THREE late tries were not enough as Malton & Norton's recent run of success came to an end at Kelleythorpe where hosts Driffield ran out deserved 25-22 winners.

Malton had gone into the game on a high but were decidedly off-colour, only coming to life with those late strikes, and they duly slipped to seventh in North One East.

The game started with controversy as Will Hughes rose high to catch the kick off but was cynically taken out in mid-air.

This dangerous offence, for which Hughes needed lengthy treatment before continuing, normally earns a red card but the referee awarded only a penalty.

Soon enough Driffield began to dominate possession and territory but they missed a penalty and Malt took the lead midway through the half against the run of play.

Liam Vaughan won the ball at a maul in centre-field and handed onto Ali Fothergill, who made good ground before finding the supporting Vaughan. He in turn fed full-back Zweli Sodladla, who outpaced the defence for a 5-0 lead.

The hosts, nevertheless, were showing more controlled aggression, with the visitors' inability to secure their own lineout ball a severe problem.

The defensive work in keeping Driff at bay was top-drawer but something had to crack, and in first-half injury time the Malton line was crossed. A handling error in the 22 gave Driff an attacking scrum, from which they broke through to equalise.

The second half opened with the home side again attacking, monopolising possession for almost 10 minutes before crossing in the corner.

Malton soon suffered another blow as flanker Sam Triffitt was sin-binned for a technical offence at a ruck.

Just as Malton appeared to have stolen possession, they were penalised and Driffield kicked the points to make it 13-5.

Malt's composure of recent weeks was absent and too often they handed possession back to Driffield through loose handling or an inability to secure lineout ball.

Driff were not in sympathetic mood and, after the hour mark, opened the defence with some slick handling to score a third try, this one converted.

A brief recovery came on 70 minutes when Sodladla started a counter-attack from his own 22. He and centre Tom Foan made progress along the touchline to set up good ball for wing Rob Armitage to run in Malt's second try.

But any hopes were dispelled two minutes later when Driffield exposed the defence again and scored a bonus-point try in the corner for a 25-10 lead.

Malton struck twice in the last five minutes - albeit having left it too late to raise the tempo.

A series of drives took them deep into home territory and Driffield offended under their own posts. Alert scrum-half James Bulmer saw a gap and crossed from a tap penalty.

Straight from the restart, Malton attacked again, with good handling and ball retention again getting them to the home 22 where hooker Simon Thompson crashed over for a bonus-point try, Bulmer converting.