MALTON & Norton overcame their hoodoo at Morpeth as a hard-fought 36-31 victory saw them progress to the semi finals of the Papa John’s Community Cup.

A fine day with intermittent sun and a breeze that picked up in the second half greeted Malton as they made the long journey north for the end-of-season competition.

That trip looked to have left its mark, with the visitors facing four scrums inside the opening five minutes after they had conceded successive penalties.

Young fly-half Jack Jones won a turnover to relieve the pressure, and Malton were soon down at the business end of the park and a penalty award was placed into the corner.

Standing at two in the line-out, Sean Emms took a fast low throw in and the ball was driven over the line by Nick Salisbury in a move straight off the training ground with nine minutes on the clock.

Five minutes later, Archie Johnson caught a ball inside his own half, and slipping past several defenders, linked up with Charlie Read.

He then connected with Wainwright driving for the line, and backing up the tackle, he claimed the converted try to put the visitors 12-0 to the good.

But Morpeth hit back as the half reached its midpoint, with Malton penalised on half way following a call from the touch line official.

From the resulting line-out 20 metres out, Morpeth went through three phases and a midfielder cut back in and through a tackle to score near the uprights and serve a warning of the home side’s capabilities.

Six minutes later, the hosts, with their tails up, were once again in close proximity of the visitors’ line.

A Malton midfielder was tossed aside with ease in the tackle for a supporting player to score near the uprights as the hosts found themselves in the lead.

The Ryedale side wrestled back control shortly before the half-hour when Ali Fothergill linked up with Jones and Wainright, who fed Jacob Stephenson to cross the line at full throttle.

Veteran prop Edmund Gwilliam, was replaced by Pete Hopkins five minutes before the break, before the impressive Stephenson rolled his ankle, making way for youngster Tom Ray.

But Malton remained well in control, extending their lead further after opting for a scrum penalty 10 metres from the line, with James Bulmer dropping on the ball to give them a 26-14 advantage on the stroke of half time.

Morpeth though came out of the blocks well, cutting the gap within two minutes of the restart as a Malton mistake handed them an easy three points.

Play see-sawed up and down the pitch with both sides falling foul of the officials at regular intervals and the rugby as a result in direct contrast to the opening half became somewhat stifled.

Malton rang the changes with 15 minutes left on the clock, introducing Rob Featherstone for Fothergill - who was suffering a back spasm - with Ed Brown on the wing and Johnson dropping to full-back.

But just two minutes later, nerves threatened to set in, Morpeth taking a quick tap penalty before slicing through the visiting defence to bring themselves back within two.

Malton though stuck to the task at hand, and from the kick-off, Matt Jefferson rushed in with a heavy duty tackle on the first receiver, turning the ball over high up the pitch.

Bulmer’s remarkable burst of speed took off down the right wing before his perfectly-timed pass found Jefferson, who powered over for another five points.

Starting to sense victory, the visitors were across the whitewash again soon after, with Read brought down just short before Boothman fed the onrushing Featherstone to take the score to 36-24.

Morpeth had the last word in the final minute with another quick tap, with their winger running untouched from 20 metres to score, but it was too late to claim victory.

Malton now travel to Goole for their semi-final next Saturday (3pm).