Injury list gets worse as Driffield lose to Bradford & Bingley
Driffield travelled to Bradford and Bingley on Saturday. The last match’s between the 2 sides were 2 seasons ago, prior to them being relegated. That season the honours went with home advantage. Stuart Cooper rightly anticipated the challenge they pose, particularly at Wagon Lane. Changes to the side were Waterhouse and Pettinger in for the unavailable Brumfield and Nellen. Dervey, the captain returning with Turner and Stephenson, and Sowersby , after a great pre-season, returning from College for his first team debut.
Early on , there was little to choose between the sides. Driffield started their high tempo game plan, whist it became obvious the Bradford fly-half Oosthuizen would try and dominate territory with his powerful boot. The whole Driffield team showed they were up to the challenge with some fine tackling in defence. Mewburn made a crunching tackle and Burns stormed forward on an elusive run. Then, the first of the Driffield injuries, with Robinson unlucky to aggravate his recent rib injury, he had no option but to leave the field. It was a shame because he had a good game last week, and had started this in the same vein. Jones came on to replace him. Bradford tried a catch and drive on the Driffield 22 metre line , but Borman thwarted their progress with a massive tackle on their second row as he broke away from the maul. Bradford then stole a Driffield line-out, moved the ball wide to the left and their powerful centre ran a good line to score. The conversion was missed. Driffield 0 Bradford 5.
The Bradford fly half was peppering the Driffield defence with some high kicks, but the Driffield back three of Sowersby, Murray, and Dinsdale were up to the challenge. Murray took one steepling kick, and although immediately under pressure set the ball for his forwards. The kicking game of Bradford is now quite a rarity at this level of rugby. As the ball went loose from a tackle in the Driffield half Pettinger hacked the ball forward. This lead to a kick and chase for Brigham. He looked likely to score, but he appeared to lose control of the ball and was hurt in the tackle. He came off nursing a shoulder injury Ollie Cooper came on into the 2nd row with the back line reshuffling. Driffield kept moving the ball, and an uncharacteristic loose pass from Dinsdale on 35 minutes lead to an interception try for Bradford. Driffield 0 Bradford 12.
Just before half time Pettinger was replaced by Blenkinsop. Bradford kicked a penalty and added a converted try making half time score Driffield 0 Bradford 22
Shortly after the break, Driffield suffered more injury when Mewburn took a knock to the head and had to be replaced by Pettinger . He came back on with a surge of energy, and perhaps a point to prove. Unfortunately, following a good run , his loose off load was snapped up by the Bees’s 2nd row forward who galloped in from 50 metres. So,two inaccuracy’s in the off-load had cost Driffield 2 tries. Pettinger then made amends and following another burst, made a perfect offload to Turner who went on a great run. From somewhere, despite numerous reorganisations , Driffield were forcing their way back into the game. Sowersby was tackling well, and the indefatigable Borman once again rolled back the years, and once again tackled himself into the ground. On one sortie Borman appeared to have knocked on close to the Bees line, but the referee played on and Cooper showed his strength as he powered over the line. Sowersby converted. Driffield 7 Bradford 29
Bradford responded and when Stephenson who had tackled back well was penalised, Bradford took the points. Driffield 7 Bradford 32
Following a dust-up between the packs Borman was yellow carded and the Bradford hooker who had already been in the bin got his red card for his contribution. Their fly half also went to the bin for a separate offence of interference with the ball. Driffield were not finished. At a 5 metre line-out , a short throw to the front of the line was diected back to Pettinger who plunged over. Bradford again responded and got their last try far out on the right. Their fly half converted well. Final Score Driffield 12 Bradford 39
After the game, Stu Cooper was full of praise for the way his team had battled against the host of injuries and disruptions they had suffered. He identified they had played well at times, and their never say die attitude. But for the two interception tries and Brigham’s near miss try, they could have been a lot closer. The coaching triumvirate of Cooper, Williams and McClarron now have to prepare the squad for next week’s home game against Percy Park. They know there are no easy games in NE 1.