A HIGH penalty count proved costly for Malton & Norton RUFC as they fell 29-12 at home to Bradford & Bingley in North One East.

Three tries in the final 17 minutes took the visitors clear, yet the scoreline could have been worse but for the Bees spurning a number of kickable points up to that point.

Either way, it left M&N seventh in the table, with the West Yorkshire side now fourth, hot on the heels of third-placed York. Malt's woes were compounded too by a worrying knee injury for Tom Lowry.

Malt spokesman James Knock said: "It was a tough lesson administered by a superior side who had scorned at least a dozen kickable points from penalties awarded.

"On days like this with a disproportionate high penalty count, the referee should have a word in his ear politely asking why from someone on the pitch. Referees are normally deaf to taunts and criticism from the dug-out and crowd."

M&N face a tough task on Saturday, too, away to second-placed Scarborough, but Knock said: "With minds focussed a good result from a meeting with a side above us in the league is possible as has already been proved twice this season."

The rain eased off before kick off against Bradford & Bingley but the visitors did the opposite, setting off at a frenetic pace, running Malt from side to side early on and demonstrating their power up front and in midfield.

Malt absorbed the pressure and on 10 minutes rolled up to the the Bees line via a penalty to the corner.

The throw-in overshot the tail gunner and hit the ground but the alert Nick Daley swooped, hacked on and grounded for the opening try converted by Paul Angus.

However, five minutes later, Bees took a scrum against the head and gained 30 metres to earn a penalty 15 metres out in front of the uprights. Opting for two scrums in succession, they moved the ball right then left for an unconverted try out wide.

Malton visited the visitors' line again for Charlie Corner to cross wide out.

Eight minutes later, Ali Fothergill was sin-binned after blocking the Bees winger who had chipped ahead 10 metres from the line, and, while half-time came with the hosts 12-5 up, the penalty count was already lopsided, and Bees opened the second half well, earning another penalty close to the home line.

Again opting for the scrum, the drive, pick-up and feed was copybook stuff and an equalising converted try followed.

Bees opted for their first shot at a penalty goal on 55 minutes - ironically the ball hit a post.

Malton settled down but had no favours from the referee, who several times spoke to the hapless Liam Vaughan before giving him a contentious yellow card on the hour. Moments later Lowry departed.

On 63 minutes, B&B went ahead. With possession gained from a speculative Malton chip, they swept downfield, the ball passing through several pairs of hands to set up the touchdown.

Two minutes later, a move which resulted in a converted try gave the visitors breathing space, and a final score rubbed salt into home wounds.