For the third weekend out of the last four, the Kelleythorpe faithful were treated to an enthralling game which again had the final result in doubt until the final whistle. Visitors Morpeth were leading the table at the start of play, and are a similar club to Driffield with plenty of players coming through the youth ranks and an enterprising style of play.
This week it was Driffield that made a fast start. Receiving the kick-off, they worked up-field with Mewburn, Zavatti and Douglas all carrying hard before earning a penalty under the posts which Dearing converted. Morpeth came straight back on the attack, demonstrating the skills that had taken them to the top of the table, off-loading out of contact and showing inventive handling between backs and forwards. They continued to batter away at the defence, but Driffield held firm, before Stephenson won the turnover to allow Furbank to clear.
Morpeth had the upper hand in the early scrums, but Driffield were able to win a penalty which they kicked to touch. The home side’s line-out worked well all day, and this enabled Mewburn to carry hard again, before Piercy was held up over the line. This gave Driffield a scrum, which Morpeth put under huge pressure but captain Mewburn was on hand to tidy up and feed Piercy who touched down for the first try of the afternoon. Dearing converted making the score 10-0.
Driffield conceded a penalty from the kick-off which gave Morpeth field position. The visiting fly-half showed great skill to chip over the defence and regather, before a solid hit dislodged the ball. Any loose kicks were being returned well by the visiting full-back, showing good balance and creating danger to the Woldsmen. Morpeth made this pressure pay, with a try through the forwards from a catch-and-drive at the line-out. This started a further period of pressure from the visitors who were looking dangerous with their off-loading game stretching the defence. The home side’s desire to make the tackle, as well as their level of fitness, was evident during this passage of play and they reached half time leading by 10-5.
Driffield started the second half like the first. Captain Mewburn, always on hand, carried on play and fed Lawrence who cut a sharp angle and scythed through the defence, before barging through the last tacklers and scoring under the posts. Dearing converted. Lawrence and Dinsdale on the wings have been a potent force throughout the last couple of months, a nice blend of power and pace, and it was Dinsdale who extended the lead. Mewburn worked the ball blind and off-loaded out of the tackle to Stephenson. He broke the line, before slipping the ball to Dinsdale who showed his pace again to score in the corner.
The visitors came charging back into the game. Straight back on the attack, slick handling from the forwards and a run around from the backs, outstripped the Driffield defence and resulted in a try under the posts. 22-12
The Woldsmen had a chance to add three points from a penalty, but it was pushed wide. However, the resulting drop-out gave the home side the field position to score another try. Piercy sidestepped the defence, offloaded to Furbank and his pass to Lawrence put him in the corner. Dearing hit the post with the conversion.
Undeterred,Morpeth hit back almost immediately with a try from the full-back, slipping a couple of tackles and gliding in for a score.
There were to be no more last-minute wobbles for the home side on this occasion. Despite pushing hard, Driffield’s defence remained solid, winning turnovers and allowing Furbank to gain good distance with his boot. The full-time whistle brought an end to a really entertaining game, with both sides committed to an enterprising style of rugby. A win with a bonus point was the ideal start to a tricky run of fixtures for Driffield.
Next week, they make the long journey to perennially strong Penrith, before rounding out the year with a local derby at home to Bridlington.