MALTON & Norton RUFC are looking over their shoulders again at the relegation battle in North One East after losing 26-10 at home to Percy Park.

The result left Malt ninth in the table, just nine points above third-bottom Bridlington, whom they visit next time out on March 23, after having this coming weekend off.

It could prove a pivotal game.

With a strong wind behind them, Percy Park kicked off and a mistake under the ball in goal led to 10 minutes of intense pressure from the big visiting pack, which included a missed penalty attempt.

However, strong tackling on the line ensured wave after wave of phase ball was repulsed and Malton worked their way out of danger.

The hosts nevertheless saw little of the ball in the first quarter and Park as expected used the wind judiciously, penning Malt back in their own half with some accurate kicking.

Eventually on 25 minutes, a turnover just inside Malton's half was moved quickly right and a missed tackle gave Park the space to score.

Second-rower Jamie Rounthwaite's brilliant cover prevented a runaround and easy conversion, though, and that effort paid off with the kick missed.

On 30 minutes, Malton began their rolling subs schedule in an attempt to freshen the pack.

This worked and, now with some possession, Malton's number 10 got them to the Park 22-metre line with two finely weighted kicks.

However, with the hosts on the rampage, a loose pass was intercepted and Park had a counter-attack try, this time converted.

The 12-0 half-time deficit looked to be within Malton's reach with the wind to come and they built pressure at the start of the second half.

Park escaped the initial siege but, on 48 minutes, Malton's driving play took them to scoring country and earned them a penalty well converted by Shane Poole to put them in the frame to take something from the game.

However, on 50 minutes, Malton's number eight came off with a tooth problem, which meant a vital 10 minutes without his services during which time Park scored a converted try.

With the clock touching the hour mark, Will Hughes galloped back on but by this time Park, with their tails up and with Malton visibly tiring, were scenting the maximum points from the game and they duly delighted their large visiting support with a converted try on 70 minutes.

This sealed the victory and bagged a try bonus point, strengthening their spot in sixth place in the table.

Malton gained respectability with a well-worked try for Tom Foan on 76 minutes, converted by Poole, but the day belonged to Percy Park.