MALTON & Norton’s dreams of lifting the Papa John’s Community Cup Regional 2 North Plate came crashing down with a 41-28 defeat to Lutterworth in the competition’s final on Saturday.

Even with a 5pm kick-off, the temperature at Darlington’s Mowden Park was in the early twenties and the worn surface at times resembled a dried out desert oasis.

Leicestershire side Lutterworth sported a strip which demonstrated the connections to a neighbouring premiership outfit, and indeed taking notes was a gentleman who had the previous evening come off the bench for the Tigers in Manchester.

Malton, making their final appearance in their anniversary strip, were shorn of a couple of players for their trip north, with Lutterworth starting the better of the sides.

They set off at pace, and in just the third minute displayed a sign of what was to come as the ball was shipped out wide at speed, but the resultant break inside was spoilt with a simple knock-on as the line beckoned.

The Ryedale side had spent the opening 10 minutes trapped within their own half, and it was perhaps little surprise when their opponents added the first seven points to the scoreboard.

Paul Angus took a quick tap penalty, but with Liam Vaughan left isolated, the ball was turned over and Lutterworth’s number 14 pounced into the corner.

A good break by Ali Fothergill was compromised before Ben Tenge, despite being a constant threat, was helpless as the turnover counter clicked on another digit.

And in the 19th minute, a penalty was slotted between the uprights after yet another turnover to put the Leicestershire side 10 points to the good.

That advantage became 17 less than a minute later, Lutterworth’s backs breaking upfield before cruising past the last line of defence and setting up their ever-present supporting man to stroll across the whitewash.

But Malton brought a halt to their quick-fire scoring with 23 minutes played, Ted Wainright and Sam Triffitt combining to send Tom Lowry across to pull seven points back.

Lutterworth though hit back nine minutes later, their number 15 rounding his opposite number to restore their 17-point advantage.

Malton responded through Vaughan, who notched his first try of the season after a line-out and drive two minutes later, but it was their opponents who had the last word before the break as Tom Foan was isolated in the tenth steal of the half.

The resultant penalty was pragmatically sent over the crossbar from 25 metres out to hand Lutterworth a 27-14 half-time lead.

A slight breeze and early evening drop in temperature made conditions slightly easier after the break, with Malton setting off with intent after Angus crossed the whitewash from James Bulmer’s break just two minutes after the restart.

However, Lutterworth quickly restored their advantage.

Just three minutes later, a pot at goal from the 10-metre line gave them a two-score margin, before a lucky hack through Malton’s defence saw their number 15 back himself to bravely scoop up the ball with a choice of three players to score into the corner.

With Tenge still causing problems, Lutterworth placed two defenders on him and gained another turnover penalty.

After a period of probing, Malton drove Lowry across the line to close the gap to seven points on the hour, but again Lutterworth’s reply was near instantaneous as a penalty restored their 10-point lead.

Both sides rang in the changes to replace hot and tired bodies, with the final five minutes a catalogue of basic errors as exhaustion took over.

However, there was still time for Lutterworth to make sure of their Regional 2 North Plate defence with a penalty in the final minute to take the plaudits 41-28.

Friday will see Malton & Norton host their Player Awards evening as their 70th anniversary year draws to a close.