Cleckheaton are the opposition this Saturday as they make the journey from West Yorkshire for our North One East game.
Our fixtures against Cleck are always tough encounters. Last season we did the double over Cleck. We won this fixture 38 – 26 and came away with the points from Cleck after a 11-17 win. The season before it was one apiece : Cleck winning at Driffield, with a last minute try and conversion ; we turned that result round late in the season to win at Cleck, a match that secured our 2nd place finish that season.
Cleckheaton are enjoying a strong start to their season, sitting 5th in the league with 23 points following 4 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. They have a 100% home record, with their losses and draw both coming when on their travels. They lost 27-19 at Percy Park on the 2nd weekend, drew 22-each at Moortown 2 weeks later, and lost at York 2 weeks ago 49 – 29. I would imagine all three of those just mentioned will have strong home records come the end of the season. Cleck’s wins have come against : Scarborough (week 1), YMCA (week 3), West Hartlepool (week 5) and Durham City last weekend, final score 38 – 17.
Driffield returned the top of the league last Saturday following the superb win at Bradford & Bingley. The result means Driffield are 2 points ahead of Scarborough on 29 points, with 6 wins and 1 loss. It is nice to have a good start, as we usually start slow but have a very good second half of the season. We also know there is a lot of rugby yet to play, and no-one at Driffield will be getting too excited about our current league status just yet.
Driffield make a few changes from last week’s team : Brant gets his 1st start in the 2nd row, moving Cullen back to the back row to cover Brankley’s absence. H Furbank starts as Nellen is not available, Kelly replaces Dench at centre, with Blacker coming in on the wing. Dench on the bench. Robinson is not available, replaced by T Sowersby. Jack Sowersby is skipper. Dan Maling comes straight into the squad, joining a strong bench alongside Walgate and Dench.
Our 2nd team head to Hull Ionians to face their 2nd team. Both teams are going well this season with Ionians in 2nd place on 26 points, and Driffield in 3rd on 24 in Yorkshire Merit League Premier. Ionians have played one more game than Driffield though. No doubt a tough outing for the Driff boys – hopefully they will bring back the points. They are taking a strong side with S Furbank starting at 10 and Borman, Waterhouse, and Syson all starting in the pack. Pettinger makes another return to action, this time on the bench.
The 3rd team also have tough day ahead, as they travel to local rivals Bridlington to face their 2nd team. 3rds had a good result last time out, beating Beverley 2nds 45-18.
4th team welcome Hull Uni to Kelleythorpe.
Good Luck to all.