This Saturday saw the visit of Huddersfield YMCA to Kelleythorpe. This was a re-arranged fixture due to previous bad weather – this game was also affected by similar weather front from the East.
Back in November, YMCA had won the away fixture in the last minute with a late penalty. Driffield’s form at the time put them as favourites, and this was the case again, with Driffield in third slot, 6 places above YMCA. Changes for Driffield showed Robinson in for Gray at 9, with Dervey back for his first start for a while, replacing the unavailable Waterhouse. Furbank passed a late fitness test to start with Watts on the bench. George Mewburn came in at no 8 for the injured Burns.
The Arctic conditions with a blasting easterly wind and sporadic sleet and snow were the main opponents for both sides. In the first half, Huddersfield played with the gale behind them, but once Driffield had steadied themselves they started to monopolise possession, with some commendable handling and offloading.
However, after only 10 minutes, YMCA showed their threat when Piper, picking up a loose ball on the halfway line, booted a monstrous 60 metres-plus dropped goal. DRIFFIELD 0 – HUDDERSFIELD 3
Initially stunning the home crowd, Driffield got straight back on the attack. Zavatti made a powerful 15 metre break, well-supported by Cooper and Douglas. From the ensuing ruck close to the YMCA line, the old war-horse Dervey drove over for the try. Dinsdale’s conversion attempt looked to be over but it was blocked by a wall of wind. DRIFFIELD 5 – HUDDERSFIELD 3
YMCA kicked off the re-start and Douglas caught and drove – this was the beginning of a great game for him. Driffield continued to have the lion’s share of possession with YMCA unable to make much use of the following wind. The back three of the Mewburn brothers and Dodds was functioning well. Mid-way through the half Dodds, who had taken a knock, was replaced by Cullen. This change was seamless and Driffield continued their control.
Play moved into YMCA’s 22 and Furbank looked to move the ball but instead, showing a deal of composure, put a short grubber kick through for Stephenson to dart through and dot down the ball for a well-worked try. This time, Dinsdale beat the ‘Beast from the East’ and added the conversion. DRIFFIELD 12 – HUDDERSFIELD 3
A short while later, YMCA recorded 3 more points from a penalty on the Driffield 22. DRIFFIELD 12 – HUDDERSFIELD 6
Driffield continued to play enterprising rugby in the atrocious conditions. From a YMCA clearance Dinsdale recovered the ball in his own half, fed Piercy who set off on a trademark ballistic run. YMCA completely failed to pick him up and close to the 22 he put Furbank through the gap with a perfect pass. He accelerated away from a couple of chasers to score under the posts for a good team try. Dinsdale added the extras. DRIFFIELD 19 – HUDDERSFIELD 6
Huddersfield responded and it looked like they might score as the ball was scrambled behind the Driffield try line but Robinson, an astute defender, managed to retrieve the situation.
Half time : DRIFFIELD 19 – HUDDERSFIELD 6
The pitch was in remarkable condition considering recent weather and enabled both sides to move the ball quickly. Driffield soon experienced the same problems YMCA had in the first half with the strong following wind and struggled to take any real advantage. Driffield forwards were all carrying well. Douglas, as previously mentioned, was everywhere and Cooper regularly added his own brand of carrying. Then the game suddenly opened up – Dinsdale was given the ball deep in his own half and scythed through the YMCA midfield defence and went all the way for a 70 metre try, which he converted. DRIFFILED 26 – HUDDERSFIELD 6
Put into space both Dinsdale and Lawrence can be devastating attackers. Cullen was jumping well at 2 in the line. In spite of the wind, both hookers were throwing well. At one breakdown, Brumfield got over the ball and brought off a great turnover to win the penalty. Blenkinsop came on for Dervey and was immediately involved.
The scrum continued to work well and on numerous occasions the YMCA scrum splintered under pressure. Zavatti had another powerful charge across the YMCA 22. However, Driffield were penalised at the breakdown for failing to release the ball and lost a great chance with this error. YMCA never gave in and fought well into the gale in spite of the score line. They looked to break clear but captain Mewburn came in with a crunching tackle and restored order.
Watts came on for Piercy who had damaged his shoulder. Watts also has an air of confidence about him and made the switch seamless.
FINAL SCORE : DRIFFIELD 26 – HUDDERSFIELD 6
In spite of the gale force wind and sleet both sides had showed commendable handling skills throughout. Driffield deserved the win and their bonus points. A mention must be made of the referee who kept good control but allowed the game to flow for both sides on a difficult afternoon. The injury to Man of the Match Piercy was a blow, but hopefully physio will get him back quickly.
Driffield maintained their position in the league with all still to play for. Cooper, ever the perfectionist was pleased with the result but he identified some areas for scrutiny at training this week, in preparation for the visit of Percy Park next Saturday.