Derby day disappointment

The form book sometimes goes out of the window where local derbies are concerned. Despite starting the day eight places below Pocklington, Driffield would have been optimistic about getting something out of Saturday’s game, as they did last year in similar circumstances. That optimism would have been tested after the first ten minutes in which Driffield had barely had the ball, and conceded the first of five tries.

Pocklington started strongly, regathering the kick-off and, in a sign of things to come, controlling possession well. Driffield’s defence held well under the pressure, but they failed to clear their lines effectively when given the opportunity. A series of scrums on the Driffield line looked like they would give the home side the lead, but Driffield showed their resilience to turn the ball over. However, a scrappy clearing kick allowed Pocklington to reset their attack, and a dummy from influential scrum-half Rees saw him over from twenty yards.

The next twenty minutes were Driffield’s best of the match, with the backs testing the home side’s defence. Stephenson in particular looked dangerous, with his pace getting him on the outside of his opposite man several times. However, the last pass invariably went to ground, either through trying to force play or due to suffocating home-side defence. Brigham had a shot for goal from half-way but just pushed it wide, before a blind-side move from a mid-field scrum worked Furbank into space. He chipped through, but was pushed out of the race. From the resulting penalty, Driffield took a quick tap, but the ball went to ground and the chance was lost. Pocklington made the Woldsmen pay when they added a penalty to the score after Driffield failed to clear their lines.

On the half-hour, Pocklington added their second try, this time from a push-over after a Driffield put in to the scrum. This was again converted, leaving the score at 17-0 with half an hour gone. Try number three was added when a poor Driffield clearance led to Pocklington pressure. A smart inside ball was well held by the defence, but a pick and go saw Pocklington over. Good scrambling defence kept the score at 24-0 at half-time.

The first twenty minutes of the second half were relatively even, with neither side adding to the score. Pocklington did add two more tries to their total before the final whistle, the first from a scrum on the Driffield line and the second from a dropped ball in midfield that was hacked through, both converted leaving the score at 38-0.

Credit to Driffield as they kept trying to make things happen. Brigham executed a lovely chip over and re-gather before doing the same again and forcing a 5-yard scrum.

The final act of the game summed up Driffield’s afternoon – huge endeavour, but ultimately making an error and failing to execute. Skipper Dervey made a remarkable break for one with a hamstring injury, streaking away from the Pocklington twenty-two. He looked to be coasting into the corner, but perhaps sensing the cover coming across slipped the ball inside where it was spilled forwards.

The score line may suggest otherwise, but Driffield didn’t play badly. They simply came up against a very strong, committed, well-drilled opposition who didn’t allow them to play and who were clinical in attack. Driffield have faced some strong opponents in the past few weeks, but Pocklington were probably the most complete all-round side. The Woldsmen showed great endeavour in defence, tackling their bigger opponents with relish. Gray made a welcome return and Moore showed some nice touches in midfield.

A tough end to 2016 concludes with the visit of league-leaders West Hartlepool next Saturday.