The 1st XV were looking for another win as they faced Alnwick, just one place below them, in this Regional One North clash. In the league games last season, Driffield won at Kelleythorpe 31-19, while Alnwick won at home 29-15. The end of the season saw Alnwick finish in fourth position, one place behind Driffield with three points between the two.
Driffield last faced Alnwick in the Papa John’s Community Cup, when they made the trip south to us. A win that day meant Driffield had qualified for the semi-final – obviously we all know how that finished up.
Alnwick seem to have had a steady start to this season, but lay sixth in the league having won five and lost three of their fixtures.
Driffield were looking to push on following last week’s performance at Doncaster. For the first time this season they showed what they are about, playing some great rugby to ease past Phoenix with a 10-38 win.
Alnwick kicked off on a still and sunny afternoon, and Driffield collected the ball. They worked through the phases and made their way up to the Alnwick 22, where they were awarded a penalty.
Looking to stamp their mark on the game, they went for touch rather than the three points. The ball was won, and they made their forward but were halted.
They continued the pressure and, with almost ten minutes gone, were awarded a scrum fifteen out. The ball was spun right, finding Tom Brankley who went in at the corner. Grant converted from just inside the touchline. D 7-0 A
Driffield again advanced after the restart, allowing Rix to make one of his trade-mark breaks through the centre from 30 out on the left of the pitch. Stopped five outside, he flipped the ball outside to Robinson who went in at the corner. The conversion was missed. D 12-0 A
From the restart, the ball was given to Grant who broke the line and made good progress. He passed inside to Adam Brankley, who ran 20 yards to score under the sticks. Grant converted. D 19-0 A
It looked like it might be heading toward a cricket score, but Alnwick steadied the ship and worked their way up the field, finally being awarded a penalty on the Driffield ten for not releasing. The penalty was kicked to touch inside the 22. The resulting catch-and-drive made good ground before the tail broke off the back to bully himself over. The conversion was good. D 19-7 A
With five minutes left in the half, Driffield were back in Alnwick territory and had a line-out. The catch-and drive was well set up, and took them to the five where Alnwick gave away a penalty for collapsing the maul. The referee awarded a penalty try. D 26-7 A
Half time followed soon after.
From the restart, Alnwick launched themselves into attack, and looked a different team, working back up the pitch. Finally, with five minutes gone in the half a missed tackle in the centres, and a long pass out right found a two-man overlap and an easy run-in, and the conversion. D 26-14 A
A further five minutes later, Alnwick were given a yellow card for a high tackle, and Grant gladly converted. D 29-14 A
Driffield then spent fifteen minutes camped in the Alnwick half. Attempts by the forwards to find a gap were repeatedly thwarted, and the backs always seemed to be a man short to find a way around the defence.
With a little over ten minutes to go, the game turned ugly for a while after a Driffield player was illegally held back, out of sight of the referee. In the fracas that followed, Henry Hughes was shown red, and an Alnwick player yellow.
Alnwick came alive in the last ten minutes, and finally found a way through to score out wide, but the conversion was missed. D 29-19 A
With a minute to go, Alnwick were awarded a penalty – if kicked, they would get a losing bonus point. The kick looked as if it would just sneak through, but bounced out off the face of the post and the game finished with nothing for them to show after the long trip down. FT D 29-19 A
The other results were
- Driffield 2nd 83 v 5 Alnwick 2nd at Home
- Driffield 3rd 24 v 20 Beverley 2nd Away
- Driffield 4th 27 v 26 Grimsby 2nd Home