Promoted Pontefract are edged out by late try in opener

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Pontefract RUFC gave a good account of themselves in their new higher league, but two yellow cards, a stream of penalties against and some poor game management allowed visitors Malton & Norton to snatch a 31-28 win on the last play of the game.

The hosts suffered an early blow as captain and playmaker Liam Kay was forced into a late withdrawal with a foot injury. The Regional Two North East game started badly as well as penalty after penalty allowed Malton into good field position and they came up with a converted try.

Ponte hit back with superb runs from Tim Pickersgill and Leo Harrison straight from the restart and full-back Richard Dedicoat finished off a move he had started with a searing break. He converted the try and the scores were level.

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Penalties allowed Malton the chance to work their way up field again and a penalty nudged them three points ahead.

Richard Dedicoat scored two tries in Pontefract's opening game of the season. Picture: Jonathan BuckRichard Dedicoat scored two tries in Pontefract's opening game of the season. Picture: Jonathan Buck
Richard Dedicoat scored two tries in Pontefract's opening game of the season. Picture: Jonathan Buck

Worse was to follow as prop Ethan Potts was yellow carded, as the referee finally lost patience with the constant infringements at the breakdown. Another penalty goal stretched the lead for Malton before they pulled away with another try.

At 18-7 down Ponte needed a reply. The scrum, which was so magnificent last year, came to the rescue as the referee awarded a penalty try for a four-point deficit at half-time.

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Ponte applied some pressure after the restart and good handling in the backs ended with impressive winger Ciaran Tucker putting Dedicoat in for his second converted try of the game.

Then then produced the try of the match. A chip over from fly-half Hossack was taken on by Harrison and Dedicoat before Tad Nyanjowa powered over for another converted score.

It seemed Ponte had the game in the bag, but Malton had other ideas. A dropped ball from the restart gave them position and another penalty reduced the arrears by three, followed by another three as the stream of penalties continued.

Ponte were unable to hold on after centre Andy Coleman received a yellow card for retaliation. From the penalty Malton moved upfield and nearly scored, only a knock on saving the hosts. From the scrum it should have been a simple exit strategy and the game would have been won.

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It was not to be, though, as Ponte tried to pass their way out of trouble and a knock-on resulted. From the scrum Malton scored and the game was gone, much to the disbelief of everyone.

Two bonus points was a useful consolation and there were many plusses from the performance. The set piece was excellent, Sam Millard was given the home side man of the match for his strong running while joint captain Stephen Reynolds made a good impression after missing all last season with injury.

The downside was the hefty penalty count which leaves plenty for the coaching staff to work on this week as the team visit much fancied Moortown this Saturday.

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