Malton & Norton nearing relegation rocks

Published in Sport

THE lights could go out on Malton and Norton RUFC's stay in North One East should they fail to win at fourth-placed Rochdale.

Any hopes the Gannock-based side had of beating the drop virtually evaporated when they were crushed 29-5 by basement side Sheffield last weekend.

It was a result that sent Malton to the bottom of the table and, although they have three games with which to save themselves, they are eight points from safety and must play teams near the top.

Tomorrow's visit to Lancashire is followed by a home clash against Driffield and then a trip to high-flying Cleckheaton.

Having failed to win any of their last seven league outings, since a 25-21 win over West Hartlepool in early January, it is looking bleak for head coach Chris Creber and his squad.

"We have to win all three games and someone else has to lose everything," said club spokesman Bill Laidler. "We are just about resigned to it now. We played some good rugby at times against Sheffield but there was some naivety. There are a lot of young lads in this side and they will learn.

"We thought we could hang on this season but you can get into a losing habit. When we placed Rochdale at Malton they were very well organised and we have just got to try and win, keep going and hope for better next season."

Pocklington make a first ever visit to former Premiership outfit West Hartlepool.

Hartlepool are two places above Pocklington in the North One East table in third and when the sides met earlier in the season at Pocklington it resulted in a nail-biting 14-12 home win.

Pocklington have a number of fitness checks to undertake before finalising their line-up and select an initial squad of 21 players.

Selby coach Richard Nicholson says his side will be pushing right until the end of the season to finish as high as possible in Yorkshire One.

The Sandhill Laners have a tough looking trip to Bridlington to negotiate and, having exited from the Yorkshire Shield and with no prospect of either promotion or relegation, Nicholson says the motivation for his side is still obvious.

"We've got an opportunity to try and secure fourth place and a very outside chance of trying to get third. That's the motivation.

"We said at the start of the season that if we could get in the top four or five we would be really pleased and that would be a good progression for us.

"We've got three really tough games to finish off but it is still in our hands."

Selby will be without Martin Protheroe, who is recovering from a turned ankle.

York entertain Pontefract at Clifton Park in Yorkshire One as head coach Sean Bass and his men look to end the season on a high with a couple of victories.

York RI, narrow losers at Halifax Vandals last weekend, are without a game this weekend in Yorkshire Four.

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