Saturday marked the first return fixture of the season with local rivals Pocklington making the short trip to Kelleythorpe. Torrential rain had marred the first game, with Pocklington’s forwards gaining the upper hand and setting the groundwork for a comfortable victory. Although still missing several players, the Woldsmen were able to field a strong-looking side with minimal changes from last week. Gray returned at scrum half to partner Watts with Furbank at full back. Nellen and captain Mewburn joined Cullen on a strong-looking bench giving Driffield a mobile back five of the scrum.
Playing into the wind in the first half, Driffield made a slow start conceding a penalty to go three points down, before Pocklington notched the first try of the afternoon. A clever chip over was regathered by the visiting fly-half and he offloaded to his supporting runner who touched down under the posts for a converted try. To compound matters, Driffield lost Watts to the sin bin for his part in the flare-up that followed the try. Driffield 0 – 10 Pocklington
To Driffield’s credit they managed the period down to fourteen men well, managing to reduce the deficit to three points. After controlling the ball well and finding resolute visiting defence, the home side won a penalty which they kicked deep into Pocklington territory. The lineout was lost giving Pocklington a scrum. Brumfield pinched the feed against the head giving Brankley the chance to run at an unprepared defence. He used his power to crash over near the posts allowing Furbank to add the extras. With no more points before half time, the home side would have been reasonably happy with the score knowing they had the elements in their favour in the second half. Driffield 7 – 10 Pocklington
Driffield started the second half with purpose, driving hard at the visiting defence but meeting stout resistance. Nellen proved hard to bring to ground all afternoon, getting Driffield over the advantage line and giving Mewburn and Brankley the chance to run slightly wider at a less-congested defence. The conditions weren’t ideal for flowing rugby, but at times some of the home side’s play was excellent, attacking from deep and keeping the ball alive. It felt like the pressure the home side were exerting early on needed to garner some points, but time and again Driffield runners were chopped down. It looked as if Pocklington would escape with their lead intact, but James Dinsdale touched down. In a difficult afternoon for the kickers Watts was near flawless, converting from out wide. Driffield 14 – 10 Pocklington
Stephenson made a good break from the restart to take play back into Pocklington’s half. Nellen carried the move on, bumping players off as he moved deep into the opposition territory. Stephenson nearly finished the move he started but he was tackled just short of the line and his offload found Ben Dinsdale who adds another try to his seasons tally. Watts converted to take the lead to Driffield 21 – 10 Pocklington.
Pocklington fought back, earning a penalty which they kicked to touch within striking distance of Driffield’s line. Knowing this was crucial to the outcome of the game, Driffield’s defence was excellent, harrying the visitors and getting off the line quickly to force the error, with Cooper and Brankley to the fore. Driffield went back in search of the bonus point, with James Dinsdale to the fore. Good continuity saw Driffield back in the visitors twenty-two, and the pressure told as the Pock lost a man to the bin. From the resulting scrum, Brankley again went off the back but was held up. From the scrum restart, Watts repeated the feat, before Brankley again was held up over the line.
Not to be denied, Driffield added a fourth with Brankley again going off the base of a scrum. He was brought down short of the line, but recycled ball found George Mewburn crashing onto a short pass and this time the ball found the ground and with it the bonus point. Watts again converted. Driffield 28 – 10 Pocklington
With time running out, Driffield again went on the attack, but were penalised just short of the Pock line. The clearing kick didn’t find much ground and, when the resulting throw-in went astray, Brankley pounced and broke down the touchline. He was tackled as he dived for the corner, and after some deliberation the try was awarded, this time too far out for Watts to convert leaving the final score Driffield 33 – 10 Pocklington
The win moves Driffield up to sixth but, in this congested league, only eight points separate them from the last relegation spot. Driffield will be hoping to end their year on a high next weekend with the rearranged game against Morpeth before a packed January starting with yet another local derby at Bridlington.