There was as ever a warm welcome for Driffield as they travelled to Percy Park on what was a bitterly cold but ultimately successful day for the Woldsmen.
Park have been struggling with their form this year but their hopes were high as they fielded their strongest 18 players who certainly started the game with purpose, putting all the early pressure on the visitors, pegging Driffield back in their own 22. A home line-out yielded a rolling maul which was well-defended but, after a couple of recycles, the referee pinged Driffield for preventing the release and Park were presented with an easy three points in front of the posts.
Both teams like to play open, expansive rugby and after a couple of frenetic exchanges Dearing gathered a deep kick and the ball was moved nicely to Lawrence on the right wing who ran in a magnificent try from 50 yards out handing off three would-be defenders to score wide out. Dearing missed with a difficult conversion attempt.
Twenty minutes in and it was Park who struck next with a drive to the line by their forwards, scoring wide out to make it 8-5 : the conversion being missed.
Despite this set-back the visitors started to really click into gear. The pack had their work cut out in the tight and both teams struggled a bit in the line-out, but when Driffield got possession they always looked the more dangerous. George Mewburn, at eight, was having another great game proving a real handful for Park’s defence as he scythed through on a great run, offloading to Ben Dinsdale who finished well. Dearing converted and Driffield were on their way!
Gaining in confidence and exploiting one or two holes in the Park defence, Driffield struck again. Any opportunity to run from deep was taken and it was Ben Lawrence once again breaking tackles and carrying well into the home side’s twenty-two where he found Alex Cullen in support. Park scrambled to defend but Driffield were not to be denied as skipper Rob Mewburn dived over under the posts. Dearing added the 2 points.
From the restart Driffield were soon back in the Park twenty-two after good interplay; the forwards set up a driving maul which seemed certain to result in a try but this was collapsed by the home side who were penalised. Kicking to the corner and taking the line-out, Driffield drove again for the line but after two or three phases knocked-on, giving the put-in to Park. A great scrum put the Park pack under massive pressure and the ball was turned over. Gray fed Piercy who dived over close to the sticks. Dearing once again adding the points.
Half time came with Driffield very much in the ascendancy leading 26-8.
Watts came on in the backs and Zavatti into the pack. The second half started in much the same way as the first with Park desperate to get a foot-hold in the game but their willingness to run from anywhere was their downfall as they turned over ball close to their own line and Zavatti was on hand to claim the score, Dearing converting.
Shortly after Park did get another try and when Piercy was binned, a little harshly. One might have been forgiven for thinking the game was about to change, but it was the Woldsmen who pushed on, showing steely resolve. Gray was having a great game and made a good break to feed Dinsdale who nearly made the line. Douglas was also proving a handful for the defence, breaking the gain-line and helping set up good field position. Recycling the ball well it was the ever-present Mewburn, G who bullocked through to score, with Dearing improving.
Ben Lawrence was soon on the score sheet again as he showed great individual speed and strength, shredding the Park defence to score out wide.
Tries were coming thick and fast now as Park struggled to stem the tide. Gray executed his trademark steal and fed Furbank who waltzed over for a fine and deserved score. Minutes later, after good approach work, it was Stephenson who was not to be outdone by his fellow backs, showing good pace to score close in.
Park claimed a late try but there would be little conciliation in it, final score 18-59.
There were many fine performances in what was a massive team effort : from old war horse Dervey playing very well in the front row to the fresh young talents of Watts, Dinsdale and Lawrence who plagued their opponents. Dearing at full-back kicked well and instigated the counter attacks and Furbank at ten marshalled the game with maturity and kicked intelligently.
The team has hit good form following up on two fabulous performances to beat Malton in the League and Cup and, with players still to come back, competition for places is keen. The forwards continue to improve both in the tight and the loose and the backs possess a real threat from anywhere on the field. With Morpeth, Penrith and Bridlington to play before Christmas the next three weeks could prove very interesting indeed.