This was essentially a quarter-final shootout against local rivals, York, who have had the better of us in our two league games.  The prize was a place in the semi-final, and a step closer to Twickenham.

Driffield had the kick-off, and York brought the game straight to Driffield, applying early pressure and working their way up the park. With the York forwards having the edge, they built a solid platform in the Driffield 22.  The York 8 flicked the ball right from the back of a solid scrum, and quick passing found the York inside centre on the charge, who went in to the right of the sticks, making the conversion straightforward.  D 0 – 7 Y

Driffield restarted, and put the ball deep into York territory.  The Driffield line was up quickly and pressured the York defence.  They tried to kick from their 22 to clear their lines, but Will Hughes was right there and charged the ball down on the right side of the park.  The ball bounced kindly across the line and Hughes was first to it to narrow the gap.  The conversion was missed.  D 5 – 7 Y

Shortly after the restart, Robinson was shown yellow for a loose high tackle.  With a man short, Driffield continued to press and nearly scored when, on the York 22, a kick was grubbed through pursued by the mobile Ramsden.  He narrowly missed being able to ground it.

Shortly after, Driffield were awarded a penalty, which Watts gladly converted to give Driffield the lead.  D 8 – 7 Y

York returned to attack and put the ball deep into Driffield’s 22.  The clearance to the right did not find touch, and was collected and run back down York’s left wing, with quick hands and great support keeping the ball alive, allowing the 14 to go in at the corner, followed by an excellent touchline conversion.  D 8 – 14 Y

Driffield were awarded a penalty soon after the restart, which Watts slotted from 30 out to narrow the gap.  D 11- 14 Y

Play remained between the two teams’ 22s for the next ten minutes or more, until Driffield were awarded another penalty.  That attempt just curled to the left, missing the opportunity to level the scores.

York came back at Driffield, going through multiple phases to work their work up the park, finally being popped from the back of a maul to the York 3 who crashed over from three out, converted.  D 11 – 21 Y

Half-time followed shortly after.

Following the restart, the contest returned, with neither side being able to make much progress, powerful attacking being matched by stout defence from both sides.

With ten gone in the half, Driffield kicked a penalty to touch on the left, ten out.  From the catch-and-drive, Brankley secured the ball at the back and burrowed through for the score at the tail as the maul crossed the line.  The conversion was missed, making it D 16 – 21 Y

Shortly after, a York penalty from 40 out sailed straight and true through the sticks to extend the score.  D 16 – 24 Y

Driffield slowly worked their way back up the park, finally reaching the York 22.  Johson took a quick tap from a penalty, catching the defence up too close.  Stopped just a couple of yards out, he popped the ball left to Will Hughes on his shoulder, who went over near the sticks for this second, converted by Watts.  D 23 – 24 Y

With the scent of victory in their nostrils, and York fading a little, Driffield kept up the pressure.  At the mid-point of the half, they broke down the left of the pitch.  Quick passing and good support kept the ball alive, finally reaching Will Hughes who wen in the near the corner, and ran round to narrow the gap to complete his hat-trick, extended by Tom Sowersby’s conversion.  D 30 – 24 Y

With the game finely balanced in Driffield’s favour, both sides threw themselves into the game, and play moved backward and forwards between the 22s.

Finally, with less than five minutes to go, York were awarded a penalty and kicked to touch.  Driffield were able to reclaim the ball, and cleared their lines before given away another penalty, also kicked to touch wit hless than a minute to go. 

This time, York secured the ball well and spun it out to the right, finding a rare gap in the Driffield defence to go in to the right of the sticks.  The conversion gave them a one point lead, and the whistle for full time went.  D 30 – 31 Y

York will go on to to play Heath in the semi-final in one week’s time, while Driffield can now focus on the Yorkshire Cup Final on 18 May.

In the Merit Table Final at Beverley, Driffield 3rd XV were narrowly beaten 20-22 by Hull Ionians 2nd XV, missing their chance to, once again, win this trophy.