Sequels often don’t live up to expectations, but the second fixture in the Driffield v. Malton trilogy provided as much entertainment as the first, with the result in doubt right to the final whistle. Driffield fielded a much-changed side featuring a number of positional changes as well as a handful of new faces.
Much like last week’s game, it was an even start before Malton started to exert their dominance. A smart kick-through turned the Woldsmen and earned Malton a scrum. Despite good Driffield defence, Malton managed to cross in the corner for an unconverted try. They kept the pace high, playing an attractive style of rugby, getting in behind the Driffield defence and the pressure won a penalty which they converted to extend the score to 8-0.
It was clear to see how Malton have run up plenty of points this far this year and a young Driffield side did well to contain them. One of the youngsters fired Driffield’s first shot, when fly-half Murray made a lovely break down the blind-side, showing beautiful balance to beat several defenders. Driffield switched the ball back to the open, but the ball went to ground and the chance was lost.
Driffield kept going, and nearly recorded their first points with a well-constructed attack. The returning Douglas managed an off-load out of the tackle to Mewburn who showed good pace to round the defence before offloading to the supporting Cullen. He passed back to Mewburn but he was well tackled by the cover.
A scrum to Driffield gave them the chance to build some pressure, but a knock-on let Malton clear the line. Driffield ran the ball back and looked to recycle, before seeing a pass intercepted by the visiting prop who showed a good turn of pace to make 40 yards. He was eventually hunted down and the ball turned over to set up a counter-attack through Furbank and Murray. This was real end-to-end action and Driffield finally managed to notch their opening score when Douglas and Mewburn set the platform for Murray to send a lovely wide pass to Robinson to cross in the corner.
Driffield had worked their way back into the game after Malton’s strong start, and it was slightly against the run of play when Malton scored next. Malton’s dangerous full back showed great skill to draw the defence and throw a pass out of the tackle to the winger to cross in the corner.
With the half time score at 5-13, it was vital that the Woldsmen claimed the next score. They did that almost straight from the kick-off. Furbank made good distance with a clearing kick, before Malton took a quick throw. Douglas tackled his man and Piercy claimed the turnover. The pass to Dinsdale was perfect, enabling him to get on the outside of his man and show his considerable pace to cross in the corner. Murray added the extras from the touchline and the deficit was cut to 1 point.
Sensing the opportunity to claim the lead for the first time, Driffield kept the pressure on. Strong carries from Mewburn and Soanes were met with stout defence from the visitors. Driffield kept the ball tight trying to batter through the defence, when space looked to be wider out. When Driffield did spread the ball to Dinsdale he scored his second of the afternoon, this time unconverted.
Captain Piercy was leading the way, driving through the tackles and giving his side a platform to play from. Brumfield stole an opposition put in and Mewburn took advantage to charge through the visiting defence and a couple of phases later he extended the Driffield lead, bursting through a tackle to score.
If the previous week’s game had taught Driffield anything it was that Malton could strike from anywhere, and yet again it was the full-back causing problems as he gathered up a loose ball chipped through and outstripped the covering defence. Crucially the conversion was missed meaning Malton needed another try. They did their best to force another score but Driffield defended stoutly, despite losing Piercy to the sin bin. A mid-field scrum gave Malton a great platform to attack from, but the Driffield eight disrupted and scrambling defence forced Malton into touch and gave the Woldsmen the win.
This performance showed the depth in Driffield’s ranks, which they will need with a tough run to Christmas, facing the top two in consecutive weeks before rounding off the year at home to Bridlington. They also have the carrot of a Yorkshire Cup semi-final, at home to Hull early in the New Year.