For the second week in a row the visitors took the spoils with the last kick of the game. A healthy crowd was treated to a see-saw game with the lead changing hands several times, before Cleckheaton snuck over in the corner with the last play of the game, coolly converted from a tricky angle.
The Woldsmen made a slow start, dropping the ball from the kick-off before conceding a penalty. Cleck took a quick tap penalty and the number eight barged over for a converted try. 0 – 7
Driffield struggled to get hold of the ball in the early stages as the large visiting pack kept the ball tight. Cleck were well organised up-front and caused Driffield problems early on with their rolling maul. Driffield showed how they could cause the opposition problems, when Piercy made a half-break but the offload was knocked on by Stephenson. This looked to be the template to follow – putting pace on the ball and stretching the visitors.
Driffield were performing well in the scrum against larger opponents. Brumfield took a couple against the head and, from the second of these, Dinsdale carried off the back of the scrum before Gray sniped around the base of the ruck and touched down, with the conversion added by Dearing. 7 – 7
With twenty five minutes gone the visitors lost a man to the bin for not rolling away at the ruck. Driffield capitalised when Dench hit a sharp angle and broke a tackle to touch down near the posts. Dearing added the conversion to take the score to 14 – 7.
Straight from the kick off, Driffield conceded a penalty which was well converted from 30 yards. 14 – 10.
The match ebbed and flowed in midfield, before Dinsdale scored a superb try. The ball was worked to the blindside, just inside the Driffield half. He showed good pace to get around the cover before standing his opposition winger up in a couple of yards and skinning the covering defence to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try. 19 – 10
Cleckheaton came straight back and, from a penalty for a high tackle, found good field position with a line-out in the corner. Driffield held the resulting maul up over the line and then won a penalty after disrupting the scrum. Driffield ran the ball away from their line and then Dearing found a good touch. With time running out, Driffield lost Dench to the bin for a late charge. Cleckheaton made the home side pay for lack of numbers when they moved the ball wide and scored in the corner. An excellent touch-line conversion added two points. Half time 19 – 17.
Driffield needed a big start to the half. Unfortunately it was Cleckheaton who started the stronger and added two good tries. Firstly, the number eight scored an individual try, chipping over the cover defence and gathering the ball on the bounce before touching down. This was tough on Driffield as their defence had swarmed the opposition and looked to have run them out of ideas, but the number eight demonstrated why he was Cleck’s man of the match with good skill. Then clever offloading in midfield broke the Driffield defence and the winger scored under the posts. Both were converted to take the score to 19-31.
Driffield welcomed Dench back to the field and showed character to work their way back into the game. Gray, who was a thorn in the opposition’s side all afternoon, broke through the middle and off-loaded to captain Piercy. He found Robinson who nearly made the corner. Cleckheaton conceded a penalty and from the resulting scrum, Dench nearly doubled his tally for the afternoon. Cooper was on hand to pick up the ball and muscle over. Dearing converted to make the score 31-26.
The pressure was all Driffield’s and it is to Cleckheaton’s credit that it took some time for them to make it pay. Brumfield took another scrum against the head and it seemed Driffield had scored, only for a knock-on over the line to be given. From the scrum, Mewburn took the ball blind and powered over, but too far out for Dearing to convert. 31 – 31.
Dearing had a penalty chance to take the lead, but pushed it wide, before Gray scooped up a loose ball on the 22 and darted into the corner to give the Woldsmen the lead once again. 36 – 31 with minutes to play.
Driffield had shown great composure to work their way back into the game over the last twenty minutes of the half, but that composure seemed to desert them with the final whistle looming. They tried to continue playing the game that had got them into a winning position, rather than taking pace out of the game and killing it off. A penalty gave Cleckheaton chance to establish field position and, from the resulting line-out, a break down the blindside saw the Woldsmen’s hopes dashed for a second week in a row. Final score 36 – 38