OLD CROSSLEYANS 18 pts MALTON & NORTON 12 pts
After two consecutive big wins Malton were expected to go to Halifax and return with the spoils. Old Crossleyans have not had the most impressive of starts to the season but taught Malton a lesson in commitment and endeavour. Any number of excuses can be made, including injuries to key players, but the bare facts are that Malt were just not good enough on the day. Indeed, they could and should have won the game in the dying minutes but that would have been rough justice for Crossleyans.
Malton started well and pressed through the pack for the opening ten minutes but fell behind on the quarter hour when they conceded a penalty for being off side following a kick ahead. Crossleyans were fired by this early score and came at Malton with renewed vigour. A break down the right flank found Maltons tackling woefully poor and the home side added to their lead with a try in the corner. The visitors then came back into the fray temporarily but good defending by Crossleyans kept them out. The spell was short lived and in the final five minutes of the half from a harmless position in mid field the hosts scored again. Malton failed to clear their lines with a missed touchy kick and the home scrum half seized the opportunity to break several half hearted tackles before putting in a n inch perfect cross kick for a colleague to collect and score between the posts. The conversion put them 15 points in front. Malton again briefly rallied before the break but again frittered away a scoring opportunity when they failed to keep possession of the ball.
Strong words were said at the break but Crossleyans added to their tally with a penalty after ten minutes when Malton handled the ball in a ruck. Only then did Malton come to life and start to pressurise the home side. For once the backs showed some adventure and stretched the home defence wide. Crossleyans were penalised for not rolling away after a tackle and a quick tap and go set up a maul for hooker Alex Whitaker to take control and force his way over for a try. Teei Piawi
struck the wrong side of the upright with his conversion. In quick succession Malton squandered further chances to score. On the first occasion they were unable to ground the ball having crossed the line and secondly they pushed the home pack back at a five metre scrum and with a push over try beckoning and there for the taking carelessly lost possession and allowed Crossleyans to clear. The Malton pack were now exerting a lot of pressure on the home eight but could not get past a resolute defence. The break did come with five minutes remaining when a maul was set up from a scrum and again Whitaker took control and got his second try of the game. This time Piawi made no mistake with the conversion. With six points the difference it was game on. The final five minutes saw Malton camped in the home 22 metre area and, despite getting close on a number of occasions they were unable to get the score they needed to steal the points as Crossleyans defended as though their lives depended on the outcome..
Altogether this was a poor display from Malton with the only player to really enhance his reputation being Whitaker. The second half performance of the pack was a vast improvement on the first but they must learn that they have to play for the full eighty minutes. The backs lacked direction and cohesion and must hope that some of the injured can recover quickly if the momentum built up in recent weeks is to be maintained.
Percy Park from North Shields visit The Gannock on Saturday and will provide another stiff test for Malton.
Malton: I.Cooke, J.Saunders, B.Woodhouse, T.Piawi, B.Martin, T.Collard, H.Newitt, P.Dobson(A.Turnbull 55mins), A.Whitaker, L.Vaughan, D.Foster, R.Webster, A.Mitchell, S.Triffitt, M.Bradshaw(J.Dobson 65 mins)