Wheatley Hills from South Yorkshire were the visitors to Kelleythorpe on Saturday.
The visitors are having a disappointing season by their standards, at the foot of North-One East and without a win this term.
With Driffield’s excellent win last week, the squad had to be confident. During the week, Stuart Cooper and his coaches had been warning against complacency, and his meticulous preparation would assist in this. The home team sheet saw Borman in for the injured George Mewburn and a complete bench change of Pettinger, McClarron and Turner.
Hills kicked off and an uncharacteristic fumble by the Driffield forwards put them under immediate pressure. From the home ten metres line their centre made a huge inroad into the Driffield midfield. He was brought to the ground short of the line but off-loaded to a supporting forward who went over for the try, and a bright start for Hills. The conversion was missed.
Not a good start but Driffield, but they instantly settled. They replied almost immediately, when a good forward drive led to Dodds bullocking his way over the Hills line for the try. Brigham converted. Driffield 7 – Wheatley Hills 5
Driffield soon added to the score. In possession, the ball was moved swiftly to the wing. Stephenson latched onto the ball on halfway and outpaced the Wheatley Hills defenders for a great try, converted by Brigham. Wheatley Hills were still reeling from Driffield’s response when, from a 5 metre attacking catch and drive, Rob Mewburn burrowed in for the try. Brigham added an excellent conversion from wide out. Driffield 21 – Wheatley Hills 5.
With Wheatley Hills always competitive in the scrum it was not always going Driffield’s way. However, on thirteen minutes, Stephenson, a live-wire at full back, attacked down the wing, and with some great interplay, Mewburn went over for his second try. Driffield 26 – Wheatley Hills – 5.
Burns and Nellen were once again prominent in the loose, with Ollie Cooper putting himself about with relish. Cooper barged his way over the Wheatley Hills ten metre line, a subtle off-load to Borman, who fed Furbank who duly scored in the corner. Brigham in the groove, made another excellent conversion from wide out. On thirty minutes, Stuart Cooper brought on two finishers; Turner for Borman and Pettinger for Dervey. Burns and Dodds carried on from last week’s great line-out display, with Brumfield’s throwing hitting them at will. Dodds caught at four and was driven towards the Wheatley Hills line They defended well but Gray released Brigham early onto a diagonal run to touch down under the posts. A short while later, an elusive run by Dinsdale left visiting defenders grasping at shadows as he touched down for the try wide out.
Wheatley Hills would not lie down and they started to put pressure on the Driffield line. Dodds was deemed to have killed the ball at a ruck and was sent to the bin for ten minutes. Driffield defended the closing minute well, with a crunching tackle by Gray on the Wheatley Hills number eight as he went for the line. Half–time : Driffield 45 – Wheatley Hills 5.
As the second half got underway, Wheatley Hills were struggling with injuries and the Driffield attrition in the tackle area was taking its toll. Pettinger went on a bullocking run down the middle breaking a couple of tackles. From the ensuing breakdown, Brigham sent out a long looping pass. Dinsdale took the ball on the bounce and scored wide out. Brigham converted again from the touch line. Driffield 52 – Wheatley Hills 5.
A short while later, Furbank scored a try wide out. On forty seven minutes, Borman returned for Ollie Cooper and captain Dervey for Nellen. Straight away Borman imposed himself on the game. On the half way line, a Wheatley Hills attacker ran into him. He simply ripped the ball from the opponents grasp, fed the ball and Driffield were back on on the attack. The ball was moved swiftly to Furbank and there was no stopping him getting his well deserved hat-trick of tries. Brigham, with his metronomic kicking added the points from an acute angle. Driffield 64 – Wheatley Hills 5.
Dench, a steely tackler and Joe Robinson were often the keystone in the Driffield defence. Hats must go off to Wheatley Hills; they never gave up and even with a seven man scrum held their own against the Driffield eight. However Furbank was in no mood for easing off the gas, and soon added his fourth try. Then Pettinger went on another rampaging run, this time down the left wing and took three defenders to stop him. Wheatley Hills then went on the attack. Turner was making a welcome return to the colours, and added value during the game. Although Driffield stopped them close to the line, Gray was adjudged to have impeded their ball and got a yellow card. With Driffield a man down, Wheatley Hills got a deserved try late on.
The final Driffield attack went down the left wing. As Wheatley Hills attempted a clearance kick it was charged down by Pettinger and the rebound was snapped up by Dervey, who went over for a final try; his second in two matches. Final Score : Driffield 74 – Wheatley Hills 12.
After the game, head coach Stuart Cooper was pleased with the overall performance but was keen to remind his players of the huge challenges that lay ahead with long away trips to Penrith and Alnwick in store before the end of the season. With no 1st team fixture next week, Cooper is already planning for these big challenges. Furbank was a deserving ‘Man of the Match’; his finishing on the day was razor-sharp. He was followed closely by Dodds who also made an outstanding contribution.