The previous Saturday, Kelleythorpe witnessed as good a performance from a Driffield team as has been seen for some time. Our ball handling and continuity play was excellent, matched up with our defence, and was highly satisfying for players, coaches and the large crowd that enjoyed watching it. The coaches were aiming to keep those same high standards today.
Matthew Jenkinson and Jack Sowersby were unavailable so replaced by Adam Brankley and Owen Scurry. Owen started on the wing with Rob Rix moving into the centre. Harry Grant started in the second row having impressed coming off the bench last week.
Adam was due to start on the bench with Kyle Turner moving to open-side. But a warm-up injury to Sam Gleeson meant that he started in the back row with Turner going to second row. Fortunately the 2nd XV were at home, so Rob Murray was drafted in to make up the bench.
Driffield started with great energy, and a scrum two minutes in showed their intent when they drove Cleckheaton back five yards.
Driffield continued the pressure and, with ten minutes gone, McKinnon appeared from the back of a maul eight yards out and piled through to score to the left of the sticks. Watts converted. Driffield 7 – 0 Cleckheaton
From the restart Driffield drove Cleckheaton back into their own half until, on 18 minutes, they were awarded a penalty 10 yards out. Sniffing blood they went for the scrum option. Johnson took the ball from the back and went right but was stopped just short and Cleckheaton were able to clear their lines.
Driffield continued the pressure, and it told on 26 minutes when Falkingham got the ball on the Cleckheaton 10 and broke down the right side, before cutting in towards the sticks and bursting five tackles to score to the right of the posts. Watts converted. Driffield 14 – 0 Cleckheaton
But Cleckheaton did not buckle and turned to attack. This paid off on the stroke of half-time when they broke from the Driffield 10 on the right side and found a gap to go in and score under the sticks, making a straightforward conversion. Driffield 14 – 7 Cleckheaton
Driffield started the second half well, resulting in a penalty after a few minutes which Watts slotted. Driffield 17 -7 Cleckheaton
Cleckheaton were not down yet, and made several unsuccessful attacks repelled by Driffield. Finally Driffield were back on the Cleckheaton line and Johnson went over – but the ball was dislodged in the attempt. Just a minute later, a penalty to Driffield was converted by Watts to extend the lead. Driffield 20 – 7 Cleckheaton
With less than five minutes remaining, Scurry set off down the right of the pitch from 25 yards out, evading tackles and cutting in to score under the sticks, for Watts to convert. Driffield 27 – 7 Cleckheaton
Cleckheaton had the last score of the game with seconds to go. A clever chip through on the right of the pitch from 25 out bounced kindly in-field from the touch, fooling the plentiful defence and was well-taken by the marauding attackers who scored five yards in. The conversion by Cleckheaton was superbly executed to make the final score Driffield 27 – 14 Cleckheaton
The win keeps Driffield in second place, just ahead of Alnwick. Cleckheaton would travel home knowing they had given Driffield a stern test.