Jones the architect as Crocs bounce back

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Old Crossleyans 12 Malton & Norton 7

Old Crossleyans completed a North One East double over Malton & Norton with a workmanlike display in testing conditions which made for more spills than thrills.

The big turnaround from the previous week’s drubbing was the welcome return of seven first teamers - five of them forwards - to put Crocs back on track and consolidate sixth place in the table.

Player-coach Chris Jones, playing his 100th game for the club, led by example and picked up the man-of-the-match award.

The rolling substitute procedure installed this season was used to good effect, both through neccessity and to refresh aching bodies in the tough conditions.

Both teams cancelled each other out in terms of position and possession during the first half with Chris Vine’s penalty miss after 20 minutes the only real incident of note.

The deadlock was broken just before the interval when, against the run of play, Malton fly half James Bulmer intercepted a Crocs attack 10 metres from his own line and ran the length of the pitch to cross under the sticks, also converting for a 7-0 lead.

It took Crocs until 35 minutes into the second half to get back on terms following a good spell of sustained pressure on the Malton line.

The home side recaptured some of their early season skill as the ball was moved from side to side through forwards and backs before centre Jack Hammond jinked through for Vine to convert.

Three minutes later Crocs were awarded a penalty but Neil Richardson’s long-range effort fell just short.

Malton’s re-start was taken by captain James Wainwright who made a half break before feeding Vine, his kick bouncing into touch five metres from the line.

Malton claimed lineout ball but Crocs pressure forced a knock on and the home pack dominated the scrum, getting the better of Malton’s 20-stone prop.

The ‘new’ front row of Luke Brocklehurst, Rory Davis and Boj Sembi - Andy Day having left the field injured - outmuscled the Malton eight and Jones fittingly touched down for the deciding score, Vine’s conversion attempt drifting wide.