Driffield edged a pulsating encounter with table-topping Morley on Saturday with the result in doubt until the final play of the game. Both sides went into the game undefeated, but it was the Woldsmen who clinched the bonus point win to record a first league victory against Morley.
Driffield started brightly with a ferocious hit by Soanes forcing a penalty which Watts converted from wide out. Driffield 3 – 0 Morley.
Morley put the restart out on the full which gave Driffield a midfield scrum, and enabled them to build some pressure. Driffield were working the ball from side to side stretching the visitors’ defence, but a loose pass was intercepted in midfield and Morley went under the posts for a converted try. Driffield 3 – 7 Morley.
Stung from going behind against the run of play, Driffield attacked again and earned another penalty which Watts converted from distance. Driffield 6 – 7 Morley.
With the game evenly poised, Driffield lost captain Mewburn to a serious-looking injury with Turner joining the fray. The Woldsmen’s lineout worked well all afternoon, with Brumfield finding his man with great accuracy. It was one of his carries that set up field position for Driffield to claim their next score. Robinson broke from the base of a ruck and beat the full back to score next to the posts. Watts converted to leave the score Driffield 13 – 7 Morley.
Morley went straight back on the attack. Morley’s influential fly-half slipped a tackle and broke the Driffield defence. He drew the full back and slipped the ball to his support. A superb covering-tackle from Cullen snuffed out the move, but Morley won a penalty which they converted to narrow the gap to 3 points. Driffield 13 – 10 Morley.
Morley were looking dangerous at this time, with offloads stretching the home side. A break from the second row caused problems for Driffield, and they gave away a penalty near their line which lead to James Dinsdale being sent to the bin. Morley opted for a scrum and, after Robinson slapped the ball down, Driffield found themselves down to 13 men and under huge pressure. Morley opted for a scrum again and unsurprisingly breached Driffield’s defence with a converted try. Driffield 13 – 17 Morley.
Undeterred, Driffield tried to hit back before half time. Brankley, who ran hard all afternoon, made a break which allowed Driffield to create pressure. Repeated attacks were repelled by Morley, but eventually Dench took a quick tap and crashed through the cover to score in the corner. Watts converted from the touchline to end the half on a high. Driffield 20 – 17 Morley.
That optimism was punctured straight after the restart when Driffield bought a big dummy from Morley’s fly half and he strolled under the posts to give the visitors the lead once again. Driffield 20 – 24 Morley.
Morley found themselves down to 14 men shortly afterwards and Driffield took advantage with an excellent try. Furbank attacked the line and offloaded to Soanes who dummied the full back, before being hauled down just short of the line. He popped the ball off the ground and the ball was worked wide to Dinsdale who crossed in the corner, this time too far out for Watts to convert. Driffield 25 – 24 Morley.
Driffield went straight back on the attack and, after keeping the ball well, Brankley went in the corner. Watts converted from touch to extend the lead to Driffield 32 – 24 Morley.
The see saw nature of the afternoon continued with Morley crossing next after a sustained period of pressure. A chip-through was touched down over the line by Dinsdale, but Morley were awarded a scrum. Morley attacked ferociously, but Driffield held out earning a penalty. They cleared their lines but conceded a penalty trying to play their way out. Morley’s attempt for goal hit the post and Driffield cleared from the 22 restart. Morley continued to press and eventually the pressure told, with a miss-pass finding the Driffield defence short for an unconverted try to narrow the gap to 3 points. Driffield 32 – 29 Morley.
With the game in the balance, Driffield had a lineout on half way. Brumfield continued his fine form and found his man. A scrappy pass found its way to Furbank and he scooted back towards the touchline. He passed to James Dinsdale and he set off up the touchline. He weaved in and out, ignoring the pass to his brother, and touched down in the corner leaving Watts a difficult conversion. He capped an excellent afternoon with the boot, converting from touch to deny the visitors a losing bonus point and leave the final score Driffield 39 – 29 Morley.
This was a thoroughly entertaining game between two good sides. Driffield will be delighted to emerge as victors to cap an excellent start to the season, but they will be tested fully over the next two weekends with local derbies against Pocklington and Malton