The Woldsmen travelled to Clifton on Saturday for a top of the table clash with old friends York. Two notable absentees from the side were Rix and Watts, both injured in last week’s clash with Pontefract. However, benefitting from strength in depth, Ryan Murray slotted in at 10, and Grant moved to full-back.
The initial exchanges were promising as Driffield pushed into York territory, patiently building the phases and slowly progressing up the field. Kelly was to the fore on a number of occasions, with Adam Brankley, Falkingham and Mewburn also announcing their presence.
But the York defence was well-organised and very physical. Finally, Tom Brankley found a bit of space on the right wing, cut a lovely line back inside and put the Woldsmen on the score-sheet with a fine try. The conversion was missed. D 5 – 0 Y
York struck back at Driffield with some lovely rugby, orchestrated as ever by scrum half Atkin, moving the ball well and driving deep into the Driffield half. The pressure was upped on the Woldsmen when Kalani Grant was injured and had to retire, meaning a reshuffle in the Driffield backs when Tom Sowersby came on.
Two minutes later, there was another set-back when York were awarded a penalty for not rolling away. This was converted. D 5 – 3 Y.
Alarm bells started to ring when Robinson picked up an injury and had to leave the field. Sowersby went to 9 and Tom Brankley had to deputise in the centre.
Driffield seemed unsettled by the disruption and, on 24 minutes having conceded 2 penalties, York scored a try from a well-worked catch-and-drive. D 5 – 10 Y
Driffield responded immediately with a drive which, when the maul was collapsed, earned them a penalty try. D 12 – 10 Y
There followed a period which saw the home side pull away with a display of running rugby that showed why they are top of the table. Tries to York on 35, 40, 44 and 48 minutes sealed the game for them, Shackleton converting all. D 12 – 38 Y
At this point Toby Atkins, Yorks very influential scrum half, had to leave the field and Driffield found a new lease of life. From the restart Falkingham gathered and set the Woldsmen going forward. Great hands saw captain Adam Brankley power over for a welcome try. The conversion was missed. D 17 – 38 Y
This seemed to re-invigorate the visitors and, with ball in hand, they attacked from deep, recycling time and time again until Blacker was able to fly through for a well-earned try. The conversion was missed. D 22 – 38 Y
Driffield were not finished and, when Mewburn crossed again for the visitors. Again, the conversion was missed. D 27 – 38 Y
One or two of York’s hearts might have started to flutter, but they need not have worried. A final penalty for the home side sealed a well-deserved victory 41-27.
The Woldsmen were left to analyse how their game came apart in the middle 40 and to reflect on a poor kicking game which left a lot of points out on the field !
However the club has great strength in depth, the 2nd XV beating York 32-21 at Clifton and the last 20 minutes were enough to show how we can play some awesome rugby. Chris Young and his men will dust themselves off and be ready for the trip to Ilkley next week for another hard test in this most competitive of leagues. Thank you to all support that travelled through to support both teams.
- 2nd XV won 32 – 21 at York
- 3rd XV won 80 – 47 at home to Selby 3
- Ladies 1st XV lost 20 – 45 at home to Sheffield Women
- Colts won 34 – 27 at home to Scunthorpe