Malton & Norton 13
A ROUSING local derby from which Beverley somehow emerged with their winning sequence intact.
But it was a mighty close run thing. For three-quarters of the match they were completely outplayed.
Malton were clearly up for this and they played some fine rugby which belied their league position.
It was not so much that Beverley were uncharacteristically sloppy – and for most of the time they were – but more that Malton got in their faces and simply never allowed them to get going.
The die was cast in the first 10 minutes during which Beverley made one mistake after another.
Passes went anywhere, the ball was constantly being dropped, and there was indecision all over the place. It looked like being one of those days.
Nonetheless they took the lead after 10 minutes with a penalty from Phil Duboulay after Malton had been penalised for an illegal tackle in midfield.
Malton had chances to respond within minutes but full back Ian Cooke was twice wide with kickable penalty attempts.
Beverley looked dangerous in fits and starts and should have increased their lead when they had a penalty kick to the corner but lost the ball on their own throw on the Malton line.
With Malton centre Ryan Lonsdale in the sin bin Beverley did edge further ahead through a 40 metre solo try down the right wing by Tomasi Tunami.
But it was nearly all Malton and Cooke at last got them on the scoresheet with a penalty from in front of the posts.
Beverley led 8-3 at the interval but the lead totally defied the pattern of a first half in which for most of the time they had struggled to get their hands on the ball, and then generally made a mess of it when they did.
Five minutes into the second half Malton deservedly turned it round.
Almost direct from the re-start Cooke kicked a second penalty to bring it back to 6-8 and then the burly Lonsdale powered his way through some lacklustre tackling to touch down in the corner.
Cooke converted to take it to 13-8. Beverley could have had few complaints.
But cometh the hour cometh the man. The longer the game went on the greater the influence of David Worrall who started taking the game to Malton almost single handed.
His effect was enormous and by degrees Beverley got back into it. Quite what Beverley’s tactical thinking was at half-back is uncertain, but whatever it was it did not work.
Duboulay looked ponderous and he and scrum half Mike Kilgannan somehow never quite hit it off.
The arrival of Rob Smith for the last quarter brought a complete transformation.
With a quicker delivery Duboulay immediately looked more himself and Beverley started spraying it about to good effect.
Suddenly they were a different side.
A second yellow card for Lonsdale left Malton with 14 men for the last 20 minutes during which they had to face an invigorated Beverley onslaught.
Beverley went flat out to recapture the lead. A try in the corner by Goran Jelencic brought them level and Duboulay’s fine conversion from the touchline put them 15-13 ahead.
Beverley had numerous chances to add to it but persisted in trying to break through the middle when simple passes to the wings would almost certainly have brought more tries.
Malton made a heroic effort to recover the lead but at the death they lost the ball near their own line and Junior Tupai was left with an easy run-in to seal it with a third Beverley try.
Beverley for the rest of the season will probably have few games as hard as this.
Their injured players also look set to return shortly but they must now do without forwards Fraley Hopa and Craig Hancock who have moved away from the area.
They have been fine clubmen for Beverley and in both cases epitomize all that is good about the game of rugby. They will be badly missed.