DRIFFIELD 25pts MALTON & NORTON 22pts
BELOW PAR MALTON ALMOST ESCAPE
Report by Bill Laidler
DRIFFIELD 25pts MALTON & NORTON 22pts
Maltons recent run of success came to an end at Kelleythorpe with Driffield running out deserved winners against an off colour Malton who only came to life with three tries in the closing ten minutes.
Driffield kicked off and Maltons Will Hughes rose high to take the ball but, whilst in mid air, was cynically taken out by a following Driffield player. The normal sanction for this offence is a red card. On this occasion the referee showed leniency to Driffield and only awarded a penalty to Malton. After a lengthy spell of treatment Hughes recovered and Malton went on the attack. Driffield were stretched at times but held firm and denied the visitors any space to work. When Driffield did get into the Malton half they were awarded a penalty at a ruck. The kick was wide of the mark and Malton lived to breathe again although Driffield were now beginning to dominate possession and territory. Mid way through the half and against the run of play Liam Vaughan dispossessed Driffield at a maul in centre field and handed onto Ali Fothergill who made good ground before handing on to the supporting Vaughan who in turn fed full back Zweli Sodladla who outpaced the home defence for the first try of the game. The conversion was wide of the mark but Malton led 5 – 0.
The hosts were showing much more controlled aggression than Malton and spending long periods in the Malton half. Maltons inability to secure any of their own line out ball was a severe problem but the defensive work was top drawer in keeping Driff at bay. Something had to crack, and in first half injury time the Malton line was crossed. A handling error in the Malton 22 metre area gave Driff an attacking scrum. The impressive No.8 picked and handed on to his backs for the inside centre to drive through a gap for the equalising try and a half time score of 5 - 5.
The second half opened with the home side again attacking the Malton defence. After monopolising possession for almost ten minutes the ball was spun wide for the left wing to touch down in the corner and double his sides score. Driffield then took a strangle hold on the game and Malton suffered a blow when flanker Sam Triffitt was sin binned for a technical offence at a ruck after fifteen minutes. Just as Malton appeared to have again stolen possession at a maul they were penalised and this time the points were taken to extend the lead to 13 – 5. Maltons composure of recent weeks was absent and on far too many occasions they handed possession back to Driffield either through loose handling or their inability to secure their own line out. Driffield were not in sympathetic mood and 22 minutes into the half opened up the Malton defence with some slick handling to score a third try. This time the conversion was successful and Malton had a mountain to climb.
The brief recovery came on the half hour when Sodladla started a counter attack from his own 22 metre area. Combining with centre Tom Foan they made progress along the touchline to set up good ball for wing Rob Armitage to run in his sides second try to raise Malton hopes. Those hopes were soon dispelled two minutes later when Driffield again exposed the Malton defences by spreading play across the field again to create a bonus point try in the corner and a lead of 25 – 10.
What happened from that point on interesting to say the least. With only five minutes of play left Malton set up a series of drives to take them deep into home territory. Driffield offended under their own posts and scrum half James Bulmer was alert enough to see the opportunity of a gap in the defences. A quick tap and go penalty saw him cross for the try. His conversion struck an upright and rebounded to safety. Straight from the kick off Malton attacked again. Having raised the tempo considerably they had Driffield scrambling to keep them at bay. Good handling and ball retention again got them to the home 22 metre area and the final touch was applied by hooker Simon Thompson who crashed over for Maltons bonus point try. Bulmer added the conversion but tie had run out.
Malton have work to do, especially at the line out, if they are to get revenge when they visit Driffield again on Saturday for a Yorkshire Cup Second Round Tie.
Malton: Z.Sodladla, R.Armitage, T.Foan, C.Page, P.Angus, L.Raduva, J.Bulmer, L.Vaughan, S.Thompson, R.Featherstone, S.Emms, W.Hughes, C.Corner, S.Triffitt, A.Coe. Subs: (all used) J.Vasconcelos, A.Fothergill, V. Dyantjies.