Dismal conditions greeted Cleckheaton at Kelleythorpe on Saturday, with the Woldsmen aiming to build on last week’s win at Bradford. The home side were missing Brankley through injury and Robinson (unavailable) and lost Ben Dinsdale to injury in the warm-up meaning that veteran Sam Beachell was drafted in from the 4th team. Cleck arrived on the back of a convincing win against Durham City and looked to have a pack well-suited to the conditions.
From the start, visiting fly-half Breakwell gave notice of Cleck’s intent, kicking intelligently to turn the home side around, but soft penalties allowed the Woldsmen to escape their twenty-two before Austen saw yellow giving Driffield a man advantage for ten minutes. Brumfield pinched a scrum against the head and, after Cleck had won the ball back in deep in their half, Dinsdale charged a kick down and won the race to open the scoring, with Watts unable to add the conversion. Driffield 5 – 0 Cleckheaton
Driffield added a second shortly afterwards. After winning a turnover in their own half, they moved the ball wide to Jackson who sped down the wing. He was hauled down just inside the visitors twenty-two and the ball recycled to Dench. He cut back and found a gap before off-loading to Sowersby who scored under the posts allowing Watts to convert. Driffield 12 – 0 Cleckheaton
Cleck hit back shortly afterwards after Driffield spilled the ball in midfield. Breakwell kicked across field and found his winger who drew a penalty. A kick to touch followed before Cleck mauled over. Breakwell converted from wide out. Driffield 12 – 7 Cleckheaton
Driffield’s lineout functioned impressively all day, and this led to the next score. Dinsdale broke from a maul and found Jackson, who in turn found Longville who nearly scored in the corner. A big hit by Cleck dislodged the ball and Cleck made their way back to halfway, before conceding possession. From the ensuing scrum, Sowersby broke from the base and found Jackson again. He offloaded to Longville who went deep into Cleck territory. Cullen charged onto the ball from the resulting break down and added Driffield’s third try, again too far out for Watts to convert. Driffield 17 – 7 Cleckheaton
Driffield were looking dangerous, breaking from deep with Longville prominent. Watts was distributing well from fly-half with the home side showing good skills in the difficult conditions. However, it was Cleck who added the next score, driving the home side backwards before winning a penalty and catching the home side napping with a quick tap to score in the corner. Breakwell again added the extras to narrow the gap at half time top Driffield 17 – 14 Cleckheaton.
Driffield claimed the first points of the second half with a good penalty from 40m out from Watts, but Cleck were able to take the lead for the first time with a kick to touch giving the visitors field position where they were able to drive and then squeeze in down the blind side, again converted from touch by Breakwell. Driffield 20 – 21 Cleckheaton
Watts regained the lead with another penalty before Breakwell snatched it back with a well taken drop-goal. Driffield 23 – 24 Cleckheaton
Cleck claimed a decisive lead with the next score, but it came from a dangerous Driffield attack. Jackson broke outside his man and made yards down the touchline, but his offload was picked off by Hayward and he chipped the ball deep into Driffield territory. Watts scooped it up, but Cleck stripped it and found Breakwell who kicked across for Piper. Desperate Driffield defence hauled him down but couldn’t stop the score and another conversion took the lead out past one score. Driffield 23 – 31 Cleckheaton
Breakwell added another penalty and then a drop goal to stretch the lead to Driffield 23 – 37 Cleckheaton.
The final score happened when Kelly dummied his way over for a consolation try but with Watts unable to convert a second bonus point went begging. Driffield 28 – 37 Cleckheaton