Driffield welcomed Percy Park to a breezy Kelleythorpe on Saturday. The Woldsmen were seeking to build on the cup victory last week, but conditions were difficult, and the subsequent quality of rugby on show was a testament to both sides. Skipper Mewburn missed out with injury, but brother George returned after missing the last few weeks. Gray started at scrum-half with Robinson on the wing and Cullen made a first appearance of the season on the bench alongside Cooper and Zavatti.
Driffield started the game playing into the wind and in the first five minutes showed good control, keeping the ball tight and testing the Park defence. The next passage of play showed how difficult conditions were. Driffield missed touch after Furbank’s kick held up in the wind only for Park to put the restart straight out and give Driffield an attacking scrum. Park had a robust forward pack and they were causing Driffield problems in the loose as well as disrupting the line-out. Gray was sniping around the ruck and finding half gaps, allowing Driffield to try and get some pace into the game.
The first try of the afternoon came with Driffield working the blindside. Robinson involved himself in the move a couple of times, before Mewburn hit the ball at pace, burst through an attempt tackle and touched down under the posts. Dinsdale converted. Driffield 7 – 0 Percy Park
A second try followed soon after. Gray broke the line and found Stephenson in support. He was dragged down short of the line, but the ball found its way to the Brankley who fought hard and took a couple of players over the line for an unconverted try. Driffield 12 – 0 Percy Park
Park hit back almost immediately. Swift breaks from an elusive centre, who caused problems all afternoon, quickly followed by the full back put Driffield on the back foot and earned Park a scrum on the home side’s twenty-two. Driffield did well to disrupt the scrum, but Park’s scrum half broke blind, drew the defence and found Park’s centre who carved through the defence to score under the posts. Driffield 12 – 7 Percy Park.
The restart looked like it would hold up in the wind, but was played at and knocked-on by Park. Brankley swooped onto the ball and burst forward from the ruck. Gray carried the ball on and swerved around the full back to score under the posts. Driffield 19 – 7 Percy Park
There was still time for more points in the first half and it was the Woldsmen who scored next to notch the bonus point. Mewburn sliced through the middle and did his best to trip himself up. Recovering his feet he rounded the full back, before being dragged down. His off-load found Robinson in support who scored too wide out to convert. Driffield 24 – 7 Percy Park
Park responded on the stroke of half time. A massive scrum shoved Driffield backwards, and the resulting penalty pinned the home side on their line. Repeat infringements saw Robinson sent to the sin bin, and Park took full advantage scoring in the corner. An excellent conversion closed the gap at half time to ten points. Driffield 24 – 14 Percy Park
Park continued their fight back straight from the kick off, and it was only a desperate last-ditch tackle from Lawrence that prevented Park from scoring again. That respite was short-lived and a good angle from the back of a scrum found a gap in the home side’s defence and the lead was cut to three points. Driffield 24 – 21 Percy Park. Park could have taken the lead when they found space out wide with Robinson still in the bin, but a knock-on allowed Driffield to escape unscathed.
Momentum had definitely swung and it took a big play from Zavatti to wrestle it back in Driffield’s favour. Park were on the attack again, but Zavatti ripped the ball in contact and galloped forwards. Mewburn carried the move on before Stephenson found Dinsdale who scored out wide for a try he converted impressively. Driffield 31 – 21 Percy Park
Park were down to fourteen men at this stage and a penalty from Dinsdale stretched the lead. Driffield 34 – 21 Percy Park
Driffield rejigged their back line with Watts moving to fly half and Brankley replacing the injured Stephenson in the centre, and it was Watts who instigated the next try. A turn-over just inside the Park half allowed Watts to break blind. He found Mewburn who fended the attempted tackle and stretched over from twenty yards. Dinsdale hit the post with the conversion. Driffield 39 – 21 Percy Park
Driffield had found their stride again, and their next try was the pick of the afternoon. Cooper counter-rucked deep in the Driffield twenty-two and turned the ball over. Gray took a quick tap penalty and weaved through the visitors’ defence. His off-load found Beachell hitting the ball at pace and he drew the last man before popping the ball to Brankley who scored in the corner. Driffield 44 – 21 Percy Park
Gray had caused problems all afternoon and he broke through the defence again before being dragged to the ground. Robinson scooted into scrum-half and darted through a gap. He pinned his ears back, but good covering defence managed to hold him up over the line. Driffield did get a final score from the resulting scrum however, when Watts spread the ball wide to Dinsdale to claim the eighth try of the afternoon. FINAL SCORE Driffield 49 – 21 Percy Park
This was a game that could have gone either way, with Park a well-balanced team capable of causing their opponents problems. Driffield showed good composure to close-out the game in the second half with a number of individuals performing well. Difficult games keep coming however, and a short trip to Malton will provide a further test next weekend.