MALTON & Norton, after their disappointing opening-day defeat at Northern, raised their game to beat West Hartlepool 26-15 and get off the mark in North One East.

The former Premiership club, now in the Northern Divisions, are strongly fancied to feature in the promotion fight.

But they arrived at The Gannock only 30 minutes before kick off, and Malton - boosted by the returns to action of South African aces Zweli Sodladla and Vus Dyantjies - tore into them from the off, even overcoming the loss to injury of skipper Sam Triffit.

M&N spokesman Bill Laidler said: "This was a true team performance with each of the 18 players used doing his bit.

"Sodladla was named man of the match but there were a number of contestants for the title including Jamie Rounthwaite, Liam Vaughan, Tom Lowry."

Good control in the forwards and incisive running in the backs had West on the back foot early on.

Five minutes in, Malton opted for a scrum in front of the posts instead of taking the simple three points. The move proved successful as scrum-half Paul Angus picked up at the base and raced over for the opener. Sodladla converted.

Minutes later, Malton lost Triffitt to a head injury following a heavy midfield collision. However, veteran Andy Mitchell was on the bench to replace him and lessen the blow.

Malton were dominating possession and territory and, following some excellent and well-controlled forward drives to the visitors' line, the backs took over and fly-half Luke Raduva weaved through for the second try..

The pressure was relentless from Malton as they unexpectedly took control of the set scrums and, through Rounthwaite, stole a number of West's lineouts.

Midway through the half a strong set scrum on the visitors' line was deemed to have been deliberately collapsed and Malton were awarded a penalty try to make it 19-0.

West Hartlepool slowly gained a foothold and, after a dangerous attack along the left flank, Sodladla was sin-binned for tackling a player without the ball.

West kicked the penalty to the corner, clean possession was gained and an accurate cross-field kick saw the right-wing cross unopposed in the corner to cut the half-time deficit to 19-5.

The visitors continued to show signs of recovery early in the second half.

Malton's defence, though, held them at bay for 10 minutes and then stole possession in their own 22. Wing Ben Tenge sped away to almost halfway before handing on to Sodladla, who ran in unopposed for his side's bonus-point try which he converted.

West continued to apply pressure. However, Malt's excellent defence constantly frustrated the visitors.

With the game approaching its conclusion and Malton running out of steam, West did get some rewards.

In the 77th minute, they again profited by kicking a penalty to the corner and rapidly sending the ball across field where the overlap produced a second try.

Then in stoppage time sustained forward pressure produced a third try. However, it was too little too late.