Driffield travelled to Ilkley on Saturday for a top of the table clash with the hosts. Ilkley had lost their undefeated record the previous weekend with a defeat at Moortown, whilst the Woldsmen remained unbeaten, albeit with two draws. Both sides had a reputation for playing attractive rugby, and the conditions certainly encouraged an open game plan, with clear skies and a carpet-like playing surface.
With no sign of what was to follow, it was the visitors who made the brightest start, keeping control of the ball and probing the home side’s defence, only to give away a penalty for not rolling away, just 2 metres from the try line at a crucial moment. This allowed Ilkley to clear their lines.
Ilkley opened the scoring with a long-range penalty on 7 minutes to make it Ilkley 3 – 0 Driffield.
Just three minutes later Driffield were awarded a penalty in a similar position, but the attempted kick was missed.
A quarter of an hour into the game, Ilkley served notice of their intent with the opening try of the afternoon. Starting from the half-way line, wide passing stretched the defence and, despite a good cover tackle from Rix just 2 metres from the line, an quick offload led to the unconverted score. Ilkley 10 – 0 Driffield
Driffield hit back with what was to be their only score of the afternoon, when strong running from Brankley earned a penalty. Watts converted the attempt from distance. Ilkley 10 – 3 Driffield
Ilkley were generating quick ruck ball, which was giving their dangerous backs chance to run against a defence that was struggling to get set. A slick backs move allowed their fly half to feed the blindside wing who went under the posts for a converted try on 22 minutes, easily converted. Ilkley 17 – 3 Driffield
Rix went off injured shortly afterwards, and Ilkley repeated the same move for the outside centre to claim another try close to the posts, this time unconverted. Ilkley 22 – 3 Driffield
Ilkley had been very clinical in taking their chances, but any momentum Driffield built up seemed to be lost from inaccurate handling. Ilkley were looking dangerous every time they had possession, and they claimed the bonus point on half time. This time Driffield snuffed out the move that had already brought two tries, but quick ball was moved to the opposite side of the pitch where, once again, crisp handling and the extra man worked space to cross in the corner. Ilkley 27 – 3 Driffield
Driffield started the second half with renewed energy, but met stout resistance. Forbes showed well in the second row and Brankley injected pace whenever he had the ball. Another Ilkley try followed after seven minutes, again scored by a winger standing wide out and unmarked. Ilkley 32 – 3 Driffield
Driffield then had a sustained period of pressure in the Ilkley half. Despite repeated efforts, they could not break through and it was the home side who claimed the last score of the day, breaking out of defence and turning it into attack. Once again, the outside backs had the beating of Driffield, and showed good speed and strength to burst the last tackle. Ilkley 37 – 3 Driffield
With 15 minutes left, Driffield went on the attack showing determination to try and almost claimed a consolation score in the corner but a foot was judged in touch just 2 metres out. Despite Brigham’s best efforts, Driffield could not find a way through leaving the final score Ilkley 37 – 3 Driffield.