SIMON SMITH: First-half performance at Malton was below-par
Our first-half performance at Malton & Norton on Saturday was well below-par.
It’s rare that I have to have words with this group of players, but an honest conversation was had at half- time in terms of the high standards we set ourselves and our expectations in terms of performance.
To their credit, the guys improved enormously in the second half and managed to get level at 24-24.
Tom Ratcliffe scored a couple of really good tries and we played much better in the second half - it took a huge effort to get back on level terms but we couldn’t hold on though and we picked up a few more injuries and inevitably became more disjointed as a result.
In his first game back after a long injury lay-off, Tom Harrison had to come off with a hamstring problem and Komiti Tuilagi dislocated his shoulder and faces six weeks on the sidelines.
Add to those two the long list of Benny Blackall, Nino Cutino, Phil Watson, Billy Parker, Euan Govier, Drew Govier and Ben Martin and the numbers really mount up.
Malton probably just about deserved to win the game on the balance of the 80 minutes, they’re a good side and they are on a good run of form at the moment.
We go into our final game of 2019 when Bradford & Bingley visit Silver Royd this Saturday afternoon.
They’ll undoubtedly come looking to pick up a win heading into Christmas and I imagine they will bring a large contingent along with them and will be more than up for the occasion.
We hope to have Drew Govier back this weekend, Billy Parker returns to the fold and we’ll have to assess Nino Cutino and Tom Harrison throughout the week to see if they can play or not.
If we can somehow muster up a bit of magic and a performance full of grit and determination and pick up a win, it would represent an excellent first half to the season and a great 2019 on the whole.