WHITBY Rugby Club under 15s travelled to Malton missing a few key players due to injuries, but at least were rewarded with ideal weather conditions.
Winning the toss, the hosts’ grubber kicked to Luke Brown, who, controlling the loose ball cleverly with his foot, picked up and drove back to the halfway line to set up the first ruck of the game.
However, possession was lost and the ball moved away to the Malton inside centre who made a good 10m before a crunching tackle from Nathan Kaz allowed scrum-half James Astin to create a scissor move with fly-half James Grimont who took the ball down the blind-side.
Easily rounding the opposition winger, Grimont continued for a further 65m to open the score. A fine conversion followed.
The restart was knocked-on by the Maroons and with advantage being played the hosts began to look dangerous.
Only big tackles from centres Tom Wood and Adam Harrison protected Whitby’s line until an infringement by the hosts allowed Whitby to clear, with full-back Barney Fountain making a good 20m touch.
At the resultant line-out, the hosts were deemed to be off-side and a second penalty was awarded. Grimont kicked for touch, but with the gusting wind bringing the ball back into play, it was Malton’s chance to counter-attack.
Despite a great cover tackle from flanker Kyle Woods, Malton worked their way up to the visitors’ 22, before another cracking tackle from Kaz forced the ball into touch.
From the line-out, a good catch and drive from Brown took the play upfield, but with no support he was turned over.
Luckily for the visitors, Malton spilled the ball, giving Whitby the scrum put-in.
The set-piece was lost, however and a good set of passes took the hosts up to Whitby’s 22 and despite a superb tackle from number eight Michael McCormack, Malton worked the ball down the blind side for an unconverted try.
From the restart, Malton carried the ball down the left wing, once again threatening Whitby’s line, but Tom Locker’s well-timed tackle forced a forward pass in the last passage of play before half-time.
Whitby started the second half with a probing kick, deep into Malton’s 22 and a quick chase from McCormack and Woods saw the opposition ball carrier bundled into touch.
However the visitors were deemed offside at the line-out, allowing the hosts to clear their line.
A poor kick allowed the Maroons to run it back at Malton, but strong tackling turned the ball over for the hosts to counter.
A good passage of play took them up to halfway before a big tackle from Woods slowed their progress. Quick recycling moved the attack over Whitby’s 22 as another attack surged towards the Maroons’ line.
As Whitby defended desperately they gave away another penalty and Malton, keeping the ball tight, crashed over between the posts for a converted try, taking the score to 12-7.
As the game restarted, Malton once again kept the ball in their forwards as they tried to run the clock down. However, McCormack extending his already impressive performance, snaffled the ball away for Whitby to launch one more attack.
Brown took over, feeding Kaz who in turn worked the ball away to McCormack once again, but as the ball was wrapped up in the maul, the hosts were given the scrum put-in.
As the referee signaled the last passage of play, Malton scrambled the ball into touch to end the game.
This was a good performance from Whitby without their full squad.
For most of the game, their defence was impeccable with notable performances from Tom Wood, Kyle Woods, Nathan Kaz, James Grimont, Adam Harrison and in particular Michael McCormack leading the pack by example with relentless vigour and earning man of the match.
Try: James Grimont; conversion: James Grimont; man of the match: Michael McCormack
Malton U15s 12 Whitby U15s 7