The 1st XV hosted Ilkley in this final home league game of the season – see the match programme here.

It is a long time since Driffield last played at home, so the home supporters were looking forward to seeing the Woldsmen repeat their performance at Ilkley almost a month ago – one of the best of the season. 

Both sides like to play running rugby, and anything could happen.  But, a strong wind down the pitch was likely to make it a ‘game of two halves’, and Ilkley had the benefit in the first half.

Driffield got straight onto the front foot from the kick off, making steady progress up the field until they were five yards out.  The ball was popped to Pettinger, who bulldozed the full-back out of the way to score.  Kalani Grant added the extras.  D 7 – 0 I

Ilkley came straight back at Driffield, and scored a converted try to level the game with just under ten minutes gone.  D 7 – 7 I

Less than five minutes later, Kalani Grant was down and receiving attention to an injured leg, and had to leave the field to be replaced by Ryan Murray.

On the quarter-hour, Ilkley mounted another attack down the right side.  The winger got outside his man and ran round the defence to narrow the gap and score – converted.  D 7 – 14 I

Driffield responded from a penalty on the Ilkley 22.  Watts realised that the defence was napping and took a quick tap catching them up too close.  The ball went through the hands to Will Hughes, who crashed over to score.  The conversion was missed.  D 12 – 14 I

Ilkley edged the lead back out minutes later with a well-taken penalty from thirty out.  D 12 – 17 I

This was followed by fifteen minutes of end-to-end play until, with five minutes left in the half, Driffield had a line-out on the Ilkley five.  Rather than go for the catch-and-drive, they spun the ball and went through the phases until Adam Brankley crashed through from ten out, to the left of the sticks.  Watts added the extras, and Driffield had a narrow lead as half-time beckoned.  D 19 – 17 I

Rob Murray took the field for his 100th 1st XV cap, joining Simon Pettinger who started the game for his 200th cap.

With seconds left in the half, Ilkley were awarded a penalty 35 out on the left side of the pitch.  An excellent conversion reclaimed the lead for them and brought an end to the half.  D 19 – 20 I

The second half started with end-to-end play until, with ten minutes gone, Driffield were awarded a penalty fifteen out and Watts converted to take the lead back.  D 22 – 20 I

It would be another fifteen minutes before the next score – not for want of effort by both sides.  Finally, Driffield were able grind their way steadily up the park.  Adam Brankley, standing out on the right wing, received the final pass and powered his way over in the corner for the bonus-point try.  Watts converted from the touchline.  D 29 – 20 I

Ilkley responded by camping in the Driffield 22 for almost ten minutes, but could not puncture the Driffield defence. 

Eventually, the Woldsmen broke out of defence, and ground their way up the pitch, keeping the ball alive and resisting the temptation to use the wind to gain territory.  The ball reached Tom Brankley, who beat his man on the outside and raced to the line to score wide right.  The conversion was missed.  D 34 – 20 I

The remaining five minutes were spent with both sides running the ball, looking for gaps, and either side could have scored.  But, the final whistle went and Driffield had claimed five points to guarantee them at least fourth position in the league with just one game to go.

Other results

  1. Hullensians 2nds 22 – 3 Driffield 3rds
  2. Scunthorpe 3rds 17 – 22 Driffield 4ths