but Malt responded midway through the first period when some well controlled pick and drives got them near the line.
Hooker Nick Salisbury was the man in possession when the mass crossed the whitewash and was credited with the touch down.
Rochdale then moved 12-5 in front with an unconverted try, but Malt kept the ball from the kick off and drove the home side backwards several times.
Again it was Salisbury who got the ball down for Ian Cooke to convert and level the scores at 12-12.
The forwards had taken the glory in the first half but the new look threequarter line, with James Bulmer at scrum-half, Kenton Leiataua at fly-half, full-back Sizwe Zondo and Ian Cooke in the centre had also shown their skills.
After the break, quick handling across the backs put the ball into the hands of wing Ben Woodhouse and he crossed in the corner. Cooke converted with a brilliant kick from the touchline.
Rochdale turned the screw and when Malton failed to clear from a lineout they levelled the scores.
Ten minutes from time, Rochdale failed to release after a tackle and Cooke stepped up to kick the winning points, with the defence holding out to the final whistle.
Agony followed ecstacy for Pocklington at West Hartlepool when they looked to have saved the game only to lose 13-10 to a last-gasp penalty.
Pocklington trailed 10-5 with three minutes to go when scrum-half Ben Rees burst over for a try to level the scores and raise hopes of a battling victory.
The conversion attempt drifted wide and Pocklington were then penalised straight from the kick off to allow West Hartlepool to snatch the result.
Pock's defence was stretched on both flanks in the opening quarter but they held out to restrict West Hartlepool to a single penalty.
A powerful Pocklington pack drive on the half hour set up a blind side raid that brought a try for strong running wing Tim Nixon.
However, they then gifted West Hartlepool the lead when they tried to run out of defence and coughed up an interception try under the posts.
Pock went close on several occasions after the break, with number eight Marcus Britland being denied three times.
Twice he was held up over the line, then he dived for the corner and the referee overruled the touch judge to award a lineout.
Rees then pulled a bizarre score out of the hat, the skipper passing the ball backwards to nobody, then running back to retrieve it and spinning round to slice straight through the home defence from 30 yards.
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