A DOGGED effort by Malton & Norton RUFC’s forwards earned the team a bonus point on their return to North One East action after the festive break.

M&N lost 22-15 in a tough task at high-riding Morpeth but they at least nicked a point at the death courtesy of a try by man-of-the-match Matt Bowman.

They could have taken more from the encounter with a better performance in what was an error-strewn, penalty-ridden affair, but the pack's hard work should allow them to go into this Saturday's home game against lowly West Leeds in decent heart - even if Leeds began 2019 in style with a surprise 31-22 victory over mid-table Percy Park.

M&N spokesman James Knock said: "A failure to make touch and not looking after hard-earned possession proved costly to a team who could have flagged up another win against higher-placed opponents.

"Addressing these matters is a priority before the game at home to 13th-placed West Leeds."

Playing in almost perfect conditions the Malton pack took the game to Morpeth and, after missing a penalty on 10 minutes, Shane Poole made amends on 15, converting a second chance to open the scoring.

On 20 minutes, following a Morpeth fly hack, the defending Ben Tenge dropped on the ball, but the ensuing clearing kick failed to find touch and this led to problems for the away team as Morpeth moved the ball wide and exploited a gap in a defence which had taken time to realign. The try, scored by Alex Tait, was converted by Ben Hornby.

Another aimless kick was gobbled up by Morpeth who moved downfield. Three penalties followed and the third was in range and converted by Hornby.

Malton had at least 60 per cent of the territory and plenty of ball - while Morpeth lost Sam Hornby to a potentially season-ending ankle injury - but missed kicks and poor passing did not reflect a hard-working effort by the forwards in which John Vasconcelos was to the fore.

Instead, Morpeth scored out wide through full-back Andrew Telford on half-time to make it 15-3.

The second half was poor in quality and noticeable mainly for a rarely seen double yellow card shown to Morpeth number eight Ollie Dynan. The first came on 48 minutes and the second on 68, with the obligatory red following.

Prior to this, Malton had scored through Bowman from an attacking lineout following a spell of pressure, with Poole adding the extras to cut the gap to 15-10.

Despite having plenty of time on the clock, Malt ignored a penalty in range and took a quick tap instead - which was knocked forward.

The game see-sawed before Morpeth were awarded a penalty try on 70 minutes to lead 22-10.

With time running out, Malton attacked and the excellent Bowman ploughed over on 80 minutes for his second try to earn a welcome bonus point.