Malton & Norton in derby battle for survival

Gazette & Herald: Pocklingtons Chris Hyde in action.pic: ACR (5092071) Pocklingtons Chris Hyde in action.pic: ACR (5092071)

IS the great escape on? Malton & Norton RUFC may still be staring North One East relegation in the face but a victory over high-flying Rochdale last week has given them hope of beating the drop and a win over mid-table Driffield at The Gannock tomorrow could give them a real lifeline.

Head coach Chris Creber's men became only the second team to win at the Lancashire club all season when they came away with a 22-19 victory - a result which leaves them four points away from safety with two games remaining.

"Only one other side this season has travelled to Rochdale and won, which puts into perspective this achievement from Malt," reflected club spokesman Bill Laidler. "Malton can now go into tomorrow's derby against Driffield at The Gannock with renewed hope."

The result lifted Malton off the foot of the table and ended a run of seven straight league defeats. Driffield, ensconced in mid-table, have won ten of their 24 games. When the sides met in East Yorkshire in early December, the home side edged a high-scoring encounter 37-32.

Laidler added: "There was a switch round in the three-quarters against Rochdale that saw Ian Cooke brought into the midfield and the pack played out of their skins. We need more of the same. A five point haul would be very useful and would give us a real chance."

John Lumley's injured shoulder brings in Tom Caygill in the only change from last week's squad.

Pocklington play their last home North One East match when they entertain Huddersfield YMCA.

The two sides have been keen rivals in recent years with Pocklington invariably finishing just ahead of the West Yorkshire outfit. But this season the roles have been reversed and Huddersfield are in second spot in the table and have already qualified for a promotion play-off against the North West division runners-up.

Teenage half-back Dan Elliot, son of former York fly-half and captain Nigel, made a promising debut off the bench last week, but he is needed by Pocklington Colts who have a challenging National Colts Plate semi-final on Saturday away to Market Harborough. Jack Fletcher returns to the senior squad.

Forwards Dan Wilson and Marcus Britland are missing so evergreen lock Chris Hyde and Newcastle University and former Yorkshire Under-20 flanker Richard Skowronek come into the pack.

Selby will aim to dent Dinnington's Yorkshire One title hopes.

The Sandhill Laners entertain the league leaders looking to spring a minor surprise against a side that has lost just five of their 24 games. Selby lost their place in the top four when they slipped to an 18-11 defeat at Bridlington and Old Brodleians hammered Acklam.

York, who edged past Pontefract 38-35 in a high scoring match last weekend, are on the road at Scarborough in Yorkshire One, while York RI return to action following a week off with a Yorkshire Four clash against Mossborough at New Lane.

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