A FREE weekend for the York RUFC first team meant that York 2nd XV took centre stage, winning 32-12 against Sheffield Tigers 2nd XV in the Yorkshire Merit League Premiership Conference A.

Due to the Six Nations, York 1st XV didn’t feature, but the 2nd XV capitalised with a strong victory.

York had the fortune of the wind behind them in the first half and they took full advantage when a scrum close to the Sheffield line allowed back rower Stefan Dziurzynski to pick up and dive over for a converted try.

Sheffield’s ill-discipline began to cost them as the game went on, conceding two penalties in front of the posts which York capitalised on to lead 13-0 at half-time.

The Tigers replied strongly after the restart and despite some stout York defence, their pressure eventually told. After a series of rucks, an unconverted try was scored by Sheffield.

The quality of York’s backs shone through though as Ben Hepworth ran strongly to release John Dawes, who scored under the posts for a straight forward conversion in front for Neil McClure.

Then McClure broke the line himself for another seven-pointer.

To finish, Freddie Smith produced a good off load for Will Atkin to support and complete York’s scoring.

With the pressure now off the home side, Sheffield completed the scoring with a try in the corner.

In North One East, Malton & Norton’s struggles on their travels continued as they were beaten 14-12 at Morley.

Malton have lost eight of their nine away league matches this season, with only bottom two sides West Hartlepool and Huddersfield YMCA having more defeats. Sitting eighth in the table, Malton are now five points adrift of the relegation places.

Morley started the game strongly and, on 10 minutes, a long kick to Malton’s 22 metre zone from a penalty put Morley in the driving seat.

The inevitable score came from a driven line out catch with the number five storming over for a seven-pointer.

Morley doubled that lead by half-time as, with five minutes of the half remaining, a quickly taken tap penalty 30 metres out caught Malton out and the speedy number 14 rounded his man and cut in to help the successful conversion.

Malton opened the second half with a good kick to the Morley corner, gained a penalty and two phases later Tom Barker claimed five points only on 45 minutes.

Thereon followed a catalogue of poorly controlled line kicking, poor decision making, and a failure to mix the tactics.

The forwards had shown parity at the breakdown with Jack Hobbs leading the charges from number eight.

Morley’s contribution was also noteworthy with some strong tackling and forward drives ball in hand.

On 72 minutes, a visit to Morley’s line saw at last a well constructed try for Will Bell at full stretch with an emphatic one handed dot down for a seven pointer, giving Malton a minimum of one league point and eight minutes to go for the jugular.

It was not to be and Morley were worthy winners having judged the strong wind to perfection apart from the kick-off and their defensive tackling earned them four points.

Next up for Malton is a home game against Pocklington, who went down to a 15-14 defeat at home to Durham City.

A Christian Pollock penalty gave Pock the early lead but some intense Durham pressure saw them touch down for the game's first try on 11 minutes.

Two more Pollock penalties edged the home side ahead but Pocklington conceded a penalty and saw James Thornton sin binned before City knocked over the kick.

A dozen minutes into the second period, Durham drove low for the line for a converted try.

Archie Fothergill twisted and turned his way to the line late on, but Pollock's conversion went wide.

Pock pushed for a late winner but ran out of time to force the victory.

Featuring in friendly action, Nestle Rowntree RUFC won 31-12 away to Selby RUFC 3rd XV.

Given the blustery conditions, the game wasn’t one for expansive open play on the whole.

With that said, Trees did try to pass it around and from a scrum, scrum-half Romain Cames sliced through the Selby defence to score, with Ali O’Gara converting.

Trees were suddenly well in control and after putting Selby on the back foot, a wayward pass saw full-back Joshua Kelly gather and race 75 metres for a try. Jale Bakani converted.

But Selby regathered and kept the ball tight, allowing them to they rumble over for an unconverted try.

Trees were now trying to use their speedy backs and late in the first half it worked as Sevulino Tui scored and Bakani converted.

The second half saw Selby's pack again keep it tight and on 55 minutes they scored a converted try and Trees were under pressure.

A couple of good breaks by Trees eventually saw O’Gara score to ease the jitters and, with ten minutes left, Trees veteran prop Marc Ford conjured a charge to score from a ruck, but both conversions were missed.