Malton & Norton RUFC are “staring down the barrel”, after a fifth straight defeat left them in the North One East drop zone, writes Will Jackson.

So said club spokesman Bill Laidler after the Ryedale side went down 28-13 to fellow strugglers Morpeth, who moved out of the relegation area and have played a game less than Malton.

Malton host Middlesbrough tomorrow in a must-win game, with their opponents also struggling in the fight to stay in the league.

Laidler said: “We are staring down the barrel at relegation, we must win if we want to stay up.”

“It is still in our own hands, and three wins against Middlesbrough, Sheffield and Driffield should keep us up.

“Middlesbrough are playing Morpeth in a couple of weeks so we hope they can get a win, otherwise it will be tough.”

Despite the horrific run of form which has seen them plummet down the table, Laidler feels the results do not reflect the quality of their performances.

“We dominated for 60 minutes on Saturday, but we were caught at the end when we were chasing the game.

“We have had good wins this season against West Hartlepool and Old Crossleyans, so although the boys are down at the moment, we know we can bounce back.”

Selby have no new injury worries ahead of their clash with York this weekend in Yorkshire One. Coach Richard Nicholson has said that, while it was good to get back to winning ways against Pontefract last week, there are still areas he is keen to improve.

He said: “We’re pleased with the win, but defensively we weren’t too good so there is something to work on but five points is always nice.

“We’ve had a good season so far and we’d like to finish strongly and aim for a fourth or fifth place finish, in what would be an excellent first season in the division.

“We have a semi-final next week against Scarborough in the Shield. If we can get through to the final it will represent a very strong year.”

York, meanwhile, will be at full strength for the clash after securing pool two in the Intermediate Cup with a 34-7 victory against Consett. Coach Sean Bass has said that the team are raring to go against Selby.

He said: “We have had some good training sessions since last weekend and are looking forward to the game.

“It’s always a good affair against Selby. They try to play rugby and I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against their coach.”

Added Bass: “It is important we build momentum ahead of the quarter-final with Aspatria in the Cup. We want to win every game, so the lads will be at full strength.”

York are expected to field a similar side to the one that beat Consett, although Ben Johnson is likely to come in.

Pocklington will be wanting to bounce back with a win against Alnwick, after a heavy home loss to Cleckheaton. They went down 43-20 to the league leaders, and remain fifth in the table.

York RI make the short journey to Leeds Corinthians, hoping that a win will steer them clear of any potential relegation worries in Yorkshire Four.