Malton And Norton 22
Old Crossleyans 14
Gallant Old Crossleyans just failed to achieve a deserved bonus point against a skilful Malton and Norton team in a thrilling North One East encounter.
The strong end to end wind played a major role in the match, kicking being a lottery such that one goal would have meant so much to Crocs fortunes in their current precarious position.
Fitness doubts player/coach Chris Jones and hooker Richard Wheale were late declarations so Crossleyans fielded their strongest line-up, with prop Mark Palmer, lock Kev McGill and wing Joe Baker on the bench.
The first quarter was a kicking contest. Malton and Norton had the first success on three minutes, by wing Ali Heard, Crocs scrum half Ed Cockroft levelling two minutes later, then taking his team into a 6-3 lead with a great 30 metre shot with a following wind, after 20 furious minutes.
Then on 25 minutes the visitors suffered a massive blow, Chris Jones hobbling off with an injured foot to be replaced by Joe Baker.
Malton lifted their game a notch, both forwards and backs taking play to Crocs 10 metre line, winning a penalty near touch, and with the wind against opting for touch in the corner. The ensuing maul from their lineout powered to near the posts for scrum half Collard to touch down, Heard adding the kickto lead 10-6.
Crossleyans’ second injury forced off lock Simon Normanton, McGill entering the fray.
Cockroft was just wide with a penalty but made amends when No 8 Ryan Hammond won an offside penalty to close the gap at10-9.
Crocs were competing well and they took the lead when superb recycling found Jack Hammond in midfield. He spotted the home defence had been sucked inside and his floated high pass allowed Wheale to race over unopposed for a 14-10 half time advantage.
The euphoria was short lived as the Crossleyans’ restart was well taken by the home pack whose forward drive to half way drew in the Crocs defenders releasing wing Ali Heard to score under the posts for a try he also converted.
Crossleyans responded magnificently but Cockroft’s 50 metre penalty struggled against the wind and still left a three point deficit.
Again Crocs had to defend stoutly and fly half Ott had to bravely dive onto the ball at the feet of the Malton and Norton forwards.
Crossleyans then drove upfield, but a knock forward enabled a home clearance kick. Leigh Thomas fielded well, passing wide to wing Wainwright who cut inside on a trade mark midfield dash winning a penalty 15 metres out at the side of the posts but Cockroft’s kick against the wind just drifted wide.
Malton and Norton then secured the victory when a dropped pass was snaffled by the home backs, releasing wing Saunders who cut inside to score an unconverted try close to the posts.