Driffield slip to derby day defeat

Driffield faced local rivals Pocklington for the second time in five weeks, this time in the second round of the Yorkshire Cup. The first meeting back in early September had seen a thoroughly entertaining game, with the Woldsmen coming away with the league points. Saturday’s game was another exciting encounter, but this time with the result reversed with Pocklington running out deserved winners.

Driffield’s much-changed side started brightly, with the front row holding their bigger opponents in the set scrum. Sheader at scrum half, replacing the injured Gray, was able to set his backs running with crisp service. It was a strong charge from Nellen that created the first scoring opportunity, winning a penalty that Brigham pushed wide. Pocklington struck back, winning a penalty of their own which was converted to give them a 3-0 lead after 15 minutes.

A quick throw from Pocklington was knocked on in midfield and hacked through. Furbank looked to be winning the race but play was brought back to show a yellow card to a Pocklington player. The resulting penalty was kicked to touch and driven well, but Driffield were penalised for hanging on and the chance was lost.

The next 20 minutes was pivotal in the outcome of the game, as Pocklington raised their physicality to a level that Driffield’s young team couldn’t cope with. First, strong carries in midfield stretched the Driffield defence. The ball was moved one way and then the other and touched down out wide. Soon after a break from a midfield scrum saw a try near the posts, before a slick backs move saw flanker Holborough make a break which he finished with a classy sidestep. This made the half time score 22-0.

Driffield would have hoped to start the second half strongly, but it was the hosts who added to their score with a penalty. Brigham was trying to inject some pace into the game, but the new back line saw their timing out on a couple of occasions which led to moves breaking down. They did win a penalty when the home side were penalised for a tip tackle which Brigham converted to get the visitors in the board.

Pocklington showed their cohesion when adding to their try tally by working the ball from side to side and stretching the defence. Not to be outdone, the forwards added another try from a catch and drive. Both these tries were converted leaving Driffield were staring down the barrel with the score at 39-3 and twenty minutes left.

It was to their credit that the final two tries went to the visitors. First a long throw was taken by Beachell who offloaded for Walgate to claim the try before Burns added a second from the back of a scrum. This final try was converted to leave the score 39-15.

Pocklington were good value for the victory and face a trip to National League Harrogate in the New Year, but Driffield will take positives from the game. The back row of Beachell, Turner and Burns showed up well against strong, experienced opponents, and the variety of front rowers used held up well in the tight. Behind the scrum Sheader impressed with his service and tenacity and Sadler made a welcome return.

Next week sees a crucial fixture at home against Guisborough.