Driffield broke new ground when they hosted Consett at Kelleythorpe on Ladies Day. Like the Woldsmen, newly-promoted Consett were seeking their first win of the new season after a tough start to the season that had seen both sides on the wrong side of close score lines.
Brankley moved into the forwards, replacing the injured George Mewburn, allowing Piercy to play at centre, with Blacker starting in the back three. Robson was at hooker making his first start, with Turner alongside Cooper in the second row.
Driffield were on the back foot straight away, with an errant kick returned by the visitors, who then produced a delicate chip over which was regathered by the winger and touched down in the corner. This was impressively converted, leaving Driffield trailing inside two minutes. Driffield 0 – 7 Consett
To compound matters, Piercy left the field with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Consett came straight back on the attack with the scrum half sniping around the fringes. Driffield did well to haul him down, but conceded a penalty which Consett kicked to touch. They continued to press, but Driffield’s defence held firm, before losing Stephenson to the sin bin. Consett took the scrum option and pushed Driffield over, again converted, to extend the lead. Driffield 0 – 14 Consett.
Ten minutes in and Driffield had barely touched the ball. Gray, on at scrum half, made a break through the middle and found Jackson in support but he was hauled down and the chance was lost. Undeterred, Consett went straight back on the attack, showing good offloading skills to stretch the Driffield defence. Good defence from captain Mewburn thwarted that attack and forced the Consett attacker into touch. Driffield were struggling in the line-out, and Consett pinched this against the throw. Two phases later and a simple switch to the blindside found a gaping hole and a third try to the visitors, this time unconverted. Driffield 0 – 19 Consett
Driffield needed a register some points before half time, and did so with a well-worked try. After a deliberate knock-on in midfield, Driffield kicked through and the ball found touch. This time it was Driffield’s turn to pinch the line-out and Cooper charged into the visitor’s defence. Driffield worked the ball one way and then the other and good hands from Beachell found Dinsdale who touched down in the corner. Driffield 5 – 19 Consett
Driffield kept pushing, and a high tackle gave them the chance to find touch close to the visitor’s line. Unfortunately, the ball was turned over and Consett cleared their lines. They pinched the line-out again and drove hard in to the middle of the Driffield defence, before moving the ball wide and strolling in unopposed for the bonus point try, leaving the half time score Driffield 5 – 24 Consett.
After such a disappointing first half, it was difficult to envisage what was to follow. A long kick from Furbank was allowed to bounce before being returned by Consett. An offload from the tackle was picked off by Blacker and he celebrated his return to the team with a run in from 40 yards. Watts converted to narrow the gap to 12 points. Driffield 12 – 24 Consett
Driffield scored again soon after. A backs move brought Jackson in from the blindside and he found Watts who moved it to Blacker. He was dragged down and Mewburn carried the move on before Brankley burrowed over for Watts to convert. Driffield 19 – 24 Consett
Driffield were finding some fluency and took the lead for the first time from a midfield scrum. Furbank found Dinsdale and he stepped off his left foot and accelerated through a gap. He passed back to Furbank who found Watts for a try which he then converted. Driffield 26 – 24 Consett
Consett lost a man to the sin bin for a high tackle and Driffield opted to take a tap penalty. Brankley was the ever-willing runner, and he ploughed into the visitors. The ball came back to Furbank, who spied a gap and surged through it. His offload was batted up by a Consett hand and fell into James Dinsdale’s hands who scored under the posts. Watts converted to extend the lead Driffield 33 – 24 Consett.
A big hit from Beachell in midfield won Driffield a scrum. Brankley burst off the back, getting outside the visiting back row. His pass through opposition bodies found Stephenson who scored under the posts. Again, Watts converted. Driffield 40 – 24 Consett
Driffield weren’t finished yet. Straight from the kick-off, Zavatti caught the ball and barged his way forward. Furbank spread the ball wide to Blacker, who looked to spill the ball. Allowed to play on, Furbank worked the ball to Jackson and he burst through a tackle before rounding the full back. Watts added the conversion to extend the lead. Driffield 47 – 24 Consett
The last try deservedly went to Brankley. A quick tap from Gray found Brankley steaming onto the ball and he charged through the defence from the twenty two to take Driffield over the 50 point mark. Watts converted to cap a fine afternoon with the boot. Driffield 54 – 24 Consett
Consett had the final say when they broke down the Driffield blindside. Watts looked to have pulled off a fine try-saving tackle, but the referee awarded a penalty try for a high tackle to leave the final score Driffield 54 – 31 Consett.
As the cliche goes this was a real game of two halves, with the first as disappointing a half of rugby as Driffield have produced for several seasons. The contrast with the second couldn’t be starker, with Driffield winning the collisions and generating quick ball for their back line to ruthlessly exploit. A difficult trip to Morley next week will give further indication of how this Driffield side is developing.