POCKLINGTON RUFC maintained their promotion push with a 15-5 derby victory at Malton & Norton in North One East.
The Gannock clash kicked off in the eye of a storm and conditions deteriorated as the game wore on, but fourth-placed Pock hit back from 5-0 down to claim the points.
After ten minutes of midfield sparring, in which both packs tried to gain the upper hand, Malton finally got into the Pocklington 22-metre area. From a lineout on the right, the ball was passed into midfield to set up a ruck.
Clean ball to fly-half Charlie Ramsay gave him the opportunity to ghost through a gap in the Pocklington defence.
Ramsay handed on to full-back Ian Cooke and he crossed in the corner for the game’s first try.
Ramsay’s conversion rebounded off a post.
As conditions worsened, the game became a forward dominated contest. Honours were just about even until midway through the half when Pock, who had lost two players to injury, made the breakthrough.
Pocklington’s backs ran hard up the middle of the field and then the forwards launched a series of pick and drives before teenage prop Jack Helme plunged over on the blind side.
With half-time approaching, the visitors created the try of the game. Skipper and scrum-half Ben Rees made a long break down the left from deep inside his own half.
The ball was swung smartly right, where wing Billy Hardy went hard for the line. When he was tackled ten metres short, he popped the ball off the floor to supporting hooker Dave Birch, who flew over in the corner.
From the kick off, Malton conceded a penalty and a long Pock kick forced a lineout five metres out.
The visiting pack dove infield before switching back blind for flanker Ben Stephenson to dive over. Again the conversion was unsuccessful, but the half-time score was 15-5 in Pock’s favour. The weather brightened up for the second half, but underfoot conditions were no better and both sides found it increasingly difficult to retain possession.
The Malton pack, with Paul Dobson leading from the front, had some good moments with their pick and drive game, but Pocklington were equal to everything Malton could throw at them.
Pocklington did have the opportunity to widen the gap when some sloppy Malton play allowed wing Billy Hardy to hack on and enter a foot race with Cooke. A slight nudge on the wing was enough to bring him to ground and gain a penalty, while Cooke was sin-binned for ten minutes.
Pocklington had further injury problems in the final quarter, ending the game with no recognised second rows and with scrum-half Rees forced into the pack.
However, some tenacious tackling and carrying, with 18-year-old back row Joe Brown outstanding, pinned Malton in their own territory for long periods and took them to victory.
The defeat – the Ryedale side’s 11th of the season – leaves Malton perilously close to the drop zone.