THE new year brought no change of fortunes for Malton & Norton as they slipped to yet another home defeat to fall perilously close to the relegation zone.

The Ryedale side lost 22-3 to Huddersfield YMCA, who duly leapfrogged them in the North One East table.

Malton remain ninth out of 14 - but only six points separate them from second-bottom Dinnington, and they have a difficult game at the Gannock this Saturday when they face high-fliers West Leeds.

Spokesman Bill Laidler said: "There were some good individual performances with Tom Foan, Charlie Corner and Zweli Sodladla in particular catching the eye.

"However, if the team are to climb into the top half of the league there is much work to do on the training pitch."

Malton did start brightly with a sweeping move taking them into the Huddersfield 22-metre area and they showed signs of what they are capable of with some good handling and forward drives.

This resulted in Huddersfield conceding a penalty in front of the posts for fly-half James Bulmer to slot the ball between the post for the three points.

This was quickly followed by another good move from Malton but a knock-on close to the line relieved the pressure on the visitors.

A couple of minutes later, a similar fate befell another good move.

Hopes were high in the home camp at this stage, but Huddersfield had other ideas and, from that point on, gradually made their presence felt.

On the greasy surface scrummaging was always going to be difficult and in this department the visitors had the edge.

At the midway point of the half, and after a period of sustained pressure on the Malton line, a scrum was moving ominously close to the whitewash when the hosts were deemed to have illegally collapsed the move, with the referee having no hesitation in awarding a penalty try to put Huddersfield into the lead.

The visitors were now holding almost complete domination of territory and kept Malton pinned back in their own half.

Following a period of forward drives on halfway, Huddersfield sent the ball wide to the left wing who chipped over the Malton defence.

It should have been easily dealt with but the Malton cover totally messed things up and the opposition winger was allowed to follow up and get the touchdown.

The conversion failed but the visitors now had a deserved 12-3 lead.

Worse was to follow when Malton skipper Sodladla was sin-binned for failing to roll away following a tackle.

In the 36th minute, another Huddersfield scrum produced a third try. The scrum-half was tackled close to the line but pick-up and drive from the ruck produced the try for the number eight forward.

The conversion was successful and the visitors held a 19-3 half-time lead.

The second half began disastrously for Malton when they were penalised for a high tackle and the visitors gladly took the points on offer to increase the lead to 22-3.

The remainder of the half was an arm wrestle with play being mainly in midfield but with Huddersfield always looking the more dangerous and likely to get the try bonus point they badly needed.

However, it was not to be and the curtain fell on a very disappointing afternoon for Malton.