It is a long time since Blaydon last visited Kelleythorpe.  On that occasion it was in the old North One league in 2000-01.  Since then they have climbed as far as National One.  Their season has been based around their success at home, only losing to York.  They have struggled a little away from home.  Both sides try to play attractive, running rugby so an entertaining game beckoned.  Driffield had lost 25 – 30 up at Blaydon in October.

The 1st XV welcomed back Robbie Rix, Jack Sowersby and Harry Grant : all of them unavailable for the Ilkley game, had it been played.  Will Hughes also made his first start since the Scunthorpe game.  Ben Johnson, Henry Furbank and Oli Beckett made a strong bench.

Blaydon kicked off, and Driffield collected the ball and started to work upfield.  The play was evenly-matched, and not much progress was made until, with five minutes gone, Falkingham carried strongly up the left side of the pitch, taking it from the 10 to the 22.  The ball was sent right, and a try looked on, but the attack was halted ten metres out when it was lost forward in contact.

Now it was Blaydon’s turn to attack, making steady progress by working the phases, reaching the Driffield half.  The ball was popped to the Blaydon no. 6. who found a gap in the defence to run 35 metres to score wide left.  The conversion was left of the sticks and short.  D 0 – 5 B

For the next 15 minutes, play stayed largely in the middle of the park.  Driffield reached the 22 on several occasions, but wasted many of the opportunities and much territory by giving away penalties for holding on.

There was then a worrying-looking delay to the game when the Blaydon hooker lay inert on the ground.  After several minutes, he returned to play.

With half an hour gone, Falkingham made another great break from his own 22, passing to Rowbottom on the half-way.  He made it down the right side but the cover tackle managed to bundle him into touch ten out.

From the restart, Driffield won the ball back and it was sent down the line, finding Adam Brankley in the line as the extra man,  A try looked certain but the final pass was judged forward.

With ten to go in the half, Rix made a 40 metre break down the left side, before being stopped 15 out.  Blaydon were penalised, and Grant took a quick tap, catching the defence napping, and set off for the line.  He was stopped two metres short and a penalty was awarded, sent to touch.  The ensuing catch-and-drive was held up over the line, and Blaydon worked their way back up the pitch.

With two minutes left in the half, Blaydon hacked through and won a scrum five out when the clean-up was fumbled..  The inevitable eight-man shove was held well, and Driffield were able to clear their lines to bring the half to an end.

With the start of the second half, Driffield started to look a little sharper.  Rix once again made excellent ground, going 25 metres down the left side, before passing inside to Adam Brankley on the 22.  He cut back inside and evaded tackles, just making it to the line before the cover tackle stopped him.  Grant converted to give Driffield the lead for the first time.  D 7 – 5 B

Driffield’s tails were now up,and their attacks were more frequent.  But several good opportunities were lost to penalties or passes not going to hand.  Play rarely got into the Blaydon 22.

Finally, with twenty left, Johnson burst down the left side, shrugging off tackles.  When stopped, the ball was recycled to Adam Brankley who powered through to just reach the line.  Grant converted.  D 14 – 5 B

By now, Blaydon were looking tired.  They had lost key players to injury, but they worked doggedly to hold Driffield out for ten minutes.

Driffield pressed the Blaydon line again. and were awarded a scrum five out.  The eight-man shove was on, powering them over the line for Johnson to dab the ball down at no. 8.  Grant converted.  D 21 – 5 B

There was ten left for Driffield to clinch the bonus point try but, even with the loss of a man to a red card that did not help their cause, Blaydon were not down yet.  They hammered the Driffield line for minutes, without success.

The whistle blew with Blaydon camped in the Driffield 22, showing great never-say-die spirit.

York’s loss at Heath makes the top of the table interesting, taking into account that there are still some postponed games to be played – there are still four teams who could win the league.

Other Results

  • 2nds – won 42 – 19 at Sheffield Tigers
  • 3rds – lost 19 – 51 at Hull Ionians 2
  • 4ths – lost 24 – 48 to Hull Ionians 3
  • Ladies 1st XV at Birkenhead Park