MALTON & Norton RUFC were hit by a late Pocklington comeback as they lost 23-14 in North One East at Percy Road.

The away side paid the price for taking a tap penalty in search of a try when they led 14-13 with 15 minutes remaining.

Instead of three points from a penalty attempt, they came away empty-handed and Pock took the lead with a seven-pointer before sealing the game with a penalty of their own.

Persistent rain for 60 minutes proved the old adage about the weather being a great leveller and often an advantage to the heavier pack in the local derby between two sides in the lower half of the division.

Pocklington kicked off and within two minutes had possession and rolled 20 metres upfield in an ominous show of forward power.

Malton survived and a good break by Nathan Pratt backed up by Tom Foan fly-hacking the ball to the Pocklington 22-metre zone gave them position and on nine minutes a penalty award drifted wide of the sticks.

Five minutes later Pocklington were at Malton’s line but six phases were repelled and, when they released the ball to the backs, a thumping tackle in midfield dislodged the ball.

In the ensuing breakdown, Malton were adjudged to have picked the ball out of the loose ruck and Pocklington gratefully took three points.

On 20 minutes, Pocklington scored a regulation seven-pointer through debutant wing Lennox Baselala.

Three minutes later their fly-half drilled a fine drop goal through the middle of the sticks to put his team 13 points clear.

Malton took note of Pocklington’s power and instead of an arm wrestle took ball up the side of the rucks a metre at a time for several drives with Sam Triffitt, Rob Featherstone, Matt Bowman and Charlie Read to the fore. But when ball was released to the backs it was either kicked away aimlessly or run into the welcoming arms of the Pocklington midfield defence.

However, on 37 minutes, following three scrums on the Pocklington line, the ball was finally fed to Ali Fothergill to crash over for a try converted by Paul Angus.

At half-time, six points was the difference, so game on.

The game continued in a humdrum fashion with Malton improving and dealing with Pocklington’s heavyweights.

In the 55th minute, a no arms tackle by Pocklington’s Marcus Britland was adjudged not to be card worthy but, from the penalty set piece, Malton worked the ball to Matt Bowman to go over for a try which Angus converted for a slender lead.

Ten minutes later Malton were awarded a penalty 15 metres out and five metres to the right of the posts.

The decision was made to take a static tap penalty after a minute’s injury break, which failed to produce a score and left Pocklington needing only a penalty to retake the lead rather than the effort of having to cross the whitewash.

As it happened on 75 minutes, Pocklington scored a seven-pointer through their number nine to give them a six-point lead and the spoils. More importantly there were five minutes for Malton to defend a losing bonus point or score seven themselves.

A penalty on 80 minutes was well converted by the Pocklington number 10 to put the game to bed.

That left Malton and their coaches to rue the decision made 15 minutes earlier with Malton’s knowledgeable supporters left scratching their heads as the team left empty-handed.

Malton: Will Bell, Nathan Pratt, Tom Foan, Vus Dyantjies, Ali Fothergill, James Bulmer, Paul Angus, Pete Hopkins, Bailey Lamb, Rob Featherstone, Will Dunn, Charlie Read, Andy Mitchell, Sam Triffitt(c), Matt Bowman. Subs: John Lumley, Tom Barker, Nick Salisbury (all used).