YORK RUFC began 2019 with an apparent festive period hangover - losing 39-19 at home to Morley to slip further off the pace in North One East.

Promoted York had started the season in fine style but now sit sixth, 19 points below leaders Scarborough, who had gone up with them from Yorkshire One last year.

The Clifton Parkers - whose next match is away to Percy Park on Saturday - are still waiting on several senior players to return but it was nevertheless a disappointing day at the office.

They pegged their visitors back to 24-19 in the second half but Morley, strong across the whole team, went clear thereafter and fully deserved their victory.

York included three debutants in Will Scholey, returning from Otley, and former Colts Joe Simpson and Freddie Smith, who has been performing well for the second team.

Morley started the game well and looked dangerous. York's defence initially held out but the visitors went ahead following a lineout on halfway. Good pressure from York’s Lewis Hannibal forced a spill but the ball went backwards and Morley were first to react. They recycled well and good work from Mark Chester and inside-centre Andy Ellis split the defence to set up a try in the corner.

From the restart York started to build pressure. Strong carries from Darren Rutherford and Shane Goulding took them forward and forced a penalty, only George Davies' shot at goal went wide.

Possession went to and fro before a bit of class from the Morley back line brought about an excellent second try.

Morley then gathered the restart and scored again almost immediately, aided by some poor York defence. Both tries were converted for a 19-0 lead.

Strong carries from Luke Stockton and the excellent Goulding set up a York riposte - Morley's Kerry Wood being penalised for lying on the wrong side, with the Clifton Parkers kicking to the corner and driving from the lineout.

Two mauls were collapsed, by hooker Jacob Percival and a team-mate prop respectively, both of whom were sin-binned, and, with Morley down to 13 men, York finally scored.

They opted for a scrum from the penalty, and Goulding picked up from eight metres and offloaded to crafty veteran Toby Atkin, who crossed the whitewash. Davies converted.

With a two-man advantage, York started to dominate. Sam Forbes carried well and was held up just short of the line. But York were awarded a five-metre scrum and, from the base, Atkin passed to Liam Hessay who found a gap and crossed to the right of the posts.

Davies converted and it was 19-14 at half-time.

York started the second half promisingly but it was Morley who got the first score. A clever chip and chase left the home defence scrambling back. Rich Downey did well to cover but he was beaten by an offload and Morley scored their bonus-point try.

Solid work on the ground from Rutherford won York a penalty from which they struck back.

They kicked to the corner again and set up a driving maul. This time Morley could not bring it down and Stockton latched onto the ball and got over to make it 24-19, the conversion missing.

However, that was the hosts' final score and they ran out of steam, with Morley getting a grip of the game, dominating and bagging three more tries.

* SELBY began 2019 with a narrow 39-36 loss at Bradford Salem. The result left them third bottom ahead of Yorkshire One of Saturday's home game against mid-table Dinnington.