Torrential rain greeted Morpeth to Kelleythorpe on Saturday, making their first visit for a couple of years after spending the season in the national leagues. After an indifferent start to the season, the visitors recorded a good win over Moortown last time out, and the Woldsmen knew they would present tough opposition.
Both sides made a confident start, making light of the conditions. After two minutes, Short took a high ball under pressure and released the lively Rix who made ground down the clubhouse side, only to be brought down by an excellent cover tackle. A subsequent penalty was kicked to touch and the forwards showed good control for Nellen to touch down. Watts converted to leave Driffield 7-0 ahead inside 3 minutes.
It was Morpeth’s turn to take control of the ball, but they met stout resistance from the home side’s defence, led by Sowersby. He was at the heart of the next try on 15 minutes, carrying the ball from a lineout to set up good field position. Brigham worked back to the blind side and scythed through only to be tackled five metres out. He offloaded to captain Mewburn who scored next to the posts allowing Watts to convert.
Morpeth came back on the attack and won a scrum in Driffield’s half. Harrying defence forced the ball to floor and Driffield hacked forwards. Morpeth dived on the ball but Robinson won a penalty, which he took immediately, catching the defence on their heels and outpacing the cover to score on 18 minutes. Watts surprisingly pushed the conversion wide, making it 19-0.
A few minutes later James Dinsdale left the field injured, but it wasn’t long before Nellen barged his way over from short range to get the bonus point try.
Tempers flared just before half time, and Driffield were awarded a penalty. This was kicked to touch and the returning Forbes broke free and scored from 15 yards for an unconverted try on 40 minutes to leave the score 29-0 at half time.
Morpeth started the half with renewed vigour, with their number 8 prominent in the best aspects of play. They met continued strong defence which laid the foundation for Driffield’s three second half tries. Firstly, Driffield disrupted a scrum deep in Morpeth territory, which allowed Watts to hack through and score.
Then Mewburn swooped on a dropped ball in midfield and released Blacker who scored from half way. Watts converted from touch.
The final try went deservedly went to Mewburn who dived in the corner after excellent hands from the forwards had worked him into space to leave the final score 46-0.
Both sides should be commended for their skill level in such difficult conditions. The home sides back row was outstanding, well led by Mewburn who was constantly on-hand to make the first tackle, or provide the link in attack. Robinson and Brigham showed good game management, kicking intelligently and leading the team around the pitch. It was good to see Soanes, Blacker and Forbes returning to the side and this depth of squad should serve Driffield well.
A Yorkshire Cup game against National League Otley next week should provide a good test, before a visit to early pace-setters Ilkley the following week.