Bridlington’s faint hopes of snatching second spot in Yorkshire One were all but killed off, as Malton and Norton put a 17-point gap between the two teams with a 27-15 win at The Gannock.
Both sides were eager to take the spoils in a game which had everything, but with four games remaining, it is the North Yorkshire side who look almost certain to take the play off place for promotion to North One East.
Some of the tackling, on both sides, was the hardest seen at The Gannock as the battle for supremacy continued. The game was, however, played in a good spirit and experienced referee Neil Gaskell ensured that both sides kept a full compliment for the whole game.
Indeed, the game was a great advert for Yorkshire 1 rugby from start to finish.
The first quarter belonged to Bridlington as they spent the entire time in the Malton half. Only poor finishing and strong defence from Malton prevented them from getting the opening score.
Malton appeared to be over elaborating at times and losing possession as a consequence. On the half hour mark Malton finally got their act together.
A series of forward drives took them into the Brid 22 metre area and prop forward Ben Boothman was on hand to pick up and drive forward with the rest of the pack supplying the push to get him over the line for the first try.
Zweli Sodladla converted and from their first real attack Malton had the lead, but it was soon cut when Malton were penalised for holding on and Brid gladly took the three points on offer.
Malton began the second half in fine style. Securing the ball from the kick off they got the ball to full back Sodladla who made a terrific break through the visitors defence to set up a ruck 20 metres out.
The forwards then mounted a couple of drives to suck in the defence before releasing to wing Ian Cooke who crossed for his side’s second try. Sodladla converted and there was clear daylight between the two sides.
Bridlington were going through a barren patch and Malton stretched the lead five minutes later with a Sodladla penalty when Brid were penalised at a ruck.
At this stage, it was all Malton and on 50 minutes, centre Sam Harrison broke close to half way and using a combination of speed, strength and footwork sliced through the defence to get within five yards of the line.
Fellow centre Vus Dyantjies was on hand to secure the ball and put fly half Nick Daley over in the corner to bring the score to 22-3.
The visitors then appeared to come back to life and mounted some serious pressure on the Malton line for a long period. They eventually showed what they could do by winning the ball wide on the left and swiftly passing it through several pairs of hands to get a try wide on the left after half an hour.
The Malton response was another Harrison break which replicated the first. This time he did not need any assistance as he scorched away from 40 metres to score in the corner.
Bridlington were still causing one or two problems and in the fourth minute of injury time recorded their second score when a forward drive took them over. The conversion was good but it was too little too late and Malton ran out winners.
The Malton forwards, especially in the set pieces, were superb but the three-quarters showed that they have not forgotten how to play during the atrocious conditions of recent weeks.
Bridlington provided a solid test but lacked the finishing edge required to capitalise on their early possession.