MALTON & Norton are doomed to relegation – after their renewed hopes of beating the drop were well and truly scuppered by a chastening derby defeat.
A shock victory at Rochdale last week brought belief that Malton could climb out of the danger zone in North One East in their remaining two victories.
However, the team were humiliated 70-33 by visitors Driffield at The Gannock on Saturday, after they conceded a succession of second-half tries as heads dropped once it became obvious that their fate was sealed.
The result saw them fall back to the foot of the table, six points from safety with only one match to go.
Club spokesman Bill Laider said: “Following the previous week’s outstanding show at Rochdale much was expected from Malt.
“However, Driffield had other ideas and played with far more pace and purpose than Malton throughout.
“Had Driffield kicked more of their conversions and not failed with the final pass on several occasions, the scoreline could have read much worse.
“Our final game of the season on Saturday is away to league leaders Cleckheaton and, if a further embarrassment is to be avoided, we will have to improve immensely from this performance.”
Driffield kicked off and, when Malton spilled the ball, the visitors duly won the scrum and spun it wide for the opening try with barely two minutes on the clock.
Within the next 13 minutes they had rattled up a further two tries as they tore into a shell-shocked Malton side. Fortunately for the hosts, Driffield’s kicking was not as good as their running and all of the tries went unconverted.
Malton briefly sprung into life midway through the half when they won a lineout on halfway.
Quick hands across the backs put the ball into the possession of full-back Sizwe Zondo, who made good ground before passing to wing Ian Cooke, who showed all his silky skills to outwit the defence and break clear.
A late tap tackle brought him to the ground but skipper Sam Triffitt was on hand to take the offload and cross between the posts. Cooke added the extras.
Thir comeback, though, was short-lived as Driffield again cut loose and got the try bonus point with only 22 minutes gone. Malton were being run ragged and a further two Driffield tries brought a half-time score of 32-7.
Following the break, Malton made a desperate effort to get back into the game.
From a free kick, the ball was fed to the pack, who drove forward for hooker Nick Salisbury to touch down.
Ten minutes later, they were at it again from a tap penalty, as the forwards drove forward before releasing the ball to the backs.
A well-timed pass from centre Charlie Ramsay found flanker Tom Caygill arriving at pace to cross the line for Malton’s third try. Cooke’s conversion brought the score to 32-19 and rekindled hope.
Malton, in patches, were playing some good rugby but they seemed incapable of keeping possession for any length of time, turning it over with monotonous regularity.
Driffield took full advantage and a further score took them to 46-19 before a clearance by the visitors was charged down and Malt wing Ben Woodhouse found himself in possession to sprint over, Cooke converting.
Nonetheless, Driffield thereafter took full control over a downhearted home side and a succession of tries followed before Cooke got a consolation in the closing minutes to close the Malton book.
Malton: S Zondo, I Cooke, P Fifita, B Woodhouse, K Leiataua, J Bulmer, P Dobson, N Salisbury, E Gwilliam, J Rounthwaite, S Emms, T Caygill, A Coe, S Triffitt Subs (all used): A Turnbull, C Birkett, T Lowry.