Woldsmen banish away-day blues

A grey afternoon saw the Woldsmen travel west in search of their first away win of the season. On the face of it a trip to win-less Wheatley Hills would seem like the ideal place to break their duck, but past experience would tell them that it would be a difficult fixture. Still beset by injuries, Driffield nevertheless travelled with a strong side, Binnington making his first start in the second row and Harrison coming into the back row.

Driffield started at pace, racing into a four try lead within twenty minutes to secure a bonus point. Stephenson with two, plus Sheader and Dinsdale on the score sheet all converted by Brigham. If Driffield thought they would have things all their own way, they were badly mistaken as for the next twenty minutes it was all Wheatley, with only a penalty to show for Driffield.

On the half hour after pressure from Hills Burns was yellow carded. Driffield did well to repel several catch and drives from the opposition, but after the ball was moved into midfield a break saw Hills touch down for a converted try. Brigham replied with a penalty after a slippery break from Sheader.

Harrison saw yellow soon after to leave Driffield down to 13 men, but that didn’t stop Sheader breaking from his own line. Electric pace took him to half way before the ball was lost. Wheatley worked the ball through the phases until good strength took them over for a converted try. Hills nearly added 3 more points after strong running from the number 8 earned them a penalty, but it was pushed wide to leave the half time score 31-14.

Hills started the second half strongly, with an inside ball from the fly-half splitting the Driffield defence and only the last pass drifting forward saved Driffield from conceding more points. Hills did add more points when Driffield conceded a penalty in the home side’s twenty two. They took it quickly and worked through the phases before breaking up the middle. Good defence from Driffield kept them out before the scrum half wriggled over to make the score 34-21.

The home side had their tails up and it was to Driffield’s credit that they conceded no more points. Hills’ pack was as robust as ever, but was well matched by Driffield’s eight, particularly Binnington and Pettinger who both hit hard. It was the two elder statesmen of the Driffield pack who set up the last try of the day. Captain Dervey ripped the ball in the middle of the field before finding McClarron who showed his pace and experience to make yards down the wing before finding Sheader. He was penalised for not releasing on the ground. Hills kicked for touch but lost the line out and Cooper carried hard into the heart of the Hills defence. The ball found its way to Sowersby who dummied his way over for his third try in two games. Brigham converted to make the final score 41-21.

Hills looked far better than their league position would suggest. Their forwards carried hard and showed deft touches with ball in hand. They were well-marshalled by a classy fly-half and their backs ran strongly. Driffield’s pack held their own in the scrum, with Brumfield taking his customary strike against the head, and tackled ferociously. The half-backs were excellent in testing conditions. Sheader’s pass was sharp, his pace kept opponents guessing around the fringes and several opposition forwards were let flat on their backs after trying to run over him. Brigham looked full of confidence, taking the ball to the opposition line and engaging defenders. His kicking from hand kept turning the big opposition pack around and goal kicking near faultless. Sowersby in the centre looks to be a good addition, running good lines and having an eye for the try line.

A difficult game awaits next week as high-flying Penrith make the long trip to Kelleythorpe, but Driffield will be in good spirits.